City of Mesa
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City of Mesa News Article
ArtPlace Names Mesa Arts Center a Finalist for Creative Placemaking Grants
By: Sarah Moran
01/17/13 12:40 PM

Contact: Sarah Moran
Phone: 480-644-6620

                                            ArtPlace Names Mesa Arts Center a Finalist for Creative Placemaking Grants
For Immediate Release (Mesa, Ariz) –The Mesa Arts Center is one of 104 applicants in 72 communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia that have been named finalists for grants from ArtPlace, an initiative to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. through grants and loans, research, communication and advocacy. ArtPlace is a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations and six of the nation’s largest banks. The finalists were selected from over 1,200 letters of inquiry submitted to the program, and were chosen for their potential to transform communities through placing art and culture at the heart of portfolios of integrated strategies that drive vibrancy and diversity. 
Mesa’s 21st Century Café Society concept has the goal of building an activated and interactive environment and gathering place on the Mesa Arts Center campus.  Community-designed and addressing questions/themes provided by the community, the proposed project would design and build a central interactive display and interface, featuring multi-media screens and enabling on-site creation and expression, and digital sharing of work made by artists and community groups.  The platform for displaying and interacting with art will be the centerpiece of an environment featuring café tables, food/beverage service, and live performances.
The work of New Orleans artist Candy Chang helped inspire the idea for21st Century Café Society, which is part of a large group of initiatives aimed at continuing to build vibrancy in downtown Mesa.  In Chang’s installation, community members shared their dreams on large community chalkboards.  Mesa’s project, which grew out of numerous discussions and community brainstorm sessions, will engage artists, designers, technology experts, students and others in design, execution and content, to develop a high-tech and aesthetically flexible platform to accomplish such sharing.  The “digital bulletin boards” will enable citizens and visitors to exchange and explore art, poetry, aspirations and concerns, facilitating a constantly evolving community dialogue.
The project and its social environment will more fully activate the Mesa Arts Center (MAC), the anchor cultural institution in downtown Mesa, with 387,000 visits last year. The 21st Century Café Society project seeks to combine the informal social environment with both digital and live art experiences, enabling people to meet, share and discover in surprising and exciting ways. 

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