Community Development Partners has officially announced that El Rancho del Arte in Mesa is now open. Stakeholders recognized the milestone with a ceremony on Thursday, October 15, including speakers Eric Paine, CEO of Community Development Partners; Michael Trailor, Director of Arizona Department of Housing; Kelly Sands, President of ICON Builders; and Fatima Ortiz, a resident of El Rancho del Arte. The completion of El Rancho del Arte is a step toward creating an integrated, healthy community of engaged citizens.

El Rancho del Arte is a 66-unit residential community located at 719 E Main St in Mesa. The two- and three-bedroom units feature spacious layouts and energy efficient fixtures. The community also includes a courtyard playground, BBQ and picnic areas, media room, pool, computer center, structured parking, bicycle parking, and easy light rail access. El Rancho del Arte integrates public art installations, community garden boxes, and learning spaces to benefit both residents and non-residents. In pursuit of community engagement, El Rancho del Arte features a strong supportive services program, including educational classes for parents, after school programs for children, and community building events.

Eric Paine, CEO of CDP, says, “We designed El Rancho del Arte through a thoughtful, human-centered collaboration with the local Mesa stakeholders. We involved the community and local artists to create a housing culture that supports the arts and encourages community engagement. We are very proud of the outcome as we feel we have achieved our goal of raising the bar on affordable housing. Now we’re on to the next phase of the project’s lifecycle which is the activation and community building phase.”

The project features multiple artistic components to inspire and motivate the residents to partake in the creative process. Mandalas, is a Sanskrit word that means “circle,” are integrated into the building’s exterior. The Mandalas at El Rancho del Arte include environmental features, natural shapes, forms, and patterns which are found on historical baskets and pottery in the Mesa, AZ region. Additionally, the building’s staircases feature quotes from contemporary thought leaders such as Winston Churchill, César Chavez, and Henry Ford, as well as ancient thinkers and quotes such as Socrates, an African Proverb, and a Mayan saying.

Zarco Guerrero, an acclaimed local artist and longtime Mesa resident whose work was an integral component of the building design, states, “My job as an artist is to orientate people geographically. I have been wanting to communicate the ancient history of this area, and the symbols on the Mandalas at El Rancho integrate those historical symbols. They call our attention, they engage us while connecting us together in a shared ancient past. For me this is what art should do.” As a sculptor, mask-maker and performance artist, Guerrero has exhibited and received international acclaim and many prestigious awards.

The project’s artistic consultant was Cultural Coalition, Inc., and programming is provided by A New Leaf. Additional partners included: Alliant, Rocky Mountain CRC, NEDCO, LISC, Integrity Housing, Arizona Department of Housing, The City of Mesa, ICON Builders, CHASE, Celtic Property Management, LLC, and Perlman Architects.