Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ

Formerly known as the Arizona Museum for Youth, the i.d.e.a. Museum is an institution committed to the presentation, instruction, and study of the visual and performing arts. Since February 6, 2014, it has been abbreviated as i.d.e.a., which is an initialism for “imagination, design, experience, art.” The i.d.e.a. Museum caters mostly to kids, but even seasoned adults will learn something new.

One of the numerous rotating exhibits for children under the age of four is the miniature art city, ArtVille. Along with the exhibits, there will be classes, workshops, and family-friendly events that explore the history, theory, and practice of art. The city of Mesa manages the i.d.e.a. Museum, which is located at 150 Pepper Place in the heart of downtown Mesa area.

Through displays of art, creativity, and imagination, the i.d.e.a. Museum hopes to encourage people of all ages to see the world in new and exciting ways. After years of preparation on the part of valley donors Jack and John Whiteman, the museum was granted tax-exempt status and opened to the public in 1978.

This museum has been the only one of its type in the country since it opened in 1980. The Arizona Museum for Youth was founded in 1987 through the efforts of the City of Mesa and the non-profit organization Arizona Museum for Youth Friends, Inc.

The museum’s over 20,000 square feet are spread across the former 1950s grocery store where it is housed. There are three lecture halls, the Snackery, the HUB gallery, ArtVille, and the Whiteman Family Exhibit Gallery. The gallery hosts new shows several times a year, each of which focuses on a different topic or theme.

Visitors of all ages can have fun in the HUB gallery by engaging in a variety of creative activities, such as building structures out of discarded materials, writing on a dry erase marker wall, and constructing devices using the Rigamajig. ArtVille is a permanent exhibition and activity area designed as a miniature village for children of all ages.

Children as young as six months and as old as twelve can enroll in classes that run throughout the year. The museum offers unique drop-in workshops, summer camps for kids, Girl Scout Badge lessons, and other family-friendly events every Saturday in addition to the exhibitions. Gallery docents who are well-versed in leading art-related activities for school groups make use of all three areas during their visits.

The Snackery is a large lounge with tables, games, and food vending machines where clients may unwind. You’re welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks. Why do you keep stalling? Stop by today!

The Mesa Grande Cultural Park, Mesa, AZ 
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