Mesa shopping center home to temporary public art exhibit - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Mesa shopping center home to temporary public art exhibit

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Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 7:15 am

Visitors to Dana Park in Mesa will see something a little different in the coming months due to the installation of two art pieces in the shopping center at the northwest corner of Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive.

The art featured is a series of murals — including a bobcat and roadrunner — as well as installations suspended from the complex’s ceiling. Both were either painted or installed by Valley-based artists: Isaac Caruso did the murals and Muharrem Yildirim and Matthew Briggs did the installations.

“It’s something that’s unexpected and refreshing,” Caruso said.

The installation is part of a series organized through the IN FLUX initiative, which brings temporary art exhibits like those in Dana Park to local communities in different cycles. The cycles bring different installations to different communities. The Dana Park project is part of the fourth cycle, and IN FLUX will begin its fifth cycle in the coming months.

IN FLUX has partnered with organizations representing municipalities like Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert, although project manager Kirstin Van Cleef said this is the first time IN FLUX has coordinated with a non-government group to set up an exhibit.

The IN FLUX concept is near and dear to Van Cleef’s heart, and she said a couple of the project’s goals of the project are to support local artists and provide a direct connection between art and the community.

“Public art is oddly invisible to the average citizen,” she said.

In Caruso’s case, accomplishing the mission entailed linking Dana Park to the nearby desert environment. That wasn’t too difficult for the Phoenix native, whose murals bring in some of the desert environment not far from the shopping plaza.

“It definitely ties it in a little bit for the area,” said Pita Jungle manager Matt Jenkins.

The exhibition also fits squarely into what Pita Jungle does on a frequent basis. Jenkins said the restaurant has a rotating art gallery it switches out every six months, which makes the IN FLUX project “very in-line with our concepts.”

He said having a public art display in the shopping center extends the local art scene outside of Pita Jungle’s confines and into the community as a whole, which he said makes Dana Park more active in Mesa’s art scene.

“I think it adds a little touch of artistry to the complex,” he said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or

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