Why "Old Arizona"?
The original business located within Old Arizona's walls was called Twin City Scenic Company. Operating from 1895-1979, this historic scenic studio created theatrical products for Vaudeville and a variety of theatre productions, opera houses, fraternal organizations, educational auditoriums, civic events, and commercial venues. A fire in 1980 brought an end to the first chapter. Arizona Scenic, a company comprised of scenic painters from Arizona, rented a portion of the building in the early 80's and provided the television and film industry with backdrops and props until they filed bankruptcy and closed the doors. The building was abandoned, slid into advanced stages of disrepair and was referred to as that "old Arizona studio"... thus it's name.
And so it began...
Current owners Darcy Knight and Elizabeth Trumble purchased the building and began repairs. Both founders of Old Arizona have a background in film and theater... Darcy as a professional makeup artist, Elizabeth on the production side. Together they have numerous years of experience and a strong affinity for the arts. Darcy and Elizabeth have been a part of this neighborhood for over two decades, long before "Eat Street." They have a heartfelt commitment to the community.
In 1987, the storefront operated as an independent bookstore devoted to the Divine feminine and gradually transitioned into a tea shop and chocolate lounge. Never losing sight of its spiritual roots it became a source for an amazing variety of spiritual art, enlightened apparel and inspirational accessories to help heal, raise the consciousness of your surroundings, and express your spirituality in a hip creative way. In 1992, Knight and Trumble cut through the wall of a garage attached to the main building and created a doorway between the two spaces. Initially, the space, which is now the café, was used as a lunchroom for the many film crews and photographers that once used the main stage for commercial production. In short order the space was brought up to code and in 1993 the café opened to the public. In 2005, Knight and Trumble acquired their beer and wine license and have since referred to the space as Old Arizona's Cafe & Wine Bar.
The main stage was used as a production studio for television and film from the mid 80's until 2002 when Knight and Trumble acquired a theater license and transformed the space into a center for performing and media arts.
A nonprofit for 20 years...
After witnessing the unhealthy behavior of the youth frequenting their corner Knight and Trumble realized the need for positive activities to engage the youth in the neighborhood and in 1993, founded Old Arizona Collaborative as a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization established to help young women sustain the clarity, voice and self-confidence they risk losing during the challenging transition from adolescence to adulthood. They donated 100% of the profits to provide free arts classes to inner city teen girls in an effort to bridge the gap during unsupervised out-of-school time, when many crimes and unhealthy teen behaviors occur. Unfortunately, after twenty years of service, funding cuts and scarce donations, Knight and Trumble made the tough decision to dissolve the organization but continue to operate the theater and retail venues.
In its "hey day" as a production studio, Old Arizona was the go to place to film rock videos, television commercials and scenes from various movies shot in the Midwest. Prince, Paula Abdul, Toni Braxton, Sinead O'Connor, Linda Eder, Lori Line, Johnny Lang, Boys to Men, the Steeles, Kevin Garnett, Rosie Perez, Marisa Tomai, Christian Slater, Italian suspense film maker Dario Argento, and so, so many more, used the space for rehearsal, filming, or to party.