Ten years ago, any place on Grand Avenue was rotting somewhere between a crack house and a whorehouse. The downtown pocket's metamorphosis from seedy street to ultra-hip arts district has been slow but sweet, thanks largely to First Fridays and the community of artists who have moved into the area, transforming abandoned warehouses into groovy galleries and studio spaces like the Trunk Space, which JRC and Stephanie Carrico opened last year at 1506 Grand Avenue. To celebrate their one-year anniversary on Friday, April 29, the duo's throwing a free party. "It's going to be a mellow night," says Carrico. "It's our way of saying 'thank you,' because we couldn't have done it without support." A ragtime music recital on a 100-year-old upright piano sets the mood, and chef Mario Etsitty sets the table, serving up hors d'oeuvres and root beer floats. Students of Steve Gompf shall deck the walls with art. Visit www.thetrunkspace.com or call 602-256-6006. --Niki D'Andrea
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Celebrating a decade in the stacks
People who work in glass libraries don't throw stones; they throw art parties. The folks at Burton Barr Central Library's @Central Gallery, 1221 North Central, will celebrate the library's 10th anniversary with an exhibition called "Ten," opening on Sunday, May 1, and featuring the work of 10 artists, including children's book illustrator Lynne Avril, ArtOne Gallery director Steve Hofberger, and landscape artist Merrill Mahaffey. Works by Brent Bond, Diana Clauss, Thuong Nguyen, Joe Willie Smith, Lisa Takata and others will also be on display. A free reception is planned for May 6 at 7 p.m. Call 602-256-3521. -- Niki D'Andrea
Alternative energy fuels festival
Looks like it's gonna be another gas-gouging summer in the 'Nix. Anybody driving anything bigger and faster than a four-banger better check out some alternatives (no, we don't mean siphoning) before a gallon of gas costs as much as a pack of cigarettes. Luckily, there will be alternatives aplenty at the Sun Festival Southwest, taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. The festival features more than 200 exhibitors and 50 workshops, designed to demonstrate renewable energy and healthy desert living. Wendie Malick (from TV's Just Shoot Me) and Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere) are among the keynote speakers. Entertainment includes the William Eaton Ensemble, Meadowlark, Scott Beck, Ben Jamin', and Native American hoop dancer Tony Redhouse. Tickets cost $5 to $14. Visit www.sunfestival.net. -- Niki D'Andrea