11 June 2015

UPDATE on Rancho del Arte: Stunning Artwork Changes Streetscape of New Urban Downtown Mesa

Mandalas by Mesa Artist Zarco Guerrero
Your MesaZona blog first did an online report of this construction project way back in March - you can scroll down in Flipcard view to read those details.
In fact it was the second posting that started me off highlighting new infill development that is regenerating the original downtown as transit-oriented affordable living attracting new residents along the path of the Valley Metro Central Mesa Lightrail Extension.

The image to the left was snapped on Monday, June 8th after many times this huge installation caught my eye going out of town or returning watching as construction by Icon Builders was progressing in the last couple of months.  
It is eye-catching on a macro-scale with its monumental size announcing the name of the building as well as the composition incorporating the universal mandalas designed by long-time resident and local artist Zarco Guerrero who spoke highly of the investor/developer Community Development Partners CEO Eric Paine for his initiative to involve the work of a Mesa artist in the ironwork design with a series of meetings to talk about the project that's part of the regeneration of the New Urban Downtown Mesa.
Mesa Artist Zarco Guerrero in his studio
Your blogger took the time yesterday, Friday 19 June, to get together with the local artist inside his design studio.
The image to the right shows Zarco with some designs of what he calls "mandalas" - only one of which was used in the monumental ironwork. Universal symbols from other cultures and indigenous peoples inspire his work. His family has been in The SouthWest for centuries and he lived in Japan for a number of years.
This artist has a fertile imagination and artistic drive not usually expressed in iron on such a big scale, but obviously a successful crossover to other media.  He works in different media: in paper clay making fantastic masks, huge "calaveras" of Frieda Kahlo and Katrina, creates works for theater performances, and collaborates with one of the owners of Main Street gallery "Two Hawks" making drums.
There are plans in the works to have more of Zarco's designs installed in both some of the interior public areas and the exterior garden.
The project was originally just called the kinda bland "El Rancho Apartments" that replaced an urban eyesore blighted motel to create an arts-inspired buildingThe name change to El Rancho del Arte came from Eric Paine that gives this project a certain Zing.
The construction super Tom took time to take me around for a quick tour on the ground floor.
Little did your blogger know that the next day there would be an organized Pre-Opening Tour for neighbors and local businesses and maybe they didn't find in time too.

Readers can go back to the previous post from March 02 for details about the amenities programmed into this building: I was particularly impressed by the indoor parking under the building and the street level community and activities room for residents of the 2 & 3-bedroom apartments.
Information from March about applications for renting were posted there. As the opening date approaches, one source tells me that only  25% of the units have been leased; usually almost all applications for leasing apartments like these @ Rancho del Arte are processed closer to full 100% occupancy
719 East Main Street has a small neighborhood market right next door, a Walgreen's Drugstore next door to that, , the El Rancho Super Market a few steps away across Horne Street and other shops/services right across Main Street. Convenient, affordable, and arts-inspired - with a swimming pool.

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