Big i.d.e.a: Arizona Museum for Youth begins evolution with name, logo swap

It’s being billed as a legacy for one of Mesa’s favorite museum showpieces — and for the city itself.

A crowd gathered Tuesday morning in front of the Arizona Museum of Youth near downtown Mesa as the City unveiled a new name, new logo and new plan for the popular facility’s future.

AMY, as it’s affectionally called by employees and visitors, will become the i.d.e.a. Museum later this year.

The new title — standing for “imagination, design, experience, art” — and new logo were unveiled in a ceremony that included speeches by Mesa city manager Chris Brady, mayor Scott Smith and district 4 city council member Chris Glover, as well as John Whiteman, the museum’s founder, Carmen Guerrero, chair of the museum’s friends board and Sunnee O’Rork, the museum’s executive director.

Smith discussed how the new brand of the museum reflects the transition Mesa is going through to make it into new and better city that will appeal to a broader audience. Whiteman, talked about the beginnings of the museum and how planning for the museum started back in 1975. He thanked and praised the city for supporting AMY since the beginning and the new transition the museum is taking now.

O’Rork referenced the process on how the new brand of the museum came to be. She explained the research that was done before a new brand was selected and said one of the keys was to embrace the audience they wanted to attract. Research showed, she said, that eight ouf of every 10 adults enjoyed participating in the museum’s activities as much as their children. In the research it was also found that children visitation peaked at ages 2-to-5 and after age 9 there was a a significant drop in attendance. O’Rork said that there was a confusion between visitors if it was just a children’s museum or it was for all ages.

The name change reflects that the museum is just solely for a younger audience, she said, but also to show that it was not only about art; technology and science are vital to the museum’s programming.

Companies and organizations that were part of i.d.e.a.’s creation include the Mesa-based marketing firm Creative Engine, the City of Mesa, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the museum’s board of directors.

Creative Engine owner John Willie said the firm used crowdSpring, a graphic design website, to offer the chance for artists around the world to come up with the new logo. Five-hundred designs for the logo were submitted with a design from Paul Barugh from the United Kingdom ultimately selected.

“The design and brand were chosen because it embraces the new direction and now it can reach national and one international markets unlike the old brand which was limited,” Willie said.

The museum will host events promoting awareness about the new brand in the coming months, including temporary “pop-up” museums at different Valley locations to raise awareness and encourage community involvement in the museum’s growth.

O’Rork and Guerrerro also invited the public to attend “The Big IDEA” fundraiser on Feb. 20 in Mesa’s William Barnhart Studio.

As part of the offical renovations, AMY will close on May 27 and re-open as i.d.e.a. on June 21.

“We’re very excited the baby is being born and hope that the museum will keep expanding and have a national, and maybe one day international, reach,” O’Rork said.


Photo: City of Mesa council member Chris Glover speaks during the unveiling of the new logo and name of the renamed Arizona Museum for Youth, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Mesa to the i.d.e.a. Museum which stands for imagination, design, experience and art. [Tim Hacker/Tribune]