Work has begun on the first set of several planned murals in the Asian District, a one-mile stretch on Dobson Road in West Mesa, roughly between Main Street and Broadway Road. This collection of murals features the iconic animals of the Chinese zodiac, which is rooted in many Asian cultures.
The Asian District Community Mural Project aims to celebrate the diversity of cultures, community, and commerce that make up Mesa's unique hub comprised of more than 70 restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops and other business services.
"Mesa's Asian District is a can't-miss, well-loved part of our community," said Mesa Mayor John Giles. "This is an exciting project that brings together the creative expression of Arizona artists to highlight the importance of this area to our city."
The first building to install 13 playful murals is Mekong Plaza, 66 S. Dobson. Visitors are encouraged to engage with the art by taking photos with their zodiac animal, learning more about the animals' characteristics and historical influence on the culture, and sharing their experiences. Two additional murals, featuring elements reflecting Asian traditions and culture, are in development at locations along Dobson Road.
"We are looking forward to the addition of the murals," said Philip Ta, managing partner of Mekong Plaza. "We hope it gives the people of Mesa and surrounding areas another reason to come visit, ask questions and learn about the history and culture of our community."
Kadhima Tung, a Chinese Muslim artist from Mesa, designed the 13 columns with a zodiac theme because the symbols are recognizable and encourage conversations. When complete, it will feature the 12 zodiac animals and a mural of Mekong Plaza's building, which is home to more than a two dozen Asian-owned small businesses.
The mural project is part of a larger branding and signage campaign to create awareness of businesses in the area. Street signage along Dobson was updated with the Asian District logo, and several businesses proudly display on their storefronts logoed window clings designed to represent the district's culture, commerce and community. In addition, several branded banners and utility box wraps recently were installed.
"We are proud to continue the efforts to highlight this cultural destination," said District 3 Councilmember Francisco Heredia. "We look forward to working in partnership with stakeholders and local artists to add the visuals and colors to make this a destination that embraces the Asian cultures."
Earlier this year, the City of Mesa's call for experienced artists with the ability to capture the vibrancy of a community and produce large murals resulted in more than 30 submissions. Of those, 11 artists were added to the District's Artist Roster.
The artists on the roster are: Sandra Bosscher, Ariana Enriquez, Francisco Garcia, Kai Ekbundit, Steve Kosar/Caroline Woods, Maria Madrid Reed, Lucretia Torva, Kadhima Tung, Juyi Youk and Shela Yu. The roster artists will be considered as additional mural opportunities arise in the Asian District.
Learn more about the artists on the roster and the district on the City's Asian District webpage: www.selectmesa.com/asiandistrict.