Valley Leadership’s Explore Program Goes to Mesa

May 17, 2022

Our time in Mesa was focused on the downtown area, where the community is currently experiencing a significant influx of investment. Between the new ASU campus, the many development projects, and the small businesses which have existed for decades, this little downtown area is seeing the Main Street revitalization trend occur in real time. We looked at how this growth is affecting the residents and neighborhoods nearby, and the work being done to ensure everyone in the community is coping with the changes happening to the place they call home. 

We started our day at the historic Nile Theater and learned from Mayor Giles, Vice Mayor Jen Duff, and Jeff McVay about the activity happening in Mesa and the vision for the downtown. We then visited and toured the new ASU MIX Center and Mesa Innovation Studios to learn about the incredible facilities and how it would serve the community of Mesa and students of ASU. We spent some time with Pamela Slim, part of the duo who owns and operates K’e Main Street Learning Lab to learn about their philosophy around serving BIPOC entrepreneurs.

We visited the Mesa Arts Center to learn about the community engagement efforts and got a sneak peek at the new exhibit in the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum and the Arts in Service exhibition. Finally we transitioned to El Rancho Del Arte to learn from Carmen Guerrero from Cultural Coalition, and ended our day with RAIL CDC. Ryan Winkle and Augie Gastelum wrapped up our experience with a neighborhood tour that allowed us to learn a different perspective of how the community is being affected by gentrification.

For more photos, please visit our Facebook album.

Special thanks to all of our community partners who made the trip such an incredible experience.

Mandy TripoliDirector of Community Engaged Practice, Mesa Arts Center
Tiffany FairallChief Curator, Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, MAC
Laura WildeStudios Manager, Mesa Arts Center
Johanna RichardsASU MIX Center
Jake PinholsterASU @ Mesa City Center
Councilmember Jen DuffVice Mayor, City of Mesa
Jeff McVayDowntown Transformation Manager, City of Mesa
Mayor John GilesMayor, City of Mesa
Augie GastelumPatchwork Community Inclusion
Ryan WinkleRAIL CDC
Pamela SlimK’e Learning Lab
Orvid CutlerQue Chevere
Nyasha Shepherd StoneMesa Innovation Studios, ASU
Carmen GuerreroCultural Coalition
Michelle DonovanNile Coffee Shop

Added to cart!