Best Downtown Arts Venue That's Not Downtown - 2008
Chyro Arts Venue - CLOSED
Four artists. One dream. No money. Yeah, right.
But when the foursome of Joy Leveen, Amanda Nichols, Michael Peck, and Tom Leveen decided to pool their meager resources and invest in this bootstrap arts project, something strange happened. It worked.
Chyro is an organic outgrowth of Is What It Is Theatre, the entity that utilized this space in south Scottsdale's Papago Plaza before Chyro's opening in the summer of '07. Is What It Is was successful enough by grassroots-theater standards, but opening the space 30 to 35 times a year for performances just didn't cut it for the artistic do-gooders (who all work full-time gigs in addition to whatever hours they put in at Chyro).
To better serve an art-starved constituency, they now prop the doors open about four days a week, on average, and take a kitchen-sink approach to programming. (Think Trunk Space, but less kooky and more earnest.) The Is What It Is troupe has morphed into Voice Theatre, which mounts four full-scale productions every year, complementing other fare such as the Microcinema Mondays series (which features non-mainstream screeners drawn from a collaboration with the Phoenix Film Festival), art exhibits, poetry readings and slams, and a hardcore commitment to showcasing local music at least two nights a week.