Mesa Arts Center
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The Mesa Arts Center is a performing and visual arts complex in downtown Mesa, Arizona. At more than 210,000 square feet (20,000 m2) square feet, the $95 million facility, completed in 2005, is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the state.
The Mesa Arts Center encompasses four performance venues, from the intimate 99-seat Farnsworth Studio Theater to the 1,600-seat Ikeda Theater. The center is also home to the Mesa Contemporary Arts, which houses five art galleries with 5,500 sq ft (510 m2) of exhibition space. The facility also features 14 unique visual and performing art classroom studios. Multi-use areas throughout the campus provide both indoor and outdoor gathering and presentation spaces.
The architecture of the entire complex is primarily post-modern, with sharp, jagged angles, canted walls, sloping roofs, glass walls, and a reflection of the local vernacular in both colors and materials. The introverted campus is inspired by a geode, and guides pedestrians from the outer concrete walls to a central space of glass, water, and color. The complex was designed by Boora Architects of Portland, Oregon in associations with DWL Architects + Planners, Inc., of Phoenix, Arizona. Martha Schwartz Inc. served as landscape architect for the project.
The movement to construct the Mesa Arts Center was championed by Wayne Brown, who served as the Mayor of Mesa from 1996 to 2000. Under Brown, the city passed a quality-of-life bond issue in 1998 to help pay for the center. Though he left office in 2000, Brown and his wife, Kathye, continued a private fundraising campaign for the arts center. The couple ultimately raised more than $4.5 million from the private sector beginning in 2000. The Mesa Arts Center's sculpture courtyard is named for Wayne Brown.
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