Metro Phoenix is home to an assortment of art galleries exhibiting works by local, national, and international artists. Most show works in a wide variety of media, and many show works by both emerging and established artists. They've all got a different feel, so whatever your interests and tastes, you'll find something that catches your fancy.
But 10 metro Phoenix galleries stand above the rest. One is a converted shipping container, and two are located in former warehouses. Another is subterranean, and one sits on the second story of a quaint retail complex. One is owned by a city, and a couple are owned by community activists. Here are our favorites.
Located in the Roosevelt Row arts district, Modified Arts was established by Kimber Lanning in 1999 as a visual and performance art space. Today, it's both an art gallery and office space for the nonprofit Local First Arizona, which Lanning founded. The gallery presents mostly local artists, but also national and international artists making contemporary art in a variety of media. Local First Arizona staff open the space Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gallery staff are onsite for First Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., for Third Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Find more information on the Modified Arts website.
Bentley Gallery at Bentley Projects
Bentley Calverley founded Bentley Gallery in Scottsdale in 1984. In 2004, she went on to open a second art space in a warehouse that she dubbed Bentley Projects. In November of 2012, the Scottsdale gallery moved to Bentley Projects, where it’s since been renovated. Bentley Gallery specializes in contemporary art, Asian antiquities, and works from the Modern era. Previous exhibitions have featured works by renowned artists Keith Haring, Chuck Close, Devorah Sperber, and Dale Chihuly — in addition to works by such local artists as Colin Chillag, Joe Willie Smith, and Denise Yaghmourian. Bentley Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Find more information on the Bentley Gallery website.
Art Intersection, founded by Alan Fitzgerald in January 2011 inside a former dance studio, specializes in the intersection of photography with other forms of artistic expression. It exhibits works by established and emerging artists, including students, in two conjoined galleries with a total of 1,670 square feet on the second floor of the Heritage Court Building in downtown Gilbert. Notable artists who've shown works at Art Intersection include David Emitt Adams, Claire A. Warden, and Lisa Robinson.
Often, you'll find additional works exhibited in its Ryan Gallery, which doubles as a conference room. Art Intersection has an additional "art for advocacy" space called Gallery 4 on the building's first floor, where it exhibits works designed to foster reflection, conversation, and community engagement with social, environmental, and cultural issues such as civil rights and homelessness. They also have a photographic lab, and offer a wide variety of classes for photographers with varying levels of experience. Art Intersection is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find more information on the Art Intersection website.
Chartreuse is located in the historic Bragg’s Pie Factory building, which the Bragg family had built in 1947. Nancy Hill, whose Hazel & Violet letterpress business is also located in this building, opened Chartreuse in September 2015. Previously, the space was home to Beatrice Moore’s Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery. Chartreuse is a cool place to see art while enjoying a bit of Phoenix history in what’s now dubbed the Grand Avenue arts district. Check out the green bike lanes, street names painted at intersections, and planters decorated by artists while you’re there. Chartreuse participates in First and Third Friday events in Phoenix. The venue presents solo and group exhibitions featuring works by artists in and beyond Arizona, which typically rotate every month. The gallery is open First and Third Fridays 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Chartreuse website.
Hot Box Gallery
The Hot Box Gallery, established in January of 2014 with funding from an ArtPlace grant, was the first of three shipping container galleries to open in Roosevelt Row. Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art programs all three galleries with solo and group exhibitions, which typically open on Third Fridays, and feature local or international artists. These galleries are slated to become part of an artist live/work space during 2016, which will include exhibition space. The galleries are open First and Third Fridays 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation website.
Lisa Sette Gallery
After decades in the downtown Scottsdale arts district, Lisa Sette Gallery moved in June 2014 to a semi-subterranean Al Beadle building in midtown Phoenix. Sette seeks out diverse artists "working on the leading edge of aesthetic, social, and conceptual investigation." She currently represents 35 established and emerging artists working in a wide variety of media, and presents several exhibitions featuring their works each season. The roster includes famed light artist James Turrell and William Wegman, best known to many for photographing his own Weimaraner dogs in various costumes and poses. Sette also represents several metro Phoenix favorites, including Rachel Bess, Angela Ellsworth, and Carrie Marill. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Find more information on the Lisa Sette Gallery website.
Inside ASU's Grant Street Studios in Phoenix's warehouse district is Step Gallery, which opened in January 2014. The gallery presents solo and group exhibitions featuring works by ASU undergraduate and graduate students. Exhibitions rotate often, so it's a cool place to pop into on a regular basis for a taste of new works by emerging artists working in several media. While you're there you can stroll halls lined with graduate student artist studios, often catching a glimpse of diverse works in progress. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Find more information on the ASU School of Art website.
Founded by Melanie and Michelle Craven, Tilt Gallery moved in November of 2014 from a bungalow along Grand Avenue in Phoenix to the downtown Scottsdale arts district. The gallery specializes in presenting traditional and contemporary photographic images created with historical techniques and alternative processes, and also has a Vintage Room where gallery-goers can explore fine art prints to vernacular photographs dating as far back as 1850. Tilt Gallery is open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday — as well as from 7 to 9 p.m. during Thursday night Scottsdale ArtWalks. Find more information on the Tilt Gallery website.
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Owned by the City of Chandler, Vision Gallery presents the works of more than 300 local and regional artists in rotating exhibitions. The gallery also features works by some artists, such as sculptor Kevin Caron, on an ongoing basis. A percentage of artwork sales helps to fund free arts education workshops in which local artists work with local youth. The nonprofit gallery also has an exhibition space at Chandler Center for the Arts. Check out the main drag in downtown Chandler while you're there to explore a fun assortment of sculpture and other public art. Vision Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find more information on the Vision Gallery website.
Art One Gallery
Art One Gallery has been representing emerging and established Arizona artists since 1993. It also represents students of Arizona universities, community colleges, and high schools. The gallery was founded by Kraig Foote, who has helped local luminaries including Brian Boner launch successful careers. Located in the downtown Scottsdale arts district, the gallery is a fun place to hang out during Thursday night Scottsdale ArtWalks, when they're open from 7 to 9 p.m. Art One is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find more information on the Art One Gallery website.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in April 2015.