Pause & Play

Part of maintaining a thriving creative culture is giving people time and permission to play.


Mesa Street Prototyping Festival

The Main Street Prototyping Festival, a free event, will feature 20 temporary prototypes (created by artists, architects, designers, students, makers, urban planners and others) that activate public space and engage the community toward enhancing connectivity and vibrancy in downtown Mesa. Prototypes include concepts for gathering places, virtual reality experiences, structures that offer space for interaction, performances, places to play and share in art making, and ways for passersby to offer feedback about their community. #mesaprototyping

In addition to the 20 prototypes, artists Erin V. Sotak and Sophia McGovern will work with community partners, Grant Woods Boys & Girls Club and Mesa’s CARE Partnership, to engage residents in using art and art-making to explore and express their neighborhood and community goals. The artists will employ art making as a tool for building relationships with and among neighbors. They will lead group processes to explore participants’ challenges, needs, hopes and dreams for themselves and their neighborhood, such as issues or barriers to community well-being, enhancements they’d like to make to their environment or pedestrian environment, or ways to enhance feelings of belonging to community.

Project Description

This project will explore the relationship between design and build, academia and community, theory and practice, and learning by making and playing. All these, while looking for deep and complex relations that connect interdisciplinary fields related to the making of atmospheres for children in the context of culture.

The graduate studio in Interior Architecture will collaborate with youth from the City of Mesa through a series of workshops to explore culture through the eyes of children as the first phase of the design process. Design with rather than designing for, not only has a greater impact in the sense of belonging of the installation, but it also exposes the youth to a college and community outreach experience.

Play Search offers the opportunity for social practice and collective action between children from the City of Mesa and MIA students in the ideation process of the installation.




To Explore relationships between: 

design + build

academia + community 

theory + practice

learning  + playing


To collaborate with youth from the City of Mesa


To design with, not for, the community


To expose youth to college experience, and designers to community outreach and social practice


"Creativity is contagious, pass it on"

-Albert Einstein