Collective art gallery closes, vintage music center set to take its place

Indie ArtHouse closed this week, and the new owner of the space plans to turn it into a shop that sells vintage music equipment. Mods and Rockers is slated to open in late May. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

Indie ArtHouse closed its doors this week after only being in business for a little over a year, and a new tenant has already begun renting the space.

Rob Shipp, the new renter, will open a music store called Mods and Rockers at the space at 1504 Grand Ave. The store will feature vintage music equipment from the mid-1950s to late ’60s. The opening is tentatively scheduled for late May.

Shipp also wants the store to operate as a music trading center, where residents can bring in interesting equipment they have come across.

Shipp’s background inspired him to start selling vintage equipment. His merchandise are the kind of musical instruments he played while growing up and has collected during his music career.

The store’s main goal is to show music lovers items that they will never find at a Guitar Center, and it also hopes to attract people to the area.

“I have a lot of friends that own music stores, but I wanted to put a different twist on mine,” Shipp said. “Most of the stuff that I want to sell is from a different time period, and I wanted the store to be a vintage shop but have a feel that is nicer than just any old thrift store.”

Eventually, Shipp would like to add a sound stage to the store where local bands could play. He would also like to try and cater to a different music audience than his next-door neighbors at the Trunk Space.

“I think that the Trunk Space and I will complement each other nicely, but I want to feature a music scene that is older,” Shipp said. “A lot of local bands are featured at Trunk Space, but I want to have people perform that haven’t in a while and have moved away from it. I want there to be performers for the guests that they normally wouldn’t see.”

The goal of the space’s previous residents, Beatrice Moore and Tony Zahn, was to invite artists from the downtown Phoenix area to become a part of a collective, where a group of artists would help run the gallery while featuring their art throughout it.

The gallery, which opened last April, showcased different types of art, such as paintings, installation pieces, fashion collections and wood pieces, and it also had a space for local musicians to come in and perform during art expos.

The space also participated in First Fridays with the hopes of adding more members to its collective.

But being a part of a collective proved to be tough work, Zahn said. Indie ArtHouse had lost a lot of members, and eventually, it could no longer support itself.

“I think that there were 10 people who were involved with the collective, and over time, half of the members left,” said Moore. “I think that it is a huge commitment for someone to commit to working with such a large group because they all had to dedicate time to keep the collective going. The space was not like a traditional art gallery where you could just hang up your work and leave. A lot of them had to dedicate time to keep the store going.”

Shipp is optimistic about the prospects of Mods and Rockers.

“Hopefully the opening of my store will bring people to the area that haven’t yet been exposed to it,” Shipp said. “Maybe as the store grows, it will spawn into something bigger, but right now, I’m trying to sell cool equipment.”

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Correction: April 28, 2012

An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Beatrice Moore and Tony Zahn as owners of the Indie ArtHouse. Moore and Zahn own the plaza and many other properties on Grand Avenue but are not specifically affiliated with the Indie ArtHouse.