Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is distinguished by its thoughtful, imaginative approach to showing works by local, national, and international artists. Its solo and group exhibitions often feature women artists and artists of color, bringing much-needed diversity to the art scene. We never tire of seeing the museum's El Mac mural depicting an immigrant from Guatemala holding a lovely long-stemmed rose. Expect to see not only traditional works of art here, but also murals painted on gallery walls, rows of mounted skate decks, and large-scale installations created with offbeat materials like plastic bags. Best of all, the museum routinely exhibits work by such local artists as Rachel Bess, Colin Chillag, Joe Willie Smith, Marilyn Szabo, and Fred Tieken. They even throw fabulous season openings where art, live music, and conversation converge to create a strong sense of community.