City of Mesa News Article
Arizona Museum for Youth Gets $200K For Final Phase of Rebrand
By: Latonya Smith
10/16/13 12:24 PM

Mesa, AZ (immediate release)----  Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and just-revealed anonymous donor, John Whiteman, presented a combined check of $200,000 to the Arizona Museum for Youth [AMY] for its final rebranding efforts for the i.d.e.a. Museum. The valley philanthropist offered $100K to support the museum and asked the City of Mesa to do the same. It was an ideal match!

"Educating children is not about filling the bucket,” explains Whiteman, “but igniting the fire of imagination, design, exploration, creativity and a yearning for life-long learning. So, the i.d.e.a. Museum was born to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of children."

The museum earned rave reviews and generated widespread support following their initial announcement last spring that they would soon transition into the i.d.e.a. Museum (Imagination, Design, Experience, Art). AMY sought additional funding of $300,000 for a more phased approach to its final transformation to more effectively engage and leverage additional innovation, interactives and a stronger brand experience for families to enjoy.

“It’s important for a museum to grow and change with the community and provide new and exciting experiences,” Mayor Scott Smith said. “The i.d.e.a. Museum is about to take another step forward with help from one of its founders. Thank you John Whiteman for your everlasting commitment to this museum and the City of Mesa.”

Several museum staff members explained how they are working to bring the best possible exhibitions and offerings to the community to support and inspire creativity. This, they said, could be an effective avenue for children engaging the new brand to grow-up and solve local and global problems through outside-the-box thinking with the help of art, science and technology.

“We are thrilled that we will be able to offer the i.d.e.a. Museum through the support of the fabulous City of Mesa and our wonderful founder, John Whiteman,” said Executive Museum Director Sunnee O’Rork. “Building upon our solid foundation of 35 years of kid-tested and family-approved art exhibitions, we will open next February with an enhanced ArtVille, new ArtZone 2.0 and exhibition, Art of the Robots.”

The museum will temporarily close for renovations January 7 through February 6, 2014. The i.d.e.a. Museum will officially launch February 7, 2014 and extend through the 9th with a BIG IDEA Experience Weekend, filled with lots of extra fun festivities, music and more. 

“Families will have more opportunities to create and imagine together while learning about science, art, design and more,” according to O’Rork. “We appreciate this $200,000 support and are now offering the community and individuals an opportunity to help donate towards our total campaign goal of $300,000 by the end of December, also our 35th and final anniversary as the Arizona Museum for Youth brand.”

To donate, please call Lindsay Hochhalter at 480.644.5564 or go online to give at For media questions, contact Latonya Smith at 480.644.4129.

Pictured left to right: Carmen Guerrero (AMY Friends Board Chair), John Whiteman (Anonymous Donor), Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Councilman Chris Glover, Sunnee O'rork (Museum Executive Director).
The Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) is a fine arts museum for children and families and serves as a terrific place to introduce life-changing art. The museum hosts several world-class exhibitions, annually, and features ArtVille, a special art township for kids under 4 years of age and ArtZone for kids 5 and older. As part of the exhibitions, a dynamic array of art classes, fun workshops and family programs are available to teach basic art principles and techniques as they relate to the current exhibition. Call 480.644.2468 or visit the museum online at
“Inspiring children of all ages to experience their world differently through art, creativity and imagination.”

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