CASA GRANDE — A group of area artists plan to give the Casa Grande Art Museum a makeover and they’re turning to crowdfunding and social media to raise the money.

“We want people to see our vision of the art museum and what a magical place it can be for the community,” said Leah Kiser, an area artist and president of the Casa Grande Art Association.

Artists with the Casa Grande Art Association have started a fundraising campaign for the museum and have a list of beautification projects they’d like to complete to modernize and update the building and the property.

“The art association is a group of artists who support arts in the community and they understand the value of the art museum,” Kiser said. “It’s the only venue we have in Casa Grande for the visual arts.”

The Casa Grande Art Museum is housed in a historic building on Third Street downtown. The building was constructed in 1929 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It hosts regular art exhibits in the winter and is home to a sculpture garden.

But the building has not had an exterior paint job done in about 25 years and is in need of new windows and updates.

Plans to spruce up the building begin with giving it a fresh coat of exterior paint.

“Painting of the building should happen this fall if we raise enough funds,” Kiser said.

New landscaping will be coordinated with area master gardeners and includes new plants and trees, irrigation, fresh gravel and construction of a backyard patio for events.

A new steel fence with stained glass details will replace the current chain-link fence. Dubbed the “Stained Glass Sunburst Fence,” the barrier was the idea of artist and welder Stan Balka. It is designed by Kiser and will be built by welding students at Central Arizona College who are donating their labor.

Design work for the fence was done over the summer and the schematics were submitted to the city and the Historic Preservation Commission for permits, Kiser said.

Museum board member Jeannette Rhodes donated the money for the fencing material.

A community mosaic and mural is planned for the museum’s backyard. It’s being coordinated between art educator Lisa Swanson and artist Patti Kramer. The mosaic will be painted on the back side of the museum’s garden hut sometime in September.

The group is using the crowdfunding site Go Fund Me to kickstart fundraising and various events are planned to increase community involvement.

A new “lend a hand” fundraiser is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon in which visitors to the museum can trace their hand in clay and decorate it. The clay hands will be installed on the new “lend a hand wall” and displayed for several years.

People may sign up in advance for the event through

Other upcoming fundraising events include:

  • Flowers that Pop, Oct. 20, 9 a.m. to noon, in which for a $10 donation, attendees may make whimsical flowers from cans.
  • Leave your Mark, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to noon. Attendees will make personal clay petroglyphs. Admission is a $10 donation.
  • The Artsy Yard Tour, March 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a garden tour with an emphasis on the new artistic embellishments. Admission is a $10 donation.

The Casa Grande Art Museum opens for the season in November. With a mission of making art accessible to all, there is no charge to visit the art museum exhibits but donations are accepted.

As well as raising money, Kiser said she hopes to see membership at the museum increase.

The fundraising drive offers different rewards for various donation levels beginning at $25.

A one-year membership to the museum is $30. Sponsorship opportunities range from a $50 plant sponsorship to pavers, trees and a $400 corporate sponsorship.

With a whole team of artists and supporters already onboard, Kiser hopes community pride in the museum and a desire to help catch on.

“It is a whole team volunteering their skills to make this partnership as great as it can be,” she said.

Some of the other community members donating time or talent to the project include artist Bob Spille, CAC welding instructor Richard Santasiero, designer Lynn Swanson, business owner Roy Mejia, artist and landscape architect Larry Patterson, artist Cindy Patterson, Linda and Gene Irvin, and Bruce Berry.

Those who wish to help may visit the Casa Grande Art Museum Go Fund Me campaign page at