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Strategic Plan

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Department of Arts & Culture Strategic Positioning 2015 - 2016


Mesa will be a nationally acclaimed destination, known for its innovations and quality in arts and culture, and for a community deeply engaged and committed to cultural programs and participation.


To strengthen the creative, social and economic fabric of our community and region through inspiring, relevant, fun and transformational cultural experiences.

Core Values

  • High Standards & Continuous Improvement
  • Innovation & Creativity
  • Integrity& Respect
  • Teamwork & Collaboration
  • Exceptional Customer Service & Community Ownership
  • Inclusivity & Accessibility


  • Enhance and promote Mesa as a city offering extraordinary opportunities for learning, discovery and creativity
  • Support the development and sustainability of a strong Creative Economy
  • Increase the value the public places on arts and culture
  • Strengthen the sustainability of Mesa’s arts and culture community


  • Connect the diverse segments of our community with our organizations and programs, and those of partnering organizations, through active engagement, outreach and education
  • Maintain and increase the quality of our programs, services, customer service and facilities
  • Increase the numbers of patrons and donors
  • Increase the visibility and awareness of our organizations and programs
  • Act as a catalyst for the creation of activated public spaces and a visual strategy for Downtown Mesa


1. Develop a detailed branding/awareness plan for our programs and organizations

TACTIC: Develop a strategic communications plan for the department and each entity, implemented across program areas to create stronger branding and brand communication to support audience and donor development. Sequentially build messaging and increase opportunities to generate interest and awareness separate from “transactional” marketing/public relations
TACTIC: AMY “Image for the Future” Initiative Phase I and II completed; Phase III underway. In FY16, AMY will be implementing Communications, Marketing & Social Media Plan to reach target audiences locally, regionally & nationally to build i.d.e.a. Museum reputation and awareness.
TACTIC: Take advantage of major opportunities for cross-promotion, including tourism initiatives, higher education partnerships, cultural activities at other venues, and partnerships with CVB, MHM and others.
TACTIC: Enhance awareness of Mesa Contemporary Arts, MAC’s art museum, using free admission as an opportunity to increase visibility and interest.
TACTIC: Enhance engagement and accessibility of web sites and social media, creating aggressive program to drive traffic and participation, and build new audiences.
TACTIC: Pursue key messaging through media and presentations that position MAC within the cultural community as the premier venue in the Phoenix area for artistic presentations in the visual and performing arts.
TACTIC: Stage signature, original festivals, special events and promotions that increase awareness and create trial opportunities for new audiences.

2. Continue to develop/strengthen engagement/outreach/education/program plans that extend our reach beyond our walls into the community and region

TACTIC: Continue and expand MAC’s Creative Aging Program through use of selected artists to work with older adult populations in downtown Mesa and East Mesa, the Jazz A to Z Program for schools, Literacy through the Arts Program, Spoken Word Program, Classical Music Inside Out, DANCE@MAC and Artist Residencies.
TACTIC: Continue to expand outreach activities and event participation for i.d.e.a. Museum.
TACTIC: Build awareness of Mesa Grande Cultural Park, expanding visitorship and programming, and continuing to build the education program.
TACTIC: Continue exploring and developing means of bringing cultural experiences into the community/neighborhoods, including participation at community events and festivals, libraries and parks.

3. Continually pursue programs and partnerships of high quality and diversity, seeking to identify and present new, unique and transformative experiences

TACTIC: Present a mix of big name performers and emerging artists at MAC, providing experiences to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
TACTIC: Continue to develop festivals and special events, collaborating as possible with educational institutions and Mesa businesses and entrepreneurs.
TACTIC: Make quality programming accessible through free admission at MCA, Out to Lunch Concert Series at MAC, free Museum days, participation in ACF, Celebrate Mesa and other community events.
TACTIC: Continue Creative Economy Fund to stimulate new partnerships and expand opportunities for Mesa citizens.
TACTIC: Present popular exhibitions at museums that provide educational and entertainment value, including Trains at i.d.e.a. Museum; Dino Zone at AzMNH; and Chicano art exhibitions and the Annual Contemporary Craft exhibition at MCA Museum.
TACTIC: Employ innovative programs and techniques, including using technology to augment and deepen audience experiences, and featuring subject expert artists-in-residence.
TACTIC: Continue Mesa’s participation in the Valley-wide “InFlux” program that sites temporary public art projects in downtown areas, and pursue façade and public art projects that engage visitors and attract new audiences.

4. Pursue joint planning and implementation of key initiatives with community partners

TACTIC: Further develop higher education partnerships, including those with ASU to increase and enhance the cultural life of both the university students and downtown Mesa, create opportunities for integrated learning, and generate public experiences through programming, exhibition or special events that engage students as both creators and participants. Build upon existing partnerships with Benedictine University and Wilkes University, and explore new collaborations.
TACTIC: Build collaborations with regional cultural institutions, artists and scientists to jointly provide services and develop new audiences.
TACTIC: Continue to increase collaboration with downtown partners, including planning for public spaces and the activation of those spaces, invitations to participate in public events, and expanded cross-promotions with businesses/ restaurants. Several key initiatives include ARTS + EATS restaurant program, continued work toward an Artspace project, completion of the ArtPlace project, and planning for other downtown projects to enhance creative vitality and vibrancy in Mesa.
TACTIC: Explore expanded cultural exchange programming through Mesa Sister Cities Association, Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, the Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix, and other regional cultural entities.

5. Build and maintain strong public advocacy for our organizations, our work and the value of what we do

TACTIC: Activate web page on City of Mesa web site; create live links for tactics in progress to show forward momentum and create/communicate opportunities for involvement
TACTIC: Continue to hone shared key messaging, pursue public presentation opportunities and ensure representation at key events and activities;
TACTIC: Participate actively in industry forums and advocacy efforts, including National Arts Education Council, IAVM Committee, AZ Citizens for the Arts, AZ Presenters Alliance, Mesa CVB, Valley Cultural Leadership group, AZ Sci-Tech Festival, AZ Humanities Council, AZ Archaeological Society and Association of Children’s Museums.

6. Develop a plan for consistently and systematically gathering data, information, intelligence

TACTIC: Harness and work to maximize data mining and analysis from the Cultural Data Project (CDP), TRG Community Database Project, the upgraded Audience View ticketing system and the new Active Network front desk software to help us better understand our audiences and resources, and enhance our ability to reach new audiences and new opportunities for fundraising.
TACTIC: All three venues are implementing patron surveys,.
TACTIC: Continue conducting ongoing surveys to receive audience input, working to increase survey participation and implementation, and reviewing and analyzing results to determine and respond to patron satisfaction with programs and customer service.
TACTIC: Conduct additional community research to engage citizenry and better understand impressions and needs of the community, and develop strategies and tactics aligned with community needs and desires

7. Create a “culture of philanthropy”—a development and cultivation plan shared and supported by all staff members

TACTIC: Work with supporting organizations to increase the number of potential donors identified and cultivated, increase cultivation activities and engage more staff in implementation; obtain and use prospect identification software/services. All three venues are actively working to strengthen development efforts, working with volunteers to work efficiently and strategically, given limited development staffing, and increasing membership cultivation activities.
TACTIC: Engage staff and boards in helping to identify potential sponsors and significantly increase efforts to solicit sponsorships.
TACTIC: Seek implementation of recommendations in 2013 Development Assessment by Arts Consulting Group in an effort to maximize contributed income opportunities.

8. Continuously improve customer service in all areas, welcoming every visitor and addressing the needs of all.

TACTIC: Increase and enhance customer service training for front-line staff
TACTIC: Partner with community organizations to reach widely diverse audiences, including all ages, ethnic groups, socio-economic and geographic sectors.
TACTIC: Keep abreast of the latest developments in ADA, ensure compliance and reach out to organizations for the physically and mentally challenged to provide opportunities and services.
TACTIC: Develop amenities at MAC, including café/food service.

9. Improve communication across internal areas and organizations.

TACTIC: Continue to increase opportunities for inter-departmental planning and dialogue at all-staff meetings; systematize regular departmental communications.
TACTIC: Re-establish regular interaction between the Museums and MAC Marketing area to identify beneficial promotional opportunities for the department.

10. Coordinate program and operational activities for greater efficiency and impact

TACTIC: Continue coordination of marketing initiatives and shared promotional vehicles—use our creativity to maximize both efficiency and impact
TACTIC: Establish ongoing processes for identifying coordinated programming opportunities and taking advantage of synergies
TACTIC: Continue successful efforts to share rental sales and rental servicing across department
TACTIC: Build on successful volunteer program, further developing numbers, diversity of skills, new roles and opportunities

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