Mixed media artist Joyce J. Scott spent about two hours Monday afternoon sitting in the center of one of the new galleries of Mesa Contemporary Arts.
Carts held her her brightly colored beadwork and blown glass sculptures. Her stark framed prints sat wrapped in blocks of plastic foam. She looked around trying to visualize where her pieces should be placed on pedestals or hung.
Scott is one of six artists whose works make up the debut exhibitions at the museum, the first component of the $94.5 million Mesa Arts Center that opens on Friday.
Her work will be shown in the Ruth Tan Lim Project room, between the south gallery that houses sculptor Michael Shaughnessy’s colossal hay sculptures, and the main gallery that will feature Montana artist Deborah Butterfield’s "Horses" exhibit. In the north gallery, photographer and multimedia artist Gene Cooper and sculptor Byron Lahey, both faculty at Arizona State University’s main campus, were installing the computers, projectors and wiring for a documentary project being done in collaboration with multimedia artist and ASU West professor Patricia Clark.
"What’s the possibility of dramatically lighting this room? Maybe even using spotlighting, a warm light, on each piece?" Scott asked.
Patty Haberman, Mesa Contemporary Arts curator, and her assistants crafted a plan. Other pieces will hang from the ceiling, some with knives and scissors attached.
Anna Skibska, who arrived Monday afternoon, plotted where to hang her large webbed glass cocoons from the ceiling.
A glass sculptor, Skibska melts and stretches glass into thin ribbons, creating unusual shapes and forms.
Her first solo exhibition at the center, "Untitled," will explore the dichotomy between line and form and light and shadow, and to represent the new millennium.
"Looking technologically at my pieces, glass is made of sand, which is ground and then purified by fire," she said. "Then with that clear material, lit with fire, I created the pieces."
Butterfield is scheduled to arrive today to install her four horse sculptures. Elsewhere in the building Monday, staff members polished floors and painted.
Friday’s opening is 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Mesa Arts Center is at 1 E. Main St.