Blog Archives

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


Modified Arts energizes downtown Phoenix

[Source: Sarah Spencer, Phoenix Arts and Crafts Examiner]

Modified Arts on Roosevelt Row in Phoenix is rooted in the indie spirit of Downtown Phoenix. It calls attention to the community through art shows and musical performances from all over the world. The new directors, husband-and-wife team Kim Larkin and Adam Murray, bring a fresh approach to art and performance in the downtown area.

Larkin and Murray took over Modified Arts in late 2009 from Kimber Lanning. Larkin earned an art history degree from the University of Utah and has experience running art galleries, while Murray supports the audio end of Modified with his audio engineering degree and passion for new music and media.

The freshly remodeled space opened in January 2010, and now hosts national and international art and musical shows. In order to preserve the history in the making, a new website archives past performances and interviews. Current exhibition information can also be found online:

The space will continue to shape the downtown Phoenix art scene. Says Larkin, “We want to make Modified a sophisticated contemporary arts experience with visual art, performance, and music that fits well in the space, while not taking away that raw DIY energy that exists on Roosevelt Row.”

Visit Modified Arts: 407 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ 85004 (map) or at

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Downtown Phoenix Journal weekly recap

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — The beauty of our Downtown is that it’s always evolving.  There was no greater evidence of this than the grand reopening of an old favorite, Modified Arts, this past Friday.  Packed to the brim, beautifully touched up and deliciously catered, this opening weekend was a perfect reaffirmation that there is a great sense of community in the city core.   On the other side of Downtown Phoenix, another familiar gallery, .anti_space, is planning its own grand reopening later this year.  DPJ got a sneak peek at the expansive space, and it may just change the face of the Phoenix arts scene.  Speaking of changes, now is the perfect time to visit Grand Avenue on First or Third Friday, as the Insecure Critic claims it’s Downtown’s new hip spot.  And, if you haven’t made the move Downtown just yet, now is the right time.  There are plenty of bank-owned condos with soaring views of Downtown, but they won’t last for long.

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.]

RadiatePhx event at The Lost Leaf, June 30

radiatephx[Source: Catrina Knoebl, RadiatePHX] — Join RadiatePHX in celebration of National Independents Week, June 29 through July 5.  Celebrating with us will be Local First Arizona Director, Kimber Lanning. She’ll be our guide to the week and share how we can continue to support the cause by tapping into Local First’s directory, Golden Coupons, and more.

  • Date: Tuesday, June 30
  • Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.; panel discussion will start a little after 6 p.m.
  • Place: The Lost Leaf, 914 N. 5th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Radiators will also receive $1 off the 8 p.m. Tuesday evening showing of documentary film “Malls R Us” at Modified Arts, 407 E. Roosevelt St.

Then make a night of it!  We will be gathering at The Lost Leaf for beverage refreshment so everyone can head out afterward and visit nearby independent restaurants in our own downtown.  You will be invited to forward your own brief restaurant review (“We had a terrific burger and the best margaritas!”) by the end of Independents Week and they will be posted on the RadiatePhoenix site and on for all to see.

Click here to RSVP.  For more information about RadiatePHX, click here.

View Malls R Us documentary, 6/30, downtown Phoenix


For more information, click here.

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.”

In Phoenix, an answer for chain stores and recessions

Gina Madrid, Drip Coffee Lounge

[Source: Tye Cameron, The Zonie Report] — A middle-aged man walked in just after Drip Coffee Lounge opened at 7:30 a.m.  His drink, a small double-shot café americano latte with organic low-fat milk, was already being made for him by the owner herself, Gina Madrid.  They chat briefly in a vernacular that exclusively exists between barista and regular before the local man pays in exact change and walks out.  It was just the beginning of another successful day for the Downtown Phoenix small business model.  “One of the reasons why I opened Drip was because […at chain eateries] you walk away and you feel… ill,” Madrid says as she adjusted the volume on the iPod speakers. Her independently owned cafe has a modern architectural design, and business cards of local artists and entrepreneurs line the front counter.  “When you are providing something good for yourself, that in turn spills over to the people next to you, and so on.”

Independently owned small businesses in the Downtown Phoenix historic districts have thrived in the face of an influx of corporate chains to the city because of their adaptability and willingness to work together. “When you drive down the street, you’re gonna see the Applebee’s, but you’re not gonna see the Stinkweeds right across the street, or know what it is,” says Kimber Lanning, owner of both Stinkweeds Records on Camelback Road at Central Avenue and Modified Arts, a popular music venue and art gallery on Fifth and Roosevelt streets.  Lacking the financial clout of a large corporation, local entrepreneurs say they rely on adaptable business models to contend in the Phoenix economy.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Art spaces humanize downtown says DV 2004 report

Excerpt from”Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown,” August 2004: “Downtown Phoenix has a wide spectrum of arts activities, from large non-profits like the Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix Art Museum, and Phoenix Center for the Arts to medium-sized projects such as Valley Youth Theater, Black Theater Troupe, Museo Chicano, Icehouse, and Great Arizona Puppet Theater to the multitude of small-scale, grass roots projects like Modified Arts, Thought Crime, Paulina Miller Gallery, Trunk Space, Alwun House, and Paper Heart Gallery. 

Within the context of these multiple spaces you have official arts-related non-profit institutions, independent arts-related businesses, and the artists whose works are integral to the success of both.  Many of these smaller entities help create the dynamic, street level, pedestrian-friendly infill that is so desperately needed in and around downtown.”