Culture News

Former Chyro Owner Announces Plans for New Tempe Arts Venue

When Chyro Arts closed last year, it left a big, gaping void in the Tempe/Scottsdale indie performing arts scene. The Fixx, a new coffee house slash concert venue in the old e-Joy spot at 7th Street and Mill Avenue, will help to fill the gap -- but we don't exactly see live theater or independent films playing there.

Good thing The Fixx will soon have company.

Two weeks ago, former Chyro Arts co-owner Michael Peck signed a five-year lease for a new arts venue in the Cornerstone Mall at University and Rural Rd. in Tempe.

His new Venue 104 will host local and national bands, spoken word and in-house theatrical productions. Peck's currently seeking a Phoenix-based muralist or graffiti artist to add some color to the walls, and local art will be showcased in the coffeehouse portion of the space. 

The actor-turned-entrepreneur says he's been ruminating on the idea of a new performance space ever since the last one folded.

"When we closed Chyro, it was very bittersweet," he says. "I was sad to see it go because of what it was, and how hard we worked to get there. At the same time, we really had tapped it out with the resources we had."

This time around, he isn't skimping on the details. Venue 104's building plan is impressive. The former Hollywood Video and Radio Shack locations will be divided by the building owners into several retail spaces and Venue 104 will occupy the portion closest to the Improv comedy club.

Approximately 5,600 square foot space will include a coffee bar, 20-by-20-foot soundproofed rehearsal room for bands, and separate performance space in the back, with removable seating and tables. Expect an industrial look with corrugated metal and polished concrete floors.

Peck's currently applying for a liquor license so that overage patrons can enjoy some libations with their music. Alcohol will only be served during events, at a 21-and-over area in the back of the theater.

Venue 104 will operate as a coffeehouse from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with events in the evening. When the theatrical space isn't rented out to private parties during the day, Peck is considering running old black-and-white films that patrons can enjoy while sipping their lattes.

The venue is expected to open early this summer; artists interested in splashing their talents over Venue 104's walls should submit portfolios to [email protected]     

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden