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A Housewarming Party: ASU at Mesa City Center fetes grand opening

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By College Times Staff

ASU at Mesa City Center in Downtown Mesa celebrated its grand opening with a two-day event bringing together community members; Mesa city leaders; and ASU faculty, students and staff.

ASU at Mesa City Center is a joint project between the city of Mesa and ASU, which includes two buildings, the MIX Center and The Studios, and outdoor plaza space.

The new Media and Immersive eXperience Center (MIX Center) officially opened its doors to students in the fall.

The October 28 event included presentations from ASU President Michael Crow; Mesa Mayor John Giles and Vice Mayor Jenn Duff; Cheryl Boone Isaacs, founding director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School; and Regent Lyndel Manson.

The following day was dedicated to family, with performances, demonstrations, food and an evening screening of Disney’s “Coco” on the outdoor 100-foot movie screen.

“Arizona State University is committed to collaborations that support student success while also meeting the needs of the broader communities we serve,” Crow says. “We are proud to see ASU at Mesa City Center come to life as a vanguard facility for learning and creativity, and we appreciate the city of Mesa’s vision and confidence in advancing opportunities for generations to come.”

The weekend’s events were a celebratory culmination after many years of joint work between the city and ASU. The city invested $63.5 million toward the project and managed the design and construction of the building while ASU contributed $33.5 million, which included interior work and high-end equipment. ASU will pay all operation and maintenance costs for the MIX Center; costs will be shared with the city of Mesa for The Studios.

“This world-class facility is a significant puzzle piece in the evolution of our city’s central core, and further solidifies Mesa’s Downtown Innovation District as a destination for education, entrepreneurship and community collaboration,” Giles says. 

“The strong partnership between ASU and the city of Mesa is attracting new businesses and bringing educational programs that will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”

MIX Center

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, founding director of the Sidney Poitier New American Film School, speaks at the grand opening of ASU at Mesa City Center in Downtown Mesa. (ASU/Submitted)

The MIX Center hosts hundreds of students who will be making films, designing virtual worlds and creating immersive media experiences. It is capable of producing anything from blockbuster superhero movies to VR video games — and teaching students the skills they need to succeed in a digital economy.

“It’s an exciting time at The Poitier School, and our new home in Mesa is a huge part of that excitement. We pride ourselves on fostering spaces that help empower our students, so they feel confident enough to tell their stories,” Isaacs says. 

“At the MIX, whether that story is in film, AR/VR/XR, short-form video or any other type of experiential media, our students will find the state-of-the-art tools they need. And their stories will enrich the cultural life of the university, the state, the region and beyond.”

The MIX Center houses The Sidney Poitier New American Film School’s production and post-production programs, plus classes in digital media technology, worldbuilding, experience design and gaming from The Design School and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (both, like the Poitier Film School, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts), as well as from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the College of Global Futures.

“The MIX Center and the larger ASU at Mesa City Center complex are just at the beginning of their long-term benefits to our students and the Downtown Mesa community. We are thrilled to have this chance to celebrate how far we have already come — a celebration of the good that a university and a city can do together,” said Jake Pinholster, associate dean for enterprise design and operations in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

ASU at Mesa City Center is a joint project between the city of Mesa and ASU, which includes two buildings, the MIX Center and The Studios, and outdoor plaza space. (ASU/Submitted)

The Studios at Mesa City Center

The Studios at Mesa City Center is a repurposed midcentury building that houses programming and support services for local community entrepreneurs, facilitated by the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. The Studios will help develop entrepreneurs, innovators and small businesses at every stage.

“We are excited that we have the opportunity to connect with more of Mesa’s local entrepreneurs and the family and friends that support them. This celebration will provide an opportunity to highlight local entrepreneurs and showcase the ways in which the community can engage with the resources offered,” says Nyasha Stone Sheppard, community manager for The Studios.

The Studios is housed on the ground floor of a building that was originally the Mesa Public Library and has since been renovated by Mesa in support of ASU’s entrepreneurship programs. The Studios and many of the spaces in the MIX Center are fully open to the community, including the fabrication studio. CT

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