Modified Arts is a venue and an art gallery on the Southeast corner of 5th Street and Roosevelt Road in downtown Phoenix.
Most venues only do things on Friday and Saturday night, but Modified packs in the people every day of the week. They have independent film screenings, local and national bands, and art exhibits, to name a few things. There is so much going on there that you really have to check their calendar to know when to go.
Modified Arts is owned by Kimber Lanning, who also owns Stinkweeds music store at the Northwest corner of Central and Camelback Road. Kimber is devoted to local arts and music, and has been active in the arts community for over ten years.
In Modified, she has a space that can be transformed into anything. It can be a spot for a dance recital, but it can also host an art show or a metal band. It’s worth dropping by to pick up a calendar. Kimber’s wonderful employees keep lot of monthly events calendars handy. That way, you always know what’s going on when you have a night free.
The Alwun House is at 12th Street and Roosevelt in Downtown Phoenix. The house is a four-corner bungalow design from the early 1900’s. It’s a neat house, but it also serves as an art gallery and a venue. The Alwun House hosts lots of events from fall to spring, although they don’t do much in the summer. Events are mostly out in the gardens, although the gallery is inside. A cash bar in generally set up near a beautiful coy pond and there are generally two stages on the east and west side of the backyard.
If you go to the Alwun House for an event, expect mature content. The Alwun House welcomes people 21 and over for events, and all ages for daytime gallery hours. But just because it’s all ages, doesn’t mean you should bring your kids. The Alwun House is proud of the fact that they use their right to free speech, and they sometimes allow adult-oriented art in.
I would certainly recommend a trip to the house in the spring to see the gardens in bloom. Even if art and music aren’t right up your alley, the gardens are magnificent. It’s amazing such lush plants can grow in the desert.
The Paisley Violin is an art space at 1030 NW Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix. There are a lot of neat little art spaces downtown, but this one has good cookies. From tasty food to awesome Chai Tea, this space could certainly be called a restaurant. However, it’s much more than that. Some places are a work of art, and The Paisley Violin definitely fits that description. Renovated by the owner Eric and his friends, the counters are brushed steal with wood trim. The ceiling beams are left exposed, with things suspended in them like an old violin. From the floor to the fish tank, everything was done with the help of customers and friends.
“The reason why it is what it is, I have to say, is because of the individuals,” said Courtney Smith, a Mesa resident who provides security for the Paisley Violin on First Fridays.
There is a feeling of community among downtown Phoenix businesses that is much different from the competitive feel of other cultural hot spots like Mill Avenue. The galleries on The First Friday Art Walk and venue owners downtown are more willing to cross-promote, even if it might mean customers going elsewhere for the night. There are flyers for events at other venues on the counter at The Paisley Violin, and no one minds a bit. This sense of community and friendship seems built into the walls at The Paisley Violin, where local artists and musicians perform, and where local residents hang out.
The stage is small. It’s hardly big enough for a three piece band. But then, there are lots of local artists who perform solo, like Alden Powers, who performs alone with his guitar. There are plenty of large stages near by, so The Paisley fills its own niche with a space for smaller ensembles.
I definitely recommend a trip to The Paisley Violin. It’s a little crowded on a First Friday, so drop by during the week when you have time to enjoy a sandwich and check out the construction of this unique art space.