Mesa Contemporary Arts (MCA) has earned a national reputation for exhibiting cutting edge contemporary artwork and has explored subcultures and alternative lifestyles that have grown popular in mainstream society, as in the immensely successful 2008 exhibitions Low & Slow: The “Art” of the Lowrider and Beneath the Skin: Artwork Inspired by Tattoos. For the Mesa Art Center 2011 Season Kickoff, “Guitars & Handlebars,” MCA is focusing on two themes that not only capture the essence of American creativity and ingenuity, but also embrace the rebellious spirit and individualism that has helped shape our country: Rock Music and Motorcycles.

The Mesa Arts Center season opening event is an established tradition, but this year the Mesa Arts Center kick off features a weekend-long festival beginning with the MCA Opening Reception. The festival opens that night at 6pm with a display of motorcycles and cars taking over the seven-acre campus grounds, accompanied by live music, artist demos, food booths and a beer garden.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Opening Reception

Friday, Sept. 9th, 2011 (7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.)
Free and open to the public

Premiering Exhibitions

Six-String Masterpieces

Sept. 9th – Dec. 4th, 2011

South Gallery

Radical Rides: The “Art” of Motorcycles

Sept. 9th, 2011 – Jan. 9th, 2012

Wilson & Ruby Dobson Main Gallery

Easy Ridin’ & Hard Rockin’ AZ Style

Sept. 9th – Dec. 18th, 2011

North Gallery

An American LEGOcy

Sept. 9th, 2011 – Jan. 9th, 2012

Dr. Ruth Tan Lim Project Room

Altered States: Dreams, Nightmares & Fantasies

Sept. 9th – 30th, 2011

SRP Permanent Collection Gallery

About Six-String Masterpieces
Six-String Masterpieces is an amazing collection of Dean Electric Guitars that have been hand-painted, illustrated and sculpted by leading musicians, tattooists and contemporary visual artists. Originally introduced in 2006, Mesa Contemporary Arts has partnered with Dean Electric Guitars to revive this very special exhibition, unveiling newly customized guitars alongside selected works from the original show. Artists include Ozzy Osbourne, Bret Michaels, Kelly Clarkson, LA contemporary art star Mark Dean Veca, MTV Award winning video producer Dean Karr, NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick, tattoo artists Shawn Barber and Aaron Cain, and Arizona artists Matt Smith, Such Styles and Sage, and many more.

Six-String Masterpieces continues to evolve as an ongoing charitable exhibition that serves to raise awareness and support for music education and carries a message of anti-violence with its dedication to one of rock music’s greatest and most beloved guitar players, Darrell Abbott. The exhibit’s curator is Curse Mackey, and Six-String Masterpieces is sponsored by Dean Guitars.

About Radical Rides: The “Art” of Motorcycles
Ever since Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper set on their epic journey in the 1969 classic film Easy Rider, America’s fascination with the motorcycle has never been the same. Today, this symbol of rebellion and the counterculture has become an accepted, artistic movement, embraced by art galleries and museums around the world. The motorcycle industry itself has developed into a $21 billion dollar a year business in the U.S. with its own stars and celebrities, whose creativity and innovations have elevated this mode of transportation into an art form. Mesa Contemporary Arts is pleased to showcase this ingenuity in Radical Rides: The “Art” of Motorcycles with motorcycles by prominent designers Ron Finch, Laura Klock, Paul Yaffe as well as an art motorcycle by visual artist Lee Stoetzel. Also on display are several customized motorcycle tank “canvases” that have been transformed into works of art by leading motorcycle painters and contemporary artists.

About the Mesa Arts Center Season Kick-Off Festival

“Guitars & Handlebars” Season Kick-Off Festival: September 9th – 11th

Friday (6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.), Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.), Sunday (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

“Guitars & Handlebars” is a blowout event featuring rock music, motorcycles, great art and showcasing the upcoming season at the Mesa Arts Center theaters and studios.  The event is free of charge and festival goers can visit the galleries, watch demos in the Art Studios, see live music and theater performances, tour MAC’s four theaters, and explore a motorcycle and car show in which many of the top customized vehicles in the Valley will be exhibited. Saturday evening will feature World Classic Rockers live in concert, an all-star group that brings together former band members from Santana, Journey, Steppenwolf, Toto, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boston.

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Mesa Contemporary Arts is an extraordinary visual art exhibition space at Mesa Arts Center showcasing contemporary art from today’s emerging and internationally recognized artists in five stunning galleries. Groundbreaking and provocative, the exhibits represent the finest in contemporary art.

Hours: Tue, Wed., Fri., and Sat. 10am-5pm | Thu 10am-8pm | Sun 12pm-5pm | Closed Monday – Admission is FREE every day.


Mesa Arts Center has been named “Arts Organization of the Year” for 2010 by The Arts & Business Council of Greater Phoenix and received numerous other awards and accolades for its programs and outstanding new facilities. Arizona’s largest arts campus is home to four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Guests, patrons and, students come to Mesa Arts Center to enjoy the finest live entertainment and performances, world-class visual art exhibitions, and outstanding arts education classes. The facility is an architectural showpiece and a destination for visitors to the Phoenix area. The Mesa Arts Center mission is to inspire people through impacting and engaging experiences that are diverse, accessible, and relevant; and that enhance the quality of life and vitality of the region. For more information, visit One East Main Street | Mesa | 480-644-6500

Take a free guided tour of the Mesa Arts Center campus including all theaters, art studios, Mesa Contemporary Arts, and the shadow walk. Tours are every Wednesday at noon and require a reservation. For more information or to book your tour call 480-644-6626.


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