Blog Archives

An evening of “Urban Is” with Vital Voices

Vital Voices Urban eventConsider coming to support Vital Voices as we explore “Urban is” with Bboy House at the Cyphers Center for Urban Arts, Thursday, August 15.  The Herberger Institute’s Socially Engaged Practice is teaming up with Project Humanities this year to help design these participatory, thought-provoking evenings of community dialogue.

Events are free and refreshments are provided.

Shapeshifters, A New Collaboration at Downtown Phoenix’s Modifeid Arts

Shapeshifters: Ingrid Restemayer & Christy Puetz

January 21st-February 12th, 2010

Christy Puetz, Shapeshifters

In an exciting new collaboration at Modified Arts, artists Ingrid Restemayer and Christy Puetz explore issues of implied symbolism, identity and self in the exhibition Shapeshifters. Through the stimulating interaction of Ingrid’s mixed media stitching and Christy’s meticulously beaded sculptural installation, the artists express the human nature to assign meaning and assume roles. Together the work creates a delightful, yet paradoxical, atmosphere alluding to the artists’ experiences of changing from one self to another and adapting to culture and context.

The common found objects in Ingrid’s intimately-scaled mixed-media pieces are ensnared and preserved in delicate hand-embroidered environments. The artist says of the work, “Drink swords, pushpins, bits of pop culture and the flotsam of everyday life are transformed in meaning or symbolism when I combine them with hand-stitching–changing their physical or implied contexts.” Each object alternately seems held in captive surrender or active rebellion to its threaded restraints.

Christy’s beaded taxidermy animal forms blend pristine white surfaces with erupting colors, elaborate patterns and organic shapes. The work subtly addresses the issues of the different faces we each put forth given our current surroundings, as well as the eventual effect these transformations have on who we become as a whole—a conglomeration of parts of different creatures. Positioned in a mythical environment inspired by the Greek tale of the Three Fates, each form is transformed into a creature—a creature not yet in full existence, but in the process of changing form, color, and purpose.

Ingrid and Christy earned their BFAs in Fiber Arts together at the University of North Dakota in the 1990s. Ingrid resides in Minneapolis, where she focuses her efforts in printmaking and fibers. Her work often features intricate etchings collaged with fine papers, the surface finished with hand-stitched embroidery. Christy lives and works in Phoenix. She has spent more than a decade developing her fiber art and beading techniques and exhibits her work extensively.



Opening Reception: Third Friday January 21st, 6-9pm
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturdays, 12-6pm, First Friday 6-9pm


“Cartography and the Cultural Terrain III” Exhibit at Downtown Phoenix ‘s Burton Barr Library

[Source: Phoenix Public Library]

Phoenix Public Library Exhibits “Cartography and the Cultural Terrain III” by Deborah Springstead Ford

"OM" Silver gelatin print, 12" x 12" © 2008/9 Deborah Springstead Ford

Burton Barr Central Library will host an exhibit by Deborah Springstead Ford, titled “Cartography and the Cultural Terrain III,” Jan. 12 – March 20 at the library’s @Central Gallery, 1221 N. Central Ave.

In this body of work, Ford combines photographic images of landscapes and geological forms with historic maps and text to explore the ideas surrounding westward expansion, colonialism and the search for natural resources.

Ford uses photography to engage viewers with issues of the environment and our relationship to it.  Her images are often altered in the camera or in the darkroom, using various photographic techniques, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces.

"Shoshone" Silver gelatin print, 12" x 12" © 2009 Deborah Springstead Ford


Phoenix Public Library is a system of 15 branch libraries and the Burton Barr Central Library.  For more information, call 602-262-4636 or visit  Follow them on Twitter at


“A Bunch of Crock: Politics, Pundits and Minorities” debuts Friday

This Friday, come check out one of the more unique art exhibits to hit the Valley this year. Phoenix designer/filmmaker Safwat Saleem is debuting A Bunch of Crock on Friday, December 3, 2010 at Bragg’s Pie Factory in downtown Phoenix. Doors open at 6pm and the event will probably go on until 9:30pm.

The exhibit consists of a poster show, and several satirical and over-the-top audio/video installations.

From the artist:

A Bunch of Crock is an art exhibit about the absurdities of political campaigns and the unfortunate role of minorities. Filtering through various political messages in this election year, the common thread seems to be this: 1) politicians and pundits think the general population is too stupid to tell fact from fiction and 2) promoting fear of minorities is good politics.

Using satire and good old-fashioned profanity, this exhibit attempts to bypass the spin and tell the audience what the politicians and pundits actually mean, and how they portray minorities to promote fear and manufacture outrage.

What makes this exhibit unique is that was funded through Kickstarter, a microfunding platform for creative projects. Over 40 donors pledged between $12 and $100 dollars to produce the gallery exhibit which consists of printing large format posters, producing stickers, buttons, postcards and signage, renting audio and video equipment (projectors, screens, speakers, etc) and renting tables and chairs. While the first Friday show has been funded, additional funds are still being sought for rental of a/v equipment for future shows, including a planned third Friday date (Dec 17, 6:30 to 10:00pm)

Safwat’s video submission to Kickstarter explaining the concept and premise for the project can be found HERE.

NOTE: Both the video and website contain profane text.

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Help launch 26 Blocks iPad App featuring Downtown Phoenix

By now, most readers have probably heard about the 26 Blocks exhibit that been making its way around town (and is now being shown at CityScape,  if you haven’t you can find out more about the project here:

Basically it is a multi media exhibit featuring 26 of Phoenix’s best photographers,  26 of Phoenix best writers and 26 downtown Phoenix city blocks along with 1 of the city’s best sculptors.

Buoyed by the success of their exhibit, the 26 Blocks team is taking the project to the next level. On First Friday December 3rd, they are launching a FREE iPad application of 26 Blocks at CityScape. This free, all ages event will feature a street party, live music featuring Mr. Meeble, live art feature Dumperfoo, a beer garden benefit Ear Candy Charity and a iPad raffle!

To help cover the costs of the launch, 26 Block is seeking support from the community.  They are looking to collect 300 donations of $26 each for the 26 Blocks iPad App Launch party before midnight, this coming Friday. In return, 26 Blocks will put every donor name on the iPad App. if they receive 400 donations, they will include a link from your name on the iPad app to your website!  It’s 100% tax-free and you can gift a friend’s name.

If they collect 299 donations or less, your $26 donation will still enjoys 100% tax-free status & you will still get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing your $26 is making the 26 Blocks free music & art celebration for Phoenix possible… but no names will be on the  iPad app.

If you can’t make a donation, no worries; you can still come out and celebrate the launch of the app on Friday night!


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Get Crafty in Central Phoenix

[Source: Scoopfactory]

Calling All Crafters

Wanna be one of 35 local artist selling handmade goods at Frances Vintage’s ‘Crafeteria’? Details ahead

If you’ve never been to the Central Phoenix boutique, Frances, and the neighboring candy store, Smeeks, you’re missing out on two of the Valley’s most charming, stylish spaces. No seriously, we dare you to walk inside Smeeks’ candy-colored space—brimming with old school sweets and retro delights such as ‘Twinkie the Kid‘ lunch pails—and not squeal like a school kid. And now Frances is inviting local crafters to join the fun as it hosts its fifth annual “Crafeteria” on December 3.

Voted “Best Indie Craft Fair” by the Phx New Times, this annual holiday open house will feature 35 of the Valley’s most talented independent artists. Working with paper goods, knitted items, sewn fabrics and more, the only requirement is that everything is 100 percent handmade, no exceptions. There will also be live music sponsored by the indie record shop, Stinkweeds, and handmade treats at the Smeeks “Sweets Alley.”

Most important, this Crafeteria is open to all local artists, with the 35 spots to be filled by a panel of judges. There’s no fee to enter, but all applicants must submit photos, a description and a bio, as well as agree to donate at least one item for a prize giveaway. Click here to get all the deets, and good luck. Meanwhile, to learn more about Frances and Smeeks, as well as see a full slideshow, click here to read a Q&A with owner, Georganne Bryant.

Crafty on Central: 10 W. Camelback Rd., 602-279-5463

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Phoenix Community Alliance Helps 26 Blocks Go Virtual

[Source: Phoenix Community Alliance]
PCA Helps 26 Blocks Go Virtual

26 Blocks was created by Joey Robert Parks, a local ghostwriter who was tired of the bad reputation Phoenix holds for many people inside and outside Arizona. Parks says comparing Phoenix to other big cities like Portland, Seattle or New York City, is like comparing your wife or girlfriend to another woman.

“You’d never tell your wife she’s beautiful, but not as pretty or exciting to be around as some other woman. A big part of 26 Blocks is showing people how awesome and unique Phoenix is in its own right,” says Parks.

Like the 26 alphabet blocks a child uses to stack or build words at playtime, Parks chose 26 city blocks as the foundation of the exhibit. 26 Blocks features 26 of the most celebrated photographers in Phoenix, 26 of the most talented writers in Phoenix and one of the best sculptor/painters in Phoenix.

Read More

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Burton Barr Library Issues Call For Artists For 2011

[Source: City of Phoenix Public Information Office]

Photo credit: all in green on Flickr

Burton Barr Central Library is seeking submissions from artists for exhibition in 2011 in its @Central Gallery, located on the first floor at 1221 N. Central Ave.  Proposals will be accepted from artists residing in Arizona, 18 years or older, and not currently represented by a gallery.

Artists may submit up to 10 images on CD following the prospectus instructions.  Works previously exhibited in @Central Gallery and artists who have had a solo exhibition at the library in the past two years are not eligible for consideration.

The submission fee is $15.  Submissions must be postmarked or hand-delivered by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15.

For a prospectus and submission form, visit or send an e-mail to

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Immigration Law Inspires Downtown Phoenix Exhibit


The flag of Arizona, skeletons and the Statue of Liberty are just some of the images evoked by a group of artists to give life to their views on Arizona’s new immigration law.

The collection of prints, sculptures, paintings and photographs are featured in the traveling exhibit, “SB1070: An Artist’s Point of View,” which opened at the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center in Phoenix the weekend before the law took effect on July 29.

The show will move to galleries throughout Arizona and across the country in an effort to educate the public on how artists from the state that has become ground zero in the immigration debate perceive the matter, said the show’s organizer.

“This educational exhibit was born from the thought that there has to be a different way of reaching people’s hearts on this issue,” said Annie Loyd, founder and CEO of The FUSION Foundation, which organized the exhibit in collaboration with the cultural center.

“This show is not a protest show,” she said. “This was truly meant to be something that evokes people’s emotions, that allows you to work your way into the art and really consider what’s going on.”

The show took shape quickly after its conceptualization in a marketing meeting in early June. A call to artists in Arizona for contributions was quickly met with more submissions than the show could hold, prompting its organizers to rotate pieces each time the show moves to a new space.

In their works, the artists bring their personal history and experiences with immigration in Arizona — a divisive issue in the border state long before SB1070 brought it under the national microscope.

“My mother was undocumented, my father born in Texas, and she feared immigration all her life, even after she became a citizen,” said Martin Moreno, whose painting, Born in the USA, depicts the wake of a son of a Mexican-born wife and American husband.

“She never went back to Mexico, and that same scenario has played over thousands of times. Even today, my son is in the same situation. He is a citizen and my daughter-in-law is undocumented. History repeats itself,” he said.

Moreno describes his piece as “a portrait of a family sharing two cultures,” with the father in his National Guardsman uniform, and the mother in traditional Mexican garb, lighting a candle of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

“The piece tries to address that many couples have a foot in two worlds,” he said, “and that hasn’t changed in my lifetime.”

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Changes in management, direction afoot at downtown Phoenix’s Modified Arts

Modified Arts, Phoenix (Photo credit: kontaktmag)

[Source: Martin Cizmar, Phoenix New Times] — Kimber Lanning, the prominent Phoenix record store owner turned community activist, has released a statement saying she plans to step away from her Roosevelt Row gallery/venue, Modified Arts.  Lanning has become more and more involved in big-time community planning issues in recent years and says she plans to retain ownership of the building, but will put a husband and wife team of Kim Larkin and Adam Murray in charge of the to-be-renovated gallery.

Here’s the really bad news: “[T]he big, indie rock shows you’ve come to know and love at Modified will have to find another home.  The programming will be changing to better accommodate a gallery, so the slant will be more experimental and progressive.”  Modified Arts as it exists now will close the second weekend in December and re-open with a new look in late January.  Uh-oh.  As the space — just for starters — employs the best bouncer in Phoenix and housed the best little show of the year, there’s good reason to wonder just how big of a disaster this will be for the Phoenix music scene.

[Note: Read the full article, Kimber Lanning’s full statement, and online comments at Changes in management, direction afoot at downtown Phoenix’s Modified Arts.]