Kim Larkin to Leave Modified Arts in June

Come this fall, downtown Phoenix might lose another contemporary art space -- Modified Arts Director Kim Larkin says she'll be leaving the gallery on Roosevelt Row at the end of June.

Larkin's been coordinating and curating contemporary art exhibitions at Modified since community activist Kimber Lanning (who still owns the building) handed over the keys in January 2010.

Lanning opened Modified in 1999 as an all-ages live
music venue and gallery, but decided to step down as director last year to focus more on her efforts in community

The new ownership and and arts-heavy re-envisioning was a sore subject for many local music fans who still remember the Modified's grungy feel, infamous green room, and chaotic concert flier board. 

But the building was falling apart, and when Lanning and community volunteers refurbished the exterior, revamped the interior, and promised to keep smaller live music and performance gigs on the schedule, debate subsided.

In 2010 and 2011 Modified has mainly played host to the visual arts. The current exhibition by Melinda Bergman followed a solo show by Jen Urso, and before that, an Art Detour exhibition by Jon Haddock and Laerte Ramos, curated and sponsored by phICA.

Larkin featured local and national work, including Converging Trajectories, Shapeshifters, What Goes on and What Takes Place, and solo shows by Saskia Jorda, and Brent Bond, to name a few. Speaking events, film, and performances took an expected back seat.

You can blame the bad economy, or crappy air conditioning for the recent director exits at Scottsdale's Squeeze and Roosevelt Row's Pravus, but Larkin insists she's just ready to move on.

Post-June, she says she'll definitely stay involved with the Downtown arts scene. She's currently vice president of Roosevelt Row CDC, she'll be helping local artist Matt Moore with his current Digital Farm Collective, and she'll be working on a few independent curating gigs. 

The future of the space is a little less certain.

Lanning writes that she and Larkin will work together on short-term summer programming with a few local artists, and that she's sure the next phase will be "another great step in the evolution, not only of Modified, but of the entire Roosevelt Row neighborhood."

Bergman's show, Not a cloud in the sky: A meditation on the life ideal will be open through June 18 during regular gallery hours, Thursday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.. On June's First and Third Friday, Modified Arts will be open from 6 to 9 p.m..

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