Trunk Space to Reopen at Downtown Phoenix's Grace Lutheran Church

When Trunk Space owner Steph Carrico was searching for a new spot for her displaced venue, she had a wish list going of what she wanted in a location.

It had to be in downtown Phoenix, first off, and also needed sufficient parking and proximity to light rail. A unique vibe also wouldn’t hurt. Most importantly, any potential home had to allow Trunk Space’s owner and regulars the freedom to have all-ages show and pursue music and art that’s a bit outside the mainstream (read: weird).

And following a five-month search, she got everything she wanted, and then some.

Earlier today, Carrico announced that Trunk Space is relocating to a building on the grounds of Grace Lutheran Church, an 88-year-old house of worship at Third and Moreland streets in downtown Phoenix that met all of her criteria.

A 1,600-square-foot property located in the church’s south building will serve as Trunk Space’s new home – and it’s a vast improvement over the venue’s original location along Grand Avenue, which Carrico departed back in May after 12 years.

Not only is it bigger and features a larger stage, it's blocks away from both a light rail stop and the hullabaloo of Roosevelt Row, and features 100 parking spots.


“If you had said a year ago that we'd be moving into a space on the property of a church,” Carrico says, “I would have thought you were crazy.”

The space also boasts a kitchen, two bathrooms, spaces for a green room and office, and rooms that Carrico hopes can serve as workshops or studios for local artists, musicians, or groups like Girls Rock.

And since it's an active and thriving church that's on the National Register of Historic Places, the church is immune to the massive redevelopment that's been transforming Roosevelt Row and the surrounding neighborhoods over the last several years.

"We're sort of right in the path of gentrification," Carrico says. "But this place isn't about to be get bulldozed.”

Plus, despite recent improvements, Grand Avenue has a bit of a dodgy reputation, which Carrico says concerned the parents of some of their teenage patrons.

“Even in the end, we had trouble with parents that didn't want their kids go to Grand Avenue,” she says. “Whereas parents aren't going to think twice about them going to Roosevelt.”

And to a church, no less.

Best of all, she adds, Grace Lutheran Church’s pastor and congregation are both progressive-minded and are tolerant of the sort of experimental, eclectic, and outsider art and music that’s become a hallmark of Trunk Space and its all-ages shows. Ditto for the throng of art kids, colorful misfits, and lovable weirdos that the venue has attracted since it first opened in 2004.

“They've been super cool about it. They seem really happy to have us,” she says.

And Carrico definitely plans to keep the venue just as unusual and eclectic as always.

"The weirder, the better," she says.

Trunk Space’s new location came about after Carrico tapped the church to host a few of the many pop-up concerts she’s been putting on since the venue left Grand Avenue. Sarah Stadler, the pastor at Grace Lutheran, seemed receptive and eventually mentioned that they had a vacant space that Trunk Space could use for pop-up events for the time being.

Carrico had a better idea.

"They'd said we could use the spot until they found someone to rent it,” she says. “So we were like, ‘Would you consider renting it to us?’”

Currently, Carrico hopes to have Trunk Space up and running at its new location in just over a month and plans to continue doing pop-up events after that point.

Ultimately, she feels like her venue is a perfect fit for the church.

"Yeah, I feel like it was meant to be."
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.