Art uniting downtown Mesa businesses with community

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Local artists are working to beautify downtown Mesa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Local artists are working to beautify downtown Mesa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
It's hoped the art project will bring more foot traffic downtown Mesa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) It's hoped the art project will bring more foot traffic downtown Mesa. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
It's hoped an art project in downtown Mesa will give businesses a boost. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) It's hoped an art project in downtown Mesa will give businesses a boost. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Downtown Mesa businesses are going from survival mode to expansion mode now that the light rail is there, and one organization is helping them do it.

The Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation is working with local artists to beautify downtown Mesa so people from all over the Valley will be drawn in.

As people step off the light rail and walk along the streets of downtown Mesa, they'll be seeing things made by local artists and volunteers.

David Osowski is one of the artists working to bring in more traffic.

“It's kind of all about trying to beautify downtown and make it a cool destination that people want to come to see and want to hang out in,” Osowski said. 

Osowski is painting a mural for Mesa's free Movies on Main Street series. 

"It's just a fun way to do what we're doing and put a little twist on it and make it fun for the kids and everyone who's out here," he said. 

"[We want to] engage them with the arts, with the arts center, with the shows, with events, all of those things that at the end of the day drive business to those businesses that we're here to help and create a community," said Augie Gastelum, executive director of Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO). “We provide a lot of business assistance to the businesses, but we also do a lot of comprehensive community development which kind of takes the community and businesses and kind of marries them."

Business owner Amy Del Castillo said she's starting to see results.

"There's definitely been momentum [and] more attention on Mesa,” Del Castillo said. “A lot of people are traveling down here, especially on event nights, just to see what all the buzz is about, and I feel like the feedback from people has been good."

 “I love the fact that it's bringing new people into our community," Osowski said. 

To help these artists stay in the community after they beautify it, NEDCO is working on a housing development called ArtSpace that would give artists an affordable place to live.

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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