Cultural Landmark

Innovative 24-hour Surveillance Protects Thriving Arts and Culture Center

  • IndustryCultural Landmark
  • CustomerMesa Arts Center
  • RegionArizona
    (Southwest United States)
  • IDIS PartnerICU/SARC


A modern and inspiring gathering place in the American Southwest

Upon hearing Pablo Picasso’s famous praise of art’s ability to clear “the dust of everyday life,” one’s thoughts could easily turn to one of Arizona’s newest landmarks, the Mesa Arts Center. Set proudly amidst the dust of the Sonoran Desert, the Mesa Arts Center is a striking complex of buildings, art installations, and public throughways, offering a rich blend of visual impressions in glass, water, stone, and metal, with splashes of vibrant color and metallic reflection.

At more than 21,000 sq. feet, the award-winning $95 million campus is the largest and most comprehensive performing, visual and educational arts complex in Arizona, serving as a gathering point for the citizens of Mesa and region alike, seeking to enjoy the indoor and outdoor spaces, public events, classes, and art exhibitions. The presence of an adjacent light rail station and hosting of multiple festivals throughout the year further increase traffic to, from, and through the open planned site at various hours of the day, and on weekends and even holidays.


Open and inviting design creates openings for safety and security risks

The heart of the Mesa Arts Center complex is a grand promenade that knits together all of its pieces, while providing places for group gatherings, performances, and quiet reflection, comfort and relaxation. Ensuring a safe, family friendly environment is essential to fulfilling the role the center plays as a gathering point for all walks of life. In addition to welcoming visitors to the Center, the open configuration of the complex invites commuters coming off the nearby light rail line to stroll through on their way to and from the station, and draw loiterers, would-be vandals, and itinerant populations (attracted to the semi-secluded spaces created by outdoor art installations and the complex’s fountains and water elements).

Particularly outside of traditional hours of operation, such factors can increase the risk of nuisance crimes, vandalism, and petty theft, and potentially more serious crimes against visitors and staff, without a vigilant and comprehensive security and surveillance operation. Additionally, complex spaces, varied materials, and water elements increase risk for incident and accident without proper prevention and/or prompt response.

While customary approaches to similar venues have typically relied heavily on a combination of CCTV and human security guards, the size and complexity of the Mesa Arts Center campus makes a traditional manned guarding solution, even when supported by a typical surveillance technology, both cost prohibitive and potentially inadequate.


Seamless surveillance and comprehensive as the Center itself

The Mesa Arts Center is an architectural showpiece and regional destination, requiring comprehensive surveillance at all hours, every day of the year, under highly variable conditions. A comprehensive technical solution with proven power, performance, and reliability was paramount to ensure protection of property and the safety of everyone on campus. The City of Mesa, who operates the center, in partnered with Scottsdale’s Surveillance Acquisition Response Center (SARC) and IDIS technology provide a mix of surveillance cameras and network video recorders (NVRs) able to meet the varied requirements of a campus housing multiple art galleries, studios, performance spaces, walkways and cut-throughs, and outdoor gathering spaces, and support SARC’s innovative approach to virtual guarding, which incorporates military, police, and intelligence best practices and personnel to enhance traditional remote monitoring models and outcomes.

The City of Mesa’s previous successes implementing SARC and IDIS technology at the Mesa Grande Cultural Park made the integration of technology and monitoring selected for the Mesa Arts Center a natural fit. Featuring multiple IDIS DirectIP™ [model number] network video recorders (NVRs), and IDIS Direct IP [model number] cameras, with [feature set], at the heart of a comprehensive security posture, SARC monitors use IDIS’s powerful, modular, and feature-rich VMS, IDIS Solution Suite and their unique military, law enforcement, and intelligence-derived protocols and best practices to support on-site personnel and cover the campus comprehensively at night and during other off-hours. Additionally, the IDIS solution also seamlessly integrates with, recording and managing footage from other camera installations, demonstrating the IDIS dedication to eliminating the common frustrations and complexities of security systems.

Results and Benefits

Enhanced safety and security of people and property

The implementation of SARC’s virtual guard protection and protocols to support on-site personnel, and the highly visible, but seamlessly integrated, presence of IDIS surveillance cameras, as part of a total IDIS solution, have contributed to the Mesa Arts Center’s reputation as one of the region’s most welcoming and inviting community spaces among the area’s art lovers, families, and neighborhood’s workers (who regularly use the space without fear or discomfort as a gathering place for lunch or pathway to and from the local light rail station). 24/7, the integrated on-site and virtual guarding professionals identify, deter, and document threats to the campus and those within it, using innovative surveillance application bringing together IDIS’s highest quality remote viewing and VMS offerings and SARC’s remote “voice down” virtual guarding protocol, which informs those under surveillance, in real time, that they are being watched and should leave the property immediately or face consequences.

The successful implementation of this solution has placed the City of Mesa and Mesa Arts Center management at the forefront of innovation in keeping the people, places, and property under their protection safe and secure, and marked them as leaders in responsible stewardship of taxpayer, grant, and donor dollars, through the implementation of a system that provides more comprehensive coverage, measurably better outcomes, and enhanced visitor experiences 24/7, year-round for a fraction of the cost of previous manned guarding solutions.

" The powerful combination of SARC’s unique approach to virtual guarding and the comprehensive and interoperable nature of IDIS technology has allowed the City of Mesa to protect the Mesa Arts Center and those within it at a level unheard of with traditional security solutions and allowed us to achieve improved outcomes at a far lower cost, as well. This allows for more budget dollars in support of the Center’s core mission first, while preserving and improving our security posture."

Tom Naylor
Mesa Arts Center