Surround yourself in Southwestern history through art
Chandler’s rich history is steeped in Native American culture, the city built on the backs of ranchers and the sky painted with colors of the Southwest. Our past is personified through The Eddie Basha Collection, housed in the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and American Indian Art, located in the Bashas’ Chandler corporate offices.
Eddie Basha was well-known as the chairman and CEO of Bashas’ grocery store, but his passion for the Southwest ran deep. His interest in art was nurtured as a youngster.
“He sang and danced with the Pima families that were Bashas’ first customers. And oftentimes his Aunt Zelma, an amateur artist herself, drew pictures to not only entertain Eddie but to instill an early appreciation for and understanding of art,” says Tammy Fontaine, director of The Eddie Basha Collection.
Many years later, Basha strolled the Laguna Beach Art Show with his aunt.
“Her sage advice was to collect what he loved. It was in that moment when it all came together. Aunt Zelma’s early artful influence, his love of the West, its land and its people, and his studies of American history. There and then he made his first purchase—a miniature Don Polland bronze that depicted a cowboy roping a steer, which remains in the collection today,” explains Fontaine.
It’s now one of the world’s largest privately-owned collections of its kind.
“When Eddie opened the gallery, his intent was solely to share and celebrate art with others,” says Fontaine.
Next in store is a book, expected to be released in fall of 2019 or early spring 2020. Anyone can tour the gallery free of charge. It’s typically open Monday through Friday, but it’s best to confirm by calling 480.895.5230. Follow them on social media or at EddieBashaCollection.com.