Trunk Space Is Leaving Its Grand Avenue Location in May

Major changes are afoot along Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix. New businesses and art spaces — such as Tuft and Needle’s new showroom and galleries like Unexpected Art — have been debuting along the thoroughfare the past several months, helping to bring a new life and energy to the area.

It hasn’t all been good news, however, as a couple of places – including Monique Sanderson’s Creation Station – have exited the Grand Avenue scene over the last year. And word broke earlier this evening that the much-beloved all-ages music venue and art gallery the Trunk Space will be departing Grand for a new location a few months from now.

Steph Carrico, the venue’s co-owner, announced on her personal Facebook on Sunday night that the Trunk Space will leave its longtime home on Grand Avenue near 15th Avenue and Roosevelt Street after 12 years and will head for a new location. It’s shocking news to say the least and (from what we hear) is likely due to the rising costs of running the spot and other factors.

Here is what Carrico posted on Facebook regarding the move:

Dear friends,

After 12 amazing years at the 1506 NW Grand Avenue location Trunk Space is doing some restructuring and leaving it’s current location in May. We are working on the paperwork to turn Trunk Space non-profit and are currently looking for a new location. My hope is these changes will make Trunk Space more long term sustainable as I think having a space for people of all ages to be able to share their creative ideas is so important.

Trunk Space would not have lasted for 12 years if it wasn’t for all of you who have supported it. It’s just an empty room without you and you all make it the special magic place it is. I truly believe that the Trunk Space family together has made Phoenix a better place.

If you have any leads on a lawyer that can look over the nonprofit paperwork or on a building with reasonable rent please let me know.
While Carrico doesn’t give specifics as to why the venue will be moving to a new home, there has been a number of (unconfirmed) rumors that it's due to the rent being raised and an increase in the costs involved with running the venue.

Carrico and co-owner JRC first opened Trunk Space at the location in 2004 two doors down from legendary Grand Avenue dive Bikini Lounge and has weathered many ups and downs over the years, including the sweltering summertime heat that often turned the space into a sauna before it got air conditioning a couple of years ago. In addition to the usual drama of running a live music venue, it has survived spats with neighboring residents, money crunches, the rise and fall of the arts scene along Grand, the closing of other music venues like The Paper Heart, and the ever-changing tastes in local music.

The past couple of years have brought good and bad news alike to the venue. In 2014, the Trunk Space celebrated its 10th anniversary and was also able to raise more than $15,000 (including a last-minute donation of $1,000 from famed indie duo Matt and Kim) to purchase and install the aforementioned air conditioning. Shortly thereafter, however, JRC stepped away from day-to-day operations at the venue while remaining a co-owner of the venue and helping train new staff now and again.

The all-ages venue has been both a hub for live music and a talent incubator during its tenure on Grand Avenue, as countless local bands and burgeoning musicians have gotten their start performing at the Trunk Space — including such notable acts as AJJ, Fathers Day, and Treasure MammaL – not to mention the hundreds of touring bands that have paid a visit over the past 12 years.

And although the Trunk Space hopefully will live on in a new home, provided Carrico and the venue’s staff find a suitable location, the loss of one of Grand Avenue’s mainstays of art, music, and culture is nonetheless a saddening prospect. 

Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original publication.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.