Assembly line to art space, Modified Arts fits growing downtown Phoenix

Modified Arts, downtown Phoenix (Photo: David de Young)

[Source: Janessa Hilliard, ASU State Press] — Nestled between vacant dirt lots, boutiques that resemble homes instead of stores and the always-present gas station, lies one of downtown Phoenix’s first “art houses” — Modified Arts.  With ASU’s Downtown campus just a few blocks away, the venue gears many of its events toward a student audience.  Highlights of this upcoming season at Modified Arts include performances by non-mainstream bands and local artists.

Created in 1999 by Kimber Lanning, owner of Stinkweed Records and Silver Platter, Modified Arts represents not only the potential of the downtown area to flourish into a unique environment for artists, but also how far Phoenix itself has come in the last decade.  It was never Lanning’s dream to develop a venue like Modified Arts, but rather it was an “obvious, open, gushing wound in Phoenix” that caused her to fill in the gap, she said.

Lanning and a group of volunteers renovated an abandoned warehouse and turned it into a place for artists to express themselves, Lanning said.  “We actually ended up with about six volunteers, but we only needed six,” Lanning said. “We had an assembly line of people to work on the space.”

As the building stands now, Modified Arts is essentially a large, open space that gives free creative reign to the musicians, artists and dancers who put on shows there.  “I wanted to try to provide a stepping stone where people could start up a dance troupe [or] show a film,” Lanning said. “I wanted to create a place for them to perform.”

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