The Basha family is donating The Eddie Basha Collection of American Indian and Western American fine art to both the Heard Museum in Phoenix and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
The gift comprises more than 1,000 works of art that span three centuries including rare and important examples of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, katsina and basketry from the Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, Yavapai, Apache, Hopi, Navajo tribes, members of the Cowboy Artists of America and many other artists. The two Valley institutions will each receive a portion of the extensive collection, one of the largest, privately-owned art collections of its kind, and will continue to work with the Basha family to preserve and honor Eddie’s legacy.
“My family and I are delighted to make this gift to the Heard Museum and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. We are confident that these two world-class institutions will be excellent partners in fulfilling Eddie’s wish to continue to share the collection and have it remain in Arizona,” Nadine Basha shared in a press release. “The collection reflects Eddie’s deep, lifelong passion for the American West, its vast lands, storied history, many cultures, and rich traditions. Eddie often said, ‘I am of the American West,’ and that sentiment is richly embedded in this collection.”
Edward “Eddie” Najeeb Basha, Jr. was chairman and CEO of Bashas’ Inc., Arizona’s only family-owned grocery store company. After taking over Bashas’ when his father died, he and his fellow Bashas’ members expanded the small company to a chain of 160 stores.
Additionally, Basha served on numerous boards, including the State Board of Education and the Board of Regents. His commitment to philanthropy was widely known.
In 1971, under the encouragement and guidance of his aunt Zelma Basha, Eddie began collecting art. And since he grew up captivated by the American West, it was only natural that he gravitated toward the art genres of that which he knew. As his appreciation accelerated, he vigorously pursued fostering the art that represented the geography and culture of Arizona and the West.
"The Heard Museum is deeply grateful to the Basha family for their extraordinary gift, which enhances our collection and allows us to tell the story of a towering Arizona figure, Eddie Basha," David M. Roche, Dickey Family director and Heard Museum CEO, stated. "Eddie forged special relationships with Indigenous artists and communities and collected works of art created by them. Every work in the collection tells a story of its source community and illuminates the important contributions that American Indian artists have played, and continue to play, in the arts and culture of Arizona.”
The donated portions of the Eddie Basha Collection to Western Spirit will be exhibited in a new addition funded by the largest single donation to a museum in Arizona by Louis Sands IV and in partnership with the city of Scottsdale.
Thursday, Nov. 30, will be the final day the gallery is open to the public at the Chandler location. Collection relocation efforts begin Friday, Dec. 1.