Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 24, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: Mesa Arts Center’s Festival of Creativity


  • A look at the Mesa Arts Center’s recent Festival of Creativity and its mission of community outreach. The event offered festival goers the opportunity to enjoy as well as participate in a variety of arts and performance activities, while also providing artists and performers with a unique opportunity for collaboration.
Guests:
  • Cindy Ornstein - City of Mesa Arts and Culture Director
  • Mandy Buscas - Arts Education Outreach Coordinator Mesa Arts Center
  • Brian Scott - Building Bonanza Managing Partner
  • Katherine George - Southwest Scrap Exchange Executive Director
  • Rachel Bowditch - Vessel Artistic Director
Keywords: artbeat, art, mesa, arts, center, festival, creativity, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: TONIGHT'S "ARIZONA ARTBEAT" TAKES US TO THE MESA ARTS CENTER'S RECENT FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THE FESTIVAL OFFERS TO VISITORS AND PERFORMERS.

>>>>> THE MISSION OF THE CENTER IS TO INSPIRE PEOPLE THROUGH ENGAGING EXPERIENCES THAT ARE DIVERSE, RELEVANT AND ACCESSIBLE. THAT MISSION, I THINK, IS A REALLY IMPORTANT IN THINKING ABOUT THE ROLE OF ARTS IN THE COMMUNITY.

>>>> THE MESA ARTS CENTER HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CITY'S CULTURAL LIFE FOR THREE DECADES. IT WAS ORIGINALLY HOUSE THE IN A FORMER SCHOOL BUILDING. THE CURRENT COMPLEX WAS BUILT IN 2005, CREATING THE LARGEST MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER IN THE SOUTHWEST.

>>>> IT WAS A COMMUNITY ASSET THAT PEOPLE WERE QUITE PASSIONATE ABOUT AND THE COMMUNITY RALLIED AROUND AND SUPPORTED IT BEING BUILT. IT'S QUITE AN EXTRAORDINARY ASSET FOR THE REGION. WE HAVE EVERYTHING FROM PERFORMING ARTS TO VISUAL RIGHTS -- ARTS, BOTH IN A MUSEUM AND VERY, VERY LARGE STUDIO PROGRAM WITH CLASSES. SO IT REALLY BELONGS TO THE COMMUNITY AS WE THINK THAT SHOULD BE REFLECTED IN WHAT WE DO HERE.

>>>> ONE OF THE CENTER'S MOST AMBITIOUS UNDERTAKING IS THE FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY. THE INAUGURAL EVENTS TOOK PLACE IN MARCH 2012 AND WAS MET WITH ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE FROM THOSE IN ATTENDANCE.

>>>> IT'S AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE ENTRY POINTS FOR THE COMMUNITY WHERE THEY COULD COME AND IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN CREATIVE EXPERIENCES, WHETHER CELEBRATING THE CREATIVITY OF ANOTHER, OF AN ARTIST OR ANOTHER COMMUNITY MEMBER, OR BEING PART OF SOMETHING THEMSELVES, WHERE THEY MAKE ART OR PARTICIPATE IN IT. AND, OF COURSE, IT'S ON THE FIRST YEAR OF THE FESTIVAL. SO IT'S LIKE A LABORATORY AND WILL CHANGE AND GROW OVER TIME.

>>>> WE WANT THERE HAD TO BE AROUND EVERY CORNER AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ENGAGEMENT. ONE OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT WE PROVIDED WAS SOUND AND COLOR, WHICH HAD ARTISTS BREAK DANCING WITH PAINT ON THEIR HANDS TO DIFFERENT BEATS AND SOUNDS THE DJ WAS PROVIDING. THE BEST PART ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE WAS THAT THEY ENGAGED THE AUDIENCE AS WELL. SO CHILDREN, EVEN ADULTS, WERE INVITED TO COME UP AND DISPLAY THEIR DANCE MOVES AND DANCE ON A LARGE CANVAS THAT WAS THEN CREATED AT END OF EACH THESE SESSIONS. SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR US TO PROVIDE THE SAFE PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGE IN THE ARTS. ¶¶

>>>> ANOTHER OF THE FESTIVAL'S ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES WAS PROVIDED BY BUILDING BONANZA, A COMPANY THAT CREATES EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PROGRAMS BASED ON LEGOS. FESTIVAL GOERS OF ALL AGES WERE ABLE TO HELP IN THE CREATION OF A 10-FOOT-HIGH CACTUS MADE ENTIRELY OF LEGO BREAKS.

>>>> THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE FESTIVAL WAS THAT THE ENTIRE CACTUS WAS BUILT BY THE INDIVIDUALS WHO PARTICIPATED. SO THEY CAME IN AND WITH SOME OF OUR INSTRUCTIONS FROM OUR TEACHERS AS WELL AS VOLUNTEERS, PUT TOGETHER WHAT WE CALL THE SUPER BRICK. AND THEN EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON, YOU CAN SEE IN THE CACTUS, PUT THEIR OWN CREATIVE ELEMENTS AND INDIVIDUALITY INTO THAT BRICK. WE ALSO HAVE SOME FAMILY PROJECT WHERE'S THEY PUT SEVERAL BRICKS TOGETHER TO CREATE IMAGES AND CREATE THAT PATTERN WITH THEIR FAMILY SO THE WHOLE PROJECT IS COMPLETED THAT THEY CAN FIND A SPECIFIC AREA IN THE CACTUS THAT SHOWS THAT THEIR FAMILY HAD JOINED US.

>>>> AS PART OF THE EFFORT TO OFFER NOVEL, INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES AT THE FESTIVAL, THE MESA ARTS CENTER BROUGHT TOGETHER A GROUP OF LOCAL ARTISTS AND TECHNICIANS WEEKS BEFORE THE EVENT TO CREATE A SERIES OF WHIMSICAL EVENTS FROM FOUND OBJECTS.

>>>> BEHIND ME HERE IS ONE OF SIX DIFFERENT INTERACTIVE CACTUSES WE ARE BUILDING. THIS IS ON A THEME OF DESERT PLAY GROUND. KIND OF REVERSING OUR PERCEPTION OF WHAT IT'S LIKE TO INTERACT WITH THE DESERT. THESE ARE CACTI YOU CAN TOUCH. THIS ONE YOU CAN HUG. ONE YOU CAN GIVE A HIGH FIVE TO. SO WE ARE TRYING TO LOOK AT THE DESERT IN KIND OF A PLAYFUL WAY. GIVES PEOPLE A SENSE OF FUN ABOUT IT AND THEN EACH OF THE CACTI ARE INSPIRED BY DIFFERENT ACTUAL CACTI OUT IN OUR WORLD AND OUR ENVIRONMENT.

>>>> THE SCOPE, IT KIND OF BALLOONED OUT TO BE BIGGER THAN I THINK ANY OF US EXPECTED IT TO BE. IT WAS JUST A GROUP OF US STARTING OFF GETTING TOGETHER AND KIND OF JUST BRAINSTORMING AND PLAYING WITH THE MATERIALS. AND COMING UP WITH FUN, WACKY IDEAS OF WHAT WE COULD DO. IT'S BEEN FUN KIND OF EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES.

>>>> PRETTY COOL.

>>>> A FOCAL POINT OF THE FESTIVAL WAS MIRAZOZO. PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL TOURING EXHIBITION, THE LARGE INFLATABLE SCULPTURE WAS CREATED BY ARCHITECTS OF AIR AND GAVE VISITORS AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN A DAZZLING ENVIRONMENT OF LIGHT AND COLOR. MIRAZOZO ALSO PROVIDED THE VALLEY-BASED THEATER COMPANY VESSEL WITH JUST THE RIGHT SETTING FOR THEIR INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE, "TRANSFIXED."

>>>> WE WENT TO THAT SPACE AND AMBIENT MUSIC AND LIGHT, WE MOVED TO THAT SPACE AND IT WAS SO PERFECT FOR US IN THAT IT WAS SUCH A HARMONIOUS SENSE. OUR PERFORMANCE IS VERY SUBTLE AND THAT SPACE WAS VERY SUBTLE. SO I REALLY ENJOYED BEING A PART OF IT.

>>>> TRANSFIXED" CREATED A STRIKING PRESENCE IN OTHER AREAS OF THE FESTIVAL AS WELL.

>>>> SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT WE DO IS ABOUT THE PHYSICAL ARCHITECTURAL SPACE. I LIKE TO CALL IT ATMOSPHERIC PERFORMANCE, THAT WE KIND OF AMPLIFY THE ATMOSPHERE. WE KIND OF ACTIVATE THE SPACE. AND WE DRAW ATTENTION. I LOVE THE COMPLEX OF THE MESA ART CENTER IN GENERAL. I REALLY THINK IT'S A WONDERFUL SPACE OF CREATIVITY, NOT ONLY FOR THE ARTISTS BUT ALSO FOR THE COMMUNITY.

>>>> AND THE STRENGTH OF THE EARTH GOING FROM THE CHAMBER GOING UP INTO ACTUALLY ATTACHING IN THE ARCHITECTURE AND ACTUALLY TURNS THE BUILDING ITSELF INTO MUSIC. ¶¶

>>>> THE FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY PROMISES TO BECOME ONE OF THE MAYS ARTS -- MESA ARTS CENTER SIGNATURE EVENTS PROVIDING A UNIQUE PLATFORM FOR COLLABORATION AND EXPLORATION. IT ALSO OFFERS THE PUBLIC AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY AS WELL.

>>>> WE HAVE A JOB, THOSE OF US WHO WORK IN THIS SECTOR, TO BRAY DOWN A LOT OF OLD BARRIERS THAT PEOPLE HAVE WHERE THEY THINK THE ARTS ARE FOR SOMEONE ELSE, NOT FOR THEM. MAY THEY DON'T KNOW ENOUGH OR THEY'RE NOT COMFORTABLE ENOUGH. IT'S SOMETHING THEY HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED. AND WE BELIEVE VERY STRONGLY THAT CREATIVE EXPERIENCE, ARTS EXPERIENCES BELONG TO EVERYONE, THAT THEY ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LIFE, THAT THEY ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF A SUCCESSFUL AND HEALTHY SOCIETY.

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