Festival to follow inflatable art piece back to Mesa - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Festival to follow inflatable art piece back to Mesa

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Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2011 11:02 am | Updated: 12:22 pm, Mon Dec 26, 2011.

A popular inflatable art installation that visitors can walk through will return to the East Valley for spring break, as part of a larger festival in downtown Mesa.

The sculpture is called Mirazozo, a sibling of the Amococo installation that hosted sold-out tours near the end of its run last year.

Mirazozo is one of several anchors for the Mesa Festival of Creativity, a new event the Mesa Arts Center wants to become a signature gathering.

Mirazozo should host about 20,000 visitors, said Cindy Ornstein, the MAC’s executive director. Amococo drew about 16,000 visitors last year. Ornstein said it was a struggle during Amococo’s first days to get visitors because the inflatable labyrinth of pathways and chambers was difficult to describe.

After news coverage and word-of-mouth grew, the 20-minute tours for the sculpture sold out.

“I describe it as like walking through a work of stained glass. It’s the natural light coming through the exterior fabric that creates all the different light effects inside,” Ornstein said. “It’s quiet and peaceful. Though it looks like a bounce house on the outside, that’s really not what it is.”

The sculpture is one of several inflatable objects by a British group called Architects of Air.

Mirazozo will stand in the MAC’s parking lot for the entire festival, which runs noon to 9 p.m. March 9 through March 18. The festival is free, but there is a $5 admission fee for Mirazozo and there are fees for some workshops.

The festival is designed for visitors to immerse themselves in the arts, and in some cases help design it. The activities and artists include:

• The Earth Harp, billed as the world’s largest string instrument. It will have its strings attached to the top of the MAC.

• Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, an artist who paints a canvass while breakdancing.

• A community LEGO sculpture.

• Visitors creating origami birds, which will be hung at the MAC and on trees along Main Street.

• A community weaving project that will create colorful displays along fencing.

• Workshops with puppet-making, ceramics, painting, jewelry-making and more.

The festival will be based at the MAC, but Ornstein said she wants it to spread in future years through the downtown.

“It’s a festival that the Mesa Arts Center is administering and to a certain extent curating,” Ornstein said. “But we would love to see, as the festival grows, that there are a lot of projects that are artist-driven and community driven.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or ggroff@evtrib.com

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