|Ascending Storm, by Arizona Artist Ed Mell.|
Size: 295,234 km2 (6th)
2015 Population: 6,828,065 (14th)
Statehood: 1912 (48th).
American Human Development Index: 4.89 (26th)
Art Mecca: Since everything in Arizona looks like it was either slapped down in the last quarter century or slapped down in 1935 and entrusted to the mercies of the dry climate, I wouldn't predict the sixth largest city in the United States to have the sixth greatest arts collection. And I'd be right. The Phoenix Art Museum shows all the signs of being a perfectly respectable regional show, but without the institutional longevity or, let us be frank, the "old money" that elevates an art museum to the national stage.
Represented artists, says the museum's website, include: Marco Palmezzano, Astorga Master, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Il Guercino), Abraham Janssens, François Boucher, George Romney, Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Jean-Antoine Houdon, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Auguste Rodin, Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Ferdinand-Victor-Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, and Claude Monet. Excellent! But, if you are trying to pack 'em into your core collection with Palmezzano, Janssens, and Romney, you are clearly at a disadvantage relative to, say, the Hermitage. As a very crude measure, the Phoenix Art Museum's collection is about a third the size of my personal yardstick for regional art museums, the Portland Art Museum.
There's also a University of Arizona Museum of Art, which I probably ran past a couple of times a few weeks ago without stopping. Well, it was a short trip, and you can't establish a running record and ogle art simultaneously. Not without a very understanding Museum staff, anyway.
Michael 5000's Arizona
First Visited: July 2, 1997 (34th)
Most Recently Visited: February 21, 2016 (2nd)
First Run In: February 19, 2016
Best Run: 4.06 miles, Tucson, February 20, 216
Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Geohashed In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: Yes.
Counties Visited: 12/15 (33rd)
% Complete: 80% (13th)
Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 15/15 (1st)
% Complete: 100% (Completed February 21, 2016)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: c.1990
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: February 21, 2016
Atlas of All Roads Travelled
The southern loop -- for it is a loop, extending about ten miles into New Mexico -- is what Mrs.5000 and I drove in February to get from the Phoenix airport to Tucson and back.
Arizona is a classic "big county" state. For the gatherer of counties, it has advantages and disadvantages compared to a "small county" state like, say, Kentucky or Georgia. On the downside, you can drive a hell of a long way without getting any new counties. On the plus side, once you cross a county line you get to fill in a very satisfying swath of map. The seven counties I nabbed on this trip cover more area than say, West Virginia. Whereas West Virginia has 55 counties.
Plans and Aspirations
How am I going to get those three final counties? Mrs.5000 has no incentive to ever visit Arizona again!