Casa Grande Art Museum

by Leah Kiser, President, Casa Grande Art Association

The Casa Grande Art Association has also been busy sprucing up the exterior of the Casa Grande Art Museum! Funded almost entirely with donations, and built with the muscle of many energetic volunteers and partner organizations these projects exemplify the generosity, hard work, and talent of Casa Grande. The landscape has been revitalized, colorful mosaics are sprinkled throughout the sculpture garden, and finally: a magnificent steel fence, built by volunteer welders and students from Central Arizona College, is about to make its appearance in front of the art museum!

Getting the fence going was an exciting first step, the momentum propelled many volunteers to consider what else we could do to help beautify the exterior of the museum. The CGAA held several fund raisers to have the museum painted, and put in new plants, gravel, and irrigation. CGAA member and master gardener Lynn Swanson worked with Roy “Rabbit” Mejia to get the grounds looking wonderful! In this picture CGAA volunteers and family members worked to remove the old gravel to prepare for the new look!

Vista Grande National Honor Society members helped out too!

The fence was proposed to the Art Museum Board, and one member – Jeanette Rhodes was very enthusiastic about the project. She offered $10,000 toward the materials for the fence. This is a photograph of Jeanette seeing the fence for the first time. Sadly, Jeanette passed away this spring, and was unable to see the fence standing in from of the museum.

Stan Balka, a former CGAA member and CAC welding student proposed the fence idea to welding instructor Richard Santasiero, to see if the college could help with the construction. They offered to build the fence as a volunteer project at no cost! Stan has since moved to Green Valley, AZ but he still drives to CAC every Saturday to work on the fence.

Richard Santasiero, a welding instructor at CAC is the mastermind of the project.  He took the initial fence design, and turned it into a binder filled with cad drawings.  Under Richard’s direction, the fence has become a reality.