Artist Cecil Balmond to Design Sculpture at Mesa Arts Center

Artist Cecil Balmond to Design Sculpture at Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Center announces the selection of internationally-acclaimed artist Cecil Balmond to design its 21st Century Café Society shade sculpture project. The structural fluidity of this monumental work will provide permanent shade over a community gathering place and connect the internationally-renowned Mesa Art Center campus with Main Street in Downtown Mesa. Following a Public Art Request for Qualifications, jurors chose Balmond's winning concept from an impressive group of three finalists who were invited to submit designs.

"Balmond's design for the shade sculpture, called 'The Cloud,' will create enhanced pedestrian interest, particularly given its location opposite a major new Light Rail Station and across the street from Mesa's City Hall," said Cindy Ornstein, Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center and Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa. "The gathering place and the pedestrian activity will support growth of public activity on the adjacent blocks, and extended visits to downtown Mesa by thousands of MAC patrons."

The suspended cloud-like art structure, designed to align with the existing MAC architecture and landscape, will have three main components when complete: tensile fabric, which matches the existing iconic shade sails; columns with trapeziums, angled to create an inhabitable field; and glass oculi covered with dichroic film, the shadows of which change color with the movement of the sun. Nighttime lighting will make "The Cloud" a beacon welcoming visitors to the Center after dark. It will provide shade for a new outdoor seating area just north of MAC's Theaters Building.

"The aim of the sculpture is to surprise and inspire, in addition to providing a cool place to take cover and for visitors to meet and collaborate," said Balmond of his design. "I wanted to create an environment that changes your perception of space and is completely capable of being used for different purposes, in alignment with Mesa Arts Center's needs." Balmond will collaborate with MAC's original design architect to ensure the design is compatible with the site and with the original design intentions of MAC's architecture.