There’s something for everyone at this award-winning theatre complex.
Mesa Arts Center was completed in 2005 with the aim of inspiring audiences with engaging cultural experiences that are diverse, relevant and accessible. The Center provides a space for performing arts, with four theatres and 14 studios spread across three buildings. But there is also a focus on visual art, and the five galleries here are just the beginning – the buildings are works of art in their own right.
The purpose-built facility inspires visitors, exhibitors and performers alike, doing so much more than just providing a space in which arts can be appreciated and created. The architects designed the complex to reflect the surrounding Sonoran Desert, using jagged angles, canopies and walls in a range of materials and colours, but especially using glass to draw light in. The desert may have inspired the design, but the Center is filled with lush trees, greenery and water features – an oasis.
This is the largest visual arts complex in Arizona, and it attracts a range of quality artists from all backgrounds. The flexibility of the space and range of venues available means that intimate jazz performances can be held in a theatre seating less than a hundred people, while large-scale operatic extravaganzas take place in the neighbouring concert hall, which holds 1,600. There is something for everyone here, and the Center runs classes if you want to learn more about making or appreciating art, having explored the galleries housing the collections of new and established artists in painting, sculpture and ceramics. Visit the website for information about what’s on.
The gardens in and around the Center are as much a part of the design as the buildings, so make sure you spend some time exploring this marvellous outdoor space. Sometimes, you will hear afternoon concerts performed in the inner courtyard, under the protection of the “Shadow Walk” – designed to mimic the shade patterns cast by foliage under the intense desert sun.
Located in downtown Mesa, the arts centre is 32 kilometres east of Phoenix, south of the Salt River, which is a 40-minute drive. The Center is open daily.