Public art is an integral part of the culture in Arizona, and Mesa is one city that offers a proud collection for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s a sculpture or a mural, you and the kids can check out the neighborhood art scene with our guide. Here’s where you can find some of the best art installations in Mesa.
Mesa Arts Center
You can find works of art anywhere in Mesa, including at the bus stop. “Memento” by local artist Rebecca Ross adorns the transit passenger shelter near the Mesa Arts Center. It features several historical photographs of the city’s original square mile. Now transformed onto porcelain enameled steel tiles for permanent display, they bear witness to the past while welcoming guests to this remarkable facility.
Mesa Arts Center is a unique, architecturally stunning building right downtown. This award-winning international facility features four awesome theaters, five art galleries, and 14 high-tech studios. So whether you’re looking for one of the city’s finest live performances or outstanding arts education classes for adults and kids, you’ll find it here. Discounted tickets are also available to residents who meet income requirements, and free public campus tours are held on Wednesdays at noon, except during the summer.
- Location: 1 E. Main St., Mesa.
- Box Office Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
Head to the Arizona Museum of Natural History and get a look at the dinosaur sculpture that’s been on display here since 2002. This life-size bronze statue by Sedona artist Michael Trcic depicts a Dilophosaurus perched on a rocky ledge. At 20 feet long, it’s quite a sight to behold. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology awarded the piece with the Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize for its exceptional naturalistic style. This dinosaur species lived in Arizona during the Early Jurassic era, about 193 million years ago.
Also on the museum grounds are the Autosaurs. Ivan Hoffman, the Museum’s former curator, constructed these whimsical prehistoric creatures out of old auto parts and other metals. Make your way inside the galleries and learn more. Its research staff filled the Dinosaur Hall exhibit with numerous examples of these magnificent, now-extinct creatures. You’ll also get the chance to discover more works of art, including the Apache Gaan dancer by Michigan artist Robert Peyser.
- Location: 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa.
- Museum Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Red Mountain Branch Library
“Suspended Gallery” is a six-piece installation by Erik Gonzales on display at the Red Mountain Branch Library. This talented artist drew inspiration for the artwork from Arizona’s plant and animal life, as well as the majestic Red Mountain nearby. The double-sided pieces are made out of Lexan, and staff suspended them from the ceiling with aircraft cable. Some of the works incorporate book quotes, while others feature components of the Dewey Decimal System and other library connections.
This popular Mesa branch offers so much more than books to borrow. There are numerous ways for the whole family to take advantage of your local library, including art classes like adult coloring groups and Craft-ish for Kids programs. Storytime is another terrific activity. Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or preschooler in tow, this wonderful time together will help your child develop a love of reading. In addition, members can check out items like cake pans for a special birthday or a hiking kit with goodies that help you enjoy Arizona’s trails from the Stuffbrary.
- Location: 635 N. Power Road, Mesa.
- Branch Hours: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Sturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mesa Fire Station 201
Judy Stewart created several pieces of art for installation in the grass courtyard north of Mesa’s Fire Station 201. A panel of fire personnel and community members selected this Arizona native to design a series of bas relief plaques. Photographs from the station’s archives inspired the creative’s work. You’ll also discover several small sculptures onsite that Stewart created to engage visiting school children. This extraordinary artist lives in Oracle, near Tucson, in the historic Rancho Linda Vista artist community, where the surrounding landscapes and abundant wildlife kindle her creative endeavors.
Mesa established its Fire and Medical Department in 1898, and today it has 21 stations across 133 square miles. The city’s fire chief, Mary Cameli, has been with the department for more than 37 years. She leads a team of dedicated firefighters that serve a population of more than a half-million residents. Contact the station online and schedule a group tour or simply drive by the station to see this captivating art installation.
- Location: 360 E. First St., Mesa.
101 W. Main St.
Mesa’s Main Street is lined with stunning landscape murals. There are five paintings along the 101 W. Main St. corridor created by various painters. Artist Chuck Wan created the first colorful piece. It features a pair of cactus wrens overlooking blooming saguaro cactuses near the Paige Artists Studio and OneOhOne Gallery. The second mural by Kerry Niemann depicts a group enjoying a horseback ride through our state’s rugged high country.
The next piece is one of our favorites. It features a glorious Arizona sunset behind a group of prickly pear cacti. Painter Steve Caballero is responsible for this scenic piece. You’ll find it near The Nile Coffee Shop, while the fourth installation is near the first mural. It features artist FIN’s lovely rendition of a Native American girl. The final piece, “Desert Landscape #5” by Mark Matlock, can also be found near the OneOhOne Gallery. It’s a stunning close-up drawing of a saguaro flower.
- Location: 101 W. Main St., Mesa.
There you go. The staff at Crème de la Crème of Mesa put together this list of the city’s best art installations and where you can find them. How does your family like to celebrate the arts? Let us know so we can share your ideas with other Arizona parents. Drop us a line today and tell us which destinations we missed so we can add them next time around.