Downtown Mesa is improving the area to attract new development
May 3, 2018
Downtown Mesa is looking to attract new development to bring more people into the area and shine a light on their grassroots community.
Mesa leaders say the downtown area is already great, but it’s a matter of attracting more people to visit and live there. Its creative atmosphere welcomes people, but leaders are hoping more people will cause more development to come.
“We believe very deeply that the arts are an amazing connector,” says Cindy Ornstein, executive director of Mesa Arts Center. “They’re an amazing opportunity for people to see their environment differently and feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. When you do that, you create a dynamic environment or a vibrant environment.”
Ornstein says once people are engaged and connected, everything else follows. It will attract new restaurants, local businesses and housing. She says they are interesting in sustaining the downtown’s “authentic grassroots creative environment.”
“When you go down there you can really feel it. What needs to be transformed is we need more of it,” says Jeff McVay, Downtown Mesa’s transformation manager. “We need more people. We need more activity. We need more opportunity for places to live, places to recreate, place to engage with the arts. The transformation is to bring the bodies to the place we already know is great.”
That creative environment is driven by variety of different art installations that go up around the city. The latest one is Fantastic Planet which kicks off Friday night and will be on display for 10 days. From the mind of Australian artist Amanda Parker, Fantastic Planet features six large illuminated sculptures. The kick off event will include music, dance and food.
If you wander around the area you may bump into a random piano on the sidewalk. It’s part of Street Pianos, an international series that randomly places pianos around the city. Twenty-four donated pianos were given to 24 community groups with an artists assigned to each group. They transformed the piano into art, and they were placed around the city for eight weeks.
Those are just two of the many art installation projects Downtown Mesa hosts. For more information on events and what the city has to offer, visit downtownmesa.com.