The largest arts center in Arizona, Mesa Arts Center, is owned and operated by the City of Mesa, AZ, in conjunction with the non-profit organization Mesa Arts Center Foundation. The architecturally remarkable Mesa Arts Center proudly serves as a community hub for everything visual and performing art. Situated in the heart of Downtown Mesa and the literal center of Mesa, Arizona, it is at One East Main Street.
MAC’s impressive facility, containing fourteen art studios, five art galleries, and four theaters, attracts people from around the planet. The Mesa Art Center’s attendance by so many is accomplished through world-renowned visual art exhibits, stimulating art classes, assorted performing art entertainment, and many cultural events and community programs. Inspiration through offering engaging, relevant, diverse, and accessible arts experiences is the Mesa Arts Center’s mission.
Mesa Arts Center Performing Arts Theaters
There are four distinct performing arts theaters located at Mesa Arts Center, with seating capacities ranging from ninety-nine to almost sixteen hundred.
- Tom and Janet Ikeda Theater – The largest theater at Mesa Arts Center, with three levels and seating 1588 patrons, designed with a canyon-look interior and acoustically accommodating a myriad of musical styling performances.
- Virginia G Piper Repertory Theater – Seats 550 guests, has two levels, and is referred to as “The Garden Theater” due to its shades of green incorporated in the auditorium’s design.
- Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse – A Raked stadium-style seating for 200, this colorfully designed theater allows show attendees clear sightlines to the performance stage.
- Anita Cox Farnsworth Studio Theater – Unlike the other three Proscenium theaters, this Black box theater allows interchangeable chair configurations and seats 99. It is ideal for more miniature theater creations as well as exhibitions, meetings, receptions, and cabaret performances.
Shows & Events at Mesa Arts Center
The shows and events at Mesa Arts Center are entertaining, diverse, and extensive. Various productions performed by multiple local, national, and globally known acts dazzle Mesa Arts Center show audiences covering Theater, Comedy, Classical, Broadway, Dance, Jazz, Speakers, and National Geographic.
Throughout the year, an array of artistic and cultural events are held at and hosted by the Mesa Arts Center to celebrate Mesa, Arizona’s community with music, art, and entertainment, including the Season Kickoff Festival, Out to Lunch Concerts, Mesa Arts Festival, spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity and Dia De Los Muertos.
Resident Companies at Mesa Arts Center
The inception, mission, and vision of the Mesa Arts Center realize ongoing success through the partnerships and support of multiple local Mesa arts organizations. MAC’s relationship with resident companies continues to strengthen since they are relentless about helping their partners and their partner’s performances succeed by contributing box office, marketing, and technical assistance.
Ballet Etudes | East Valley Children’s Theatre | Mesa Encore Theatre | Metropolitan Youth Symphony | Sonoran Desert Chorale | Southwest Shakespeare Company | Symphony of the Southwest
Mesa Arts Center Classes
State-of-the-art equipment and supportive, experienced, and professional instructors who embrace an artist’s creativity define the classes taught at Mesa Arts Center. The art classes and education programs developed by MAC offer opportunities to build skills, increase knowledge, and hone in on specific art mediums through youth, adult, intergenerational, private lessons, camp, and workshop learning platforms.
Ceramic | Drawing | Painting | Printmaking | Glass | Graphic Arts | Jewelry | Metalwork | Literary Arts | Movement and Dance | Music | Photography | Sculpture | Theatre | Workshops | Youth Art Camps | Private Lessons
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
Mesa Arts Center, the epicenter of Downtown Mesa, Arizona, houses the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. It contains five galleries where thousands of international, national, and regional artists have passionately expressed their interpretations of visual art through exhibitions of contemporary art of various media.
“Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is a visual arts exhibition space committed to the presentation, interpretation, collection, documentation, and preservation of contemporary visual arts with a special focus on traditional media.” – Excerpt from Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum Mission Statement.
Galleries at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum | Mesa Arts Center
- Wilson and Ruby Dobson Main Gallery – At 2400 square feet, this space is the most extensive gallery for exhibitions at the Mesa Arts Center’s Museum.
- South Gallery – Used for group, juried group, and curated solo exhibitions at 1400 square feet.
- Dr. Ruth Tan Lim Project Room – A site-specific, multimedia, 500-square-foot experimental space where artists can propose their exhibitions.
- SRP Permanent Collection Gallery – A gallery dedicated to permanent works of Mesa Arts Center holding nearly 300 pieces of art for the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s Permanent Collection.
- North Gallery – An exclusive 700-square-foot space used particularly for local Arizona and Greater Phoenix Artists.
The Store | Artists Cooperative Gallery at Mesa Arts Center
Mesa Art Center also has a gallery where artists can sell their art, and patrons can shop for unique, locally crafted gifts and exquisite treasures. The Store at Mesa Arts Center, located across from the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, comprises mixed media items from about 50 cooperative Arizona artists.
Community Engagement at Mesa Arts Center
The Mesa Arts Center strives to connect and engage with the community by implementing extraordinary arts activities for individuals of all generations and backgrounds through its Community Engagement Programs.
Arts in Service – Providing service members and veterans access to studio art experiences to help them achieve personal goals, relieve stress, and connect with the community.
Project Lit – “Igniting Literacy Through the Arts” A program helping young adults by promoting literacy and activating learning via hip-hop, poetry, and spoken words.
Student Shows – Mesa Arts Center is adamant about making the performing arts available to students by presenting their unique programs, Performing Live for Students and National Geographic Live for Students.
Creative Aging – Programs tailored explicitly for older adults to encourage artistic expression and creativity, both mentally and physically, through art-making, dance, story, and movement to enhance their overall health and well-being.
Classical Music Inside Out – Distinguished cellist Zuill Bailey turns classical music “inside out” with his Concert 101 presentation, guiding the student audience through concert-going etiquette and the elegance of classical music.
Jazz from A-Z – Partnering with Jazz at Lincoln Center, this Mesa Arts Center program “creates a meaningful connection to one of America’s greatest cultural resources- jazz.”
Creative Catalysts – “A movement by and for the community offering opportunities through the arts to get social and be involved. Creating connections, catalyzing change, and sparking creativity in everyone — it’s what we’re all about.”
MABEL – Mobile Art-Based Engagement Lab takes Mesa Arts Center’s Creative Catalysts initiative on the road to engage the arts with a mobile gallery and pop-up community center.
Get Involved & Support Mesa Arts Center
As with most art institutions and community support-orientated facilities, the Mesa Arts Center is no different by relying on local citizens, businesses, groups, and organizations to get involved and provide financial and service assistance. The Mesa Arts Center Foundation is a non-profit organization that relies on numerous sources to operate and extend its community service programs. Support is achieved through several ways, such as donations, memberships, business sponsorships, legacy giving, partnerships, volunteering, museum & cultural advisory board, and fundraising.
Donate – Money, Money, Money! Mesa Arts Center very much appreciates donations of any amount.
Membership – There are many different types of memberships available at Mesa Arts Center. Memberships deliver vital support to MAC and provide Members with excellent benefits and exclusive access to the Center.
Sponsorships & Business Engagement – Connecting with local businesses through community events and other sponsorship programs is an essential way for the Mesa Arts Center to promote local commerce, which also helps them better serve the hundreds of thousands of Center visitors each year.
Legacy Giving Circle – This is an opportunity to give to charity and leave a legacy supporting the Mesa Arts Center Foundation. The Foundation’s dedication to developing the arts community takes shape with final financial legacy-giving arrangements, estate plans, trusts, and wills.
Other Ways to Give – Naming Opportunities, IRA Rollover, Stock Donations, Donor-Advised Fund, Workplace Giving, Volunteering Grants, AmazonSmile, and Online Fundraisers.
Careers, Volunteers & Involvement Opportunities – The Mesa Arts Center offers many volunteer, career, and involvement opportunities.
Mesa Arts Center Foundation – The MAC Foundation is a volunteer-run, community-driven fundraising non-profit organization for Mesa Arts Center.
Museum & Cultural Advisory Board – This distinguished advisory board is a group of Mesa citizens who support the City of Mesa Arts and Culture Department, appointed by the Mayor.
Connect With MAC | Mesa Arts Center
During the global pandemic COVID-19 in 2020, considering the health and safety of its patrons, the Mesa Arts Center closed its facility to the public. They got inventive and developed an online program called Connect With MAC to promote their virtual presence and continue with the Center’s mission of inspiring creativity through the arts.
Watch – View Mesa Arts Center’s museum exhibition tours, art demonstrations, and more.
- Art Studio Demos
- Exhibition Tours
- MABEL Teasers
- YouTube Channel
Try – No experience is required to participate in various arts activities virtually from the comfort of your home via Connect With MAC.
- Mesa Family Take Out
- Night + Together in the Desert
- Creative Aging Videos
- Writing Prompts
- Flowers and their
- Pollinator Friends Art Activity
- Printmaking Activity: Relief Prints
- Snail Mail Project
Resources – The Mesa Arts Center Connect With MAC initiative compiled a list of online links for national, state, and local resources to help people navigate the challenges of COVID-19.
- Grant Opportunities
- i.d.e.a. Museum
- Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Other Arts and Cultural Resources
Visit Mesa Arts Center
Mesa Arts Center’s stunning exterior structure, located in downtown Mesa, is something to marvel at, not to mention MAC’s treasure trove interior of theaters, museums, and galleries, as well as dynamic happenings of shows, events, exhibits, and classes. A visit to the Mesa Arts Center is worth the time. Whether checking out the website to view many images, watching online videos, taking a safe stroll around the facility grounds, or booking a future show in advance, Mesa Arts Center fulfills possibilities to expand your art knowledge, spark creativity, and inspire imagination.