Mesa Arts Center extends its stage statewide through Eight, Arizona PBS

Arts festivals, dance performances and music workshops staged by Mesa Arts Center will now touch Arizonans of all ages thanks to a new series of AZArtBeat programs appearing through mid-July on Eight, Arizona PBS. As part of its Participation Enhancement Grants Program, the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation has funded the PBS documentaries on Mesa Arts Center’s education and community outreach efforts.

“Our partnership with Eight, Arizona PBS allows Mesa Arts Center to take our most engaging cultural experiences directly into Arizona schools and living rooms,” said Executive Director Cindy Ornstein. “It allows us to weave the Center’s artists and cultural experiences into the lives of nearly every Arizonan.”

“PBS is America’s largest classroom and biggest stage,” said Eight’s General Manager Kelly McCullough. “Our AZArtBeat series is just one way that we fulfill that mission. Teaming up with Mesa Arts Center will mean reaching teachers, students and adults across Arizona with arts programs that enrich every generation.”

The AZArtBeat segments focusing on Mesa Arts Center include four themed stories broadcast individually on Eight’s "Arizona Horizon" at 5:30 p.m. on dates shown below. The segments also will be broadcast together as a special program airing in September. They include the following:

May 24 – Festival of Creativity: Introduces Mesa Arts Center and presents its recent Festival of Creativity. Festival-goers enjoyed and participated in a variety of arts and performance activities and artists and performers were provided with a unique opportunity for collaboration. 

June 14 – Contra Tiempo: Looks at the Center’s residency/performance program with Los Angeles-based Latino dance company, Contra Tiempo. The program taught Salsa workshops to students in elementary schools and Mesa Community College. The company also coached a select group of elementary school students for a performance piece included in Contra Tiempo's public performance at the Center.

June 28 – Mesa Takes Flight: Spotlights a festival culminating a year-long celebration of aviation, aerospace and all things flight-related. This story focuses on a dance piece commissioned by the Center with highlights of the finished performance and how different groups within the community came together to create the dance.

July 19 – Jazz from A to Z:  Features a partnership between the Center, Arizona State University’s Public History Department, Mesa Public Schools and Jazz at Lincoln Center. This program demonstrates how jazz is being used to help teach history in the classroom and how music students and their teachers have benefited from jazz workshops and other learning opportunities.  

For more information about Mesa Arts Center’s educational outreach programs, contact Mandy Buscas at (480) 644-6609 or

To find out how to make these Eight programs available to schools, contact Kimberly Flack, associate general manager – education, at (602) 496-1104 or

The Mesa Arts Center, owned and operated by the City of Mesa, is a unique, architecturally stunning facility located in the heart of downtown Mesa. Arizona's largest arts center 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 Mesa Arts Center mission is to inspire people through engaging arts experiences that are diverse, accessible, and relevant. Mesa Arts Center has received numerous awards and accolades including the “2010 Arts Organization of the Year,” by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Phoenix; the “2011 Best Venue to See National Acts” Best of Phoenix New Times; and most recently “2012 Best Arts Center” Critic’s Choice For more information, visit

Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 50 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 86 per cent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit Eight is a member-supported service and the public media enterprise of Arizona State University.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. For more information, visit