New Vision Proposal Would Benefit A Tulsa Asset

Saturday, March 12th 2016, 11:31 am
By: News On 6

Next month, voters will decide whether to extend the Vision 2025 tax.  

The new Vision Tulsa includes a proposal to develop the city's most valuable asset, the Gilcrease Museum.  

"We've got an incredible view of downtown Tulsa from here," said Gilcrease Executive Director James Pepper Henry.  

When James Pepper Henry looks at the Gilcrease Museum, he sees both a crown jewel and a potential moneymaker.

3/10/2016 Related Story: Tulsa Could See Added Rewards With Improved Gilcrease Museum

"The Gilcrease has a great opportunity to be an anchor for tourism here in our region," said James Pepper Henry.

But first, James Pepper Henry says the Gilcrease needs to dramatically improve its facility. And $65-million in the Vision plan is earmarked for just that.

"This gray area in this rendering.  This is the existing museum and this is what we're planning on adding on to," said James Pepper Henry. 

The Gilcrease's holdings are so extensive, 97-percent of them are held in storage, and sometimes overlooked.   Including pieces like this John LaFarge painting that the artist considered his finest.

But James Pepper Henry wants more than just more wall space.  He wants an iconic design that will showcase the Gilcrease and the city.

"We don't want to just build a bigger box to show artwork.  We want this to be an experience.  We want this to be a destination," said James Pepper Henry.

Which is why the plans include a glass front restaurant overlooking downtown. And 12,000-square-feet for visiting exhibits.  Something no other museum in the region can offer.  

"We can bring the best exhibitions, not just from our region, but from around the world right here to Tulsa, Oklahoma," said James Pepper Henry.  

He's talking about exhibitions such as King Tut, which could draw tens of thousands of visitors.