Transitions Art Gallery at the Skatepark of Tampa might close by July
Is one of Tampa’s top DIY venues shutting down?
That’s the word going around at the Skatepark of Tampa, which could see its black-box concert space, Transitions Art Gallery, shut down by July.
Skatepark owner Brian Schaefer said in an email that the company that owns the land leased by the Skatepark, “are working through some growing changes and challenges” with the space, which in recent years has also been called Epic Problem.
“They have the space through July, and we’re trying to see what we can do to extend it,” Schaefer said. “The space may be used for something else; it’s undetermined at the moment.”
Schaefer said he’d like to find space at the Skatepark for a music venue. “We’re doing everything we can to open up our space, because we have enough space that there can be a temporary venue, or maybe room for a permanent venue to maybe enhance what they’ve been doing.”
Transitions opened in the mid-2000s and quickly established itself as a hangout for local punk bands and national touring acts like Matt and Kim, the Gaslight Anthem, Waxahatchee, Joyce Manor, Harry and the Potters and the Evens, featuring Minor Threat and Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye. In the years before Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, Tampa’s annual precursor to Gainesville’s punk gathering known as Fest, the venue would host its own two-day mini-fests with more than a dozen bands on the bill.
In 2012, original manager Matt Welch handed the reins over to local musician Matt Ostraco, who has played in Tampa bands like Career and Criminal Cuture. It got a fresh coat of purple pain tand a new name in Epic Problem. More recently, it was repainted red and reverted to its original name.
On Tuesday, Transitions fans launched a Change.org petition in response to rumors that Transitions be replaced by a coffee shop (a rumor Schaefer declined to address, saying only that all plans now are tentative).
“The name alone is known throughout the national DIY music scene,” the petition reads. “And here in Tampa, we are lucky enough to call it a home. A home for aspiring new bands. A home for the kids who need a place to be themselves. A home where we can all come together, and have a great time. ... This place is so much more than a venue to us. We are heavily encouraging, even begging, for the Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT) to keep Transitions alive. Don’t take away our home.”
There are currently a handful of concerts on the books for Transitions this summer, including Blood on the Dancefloor on July 8, Rookie of the Year on July 15 and I Set My Friends On Fire on Aug. 20. The next show, featuring Tiny Moving Parts, Prawn and Free Throw, is this Thursday.
Said Rory McCoid, the promoter behind all of those shows: "As far as I know those events will still be done at Transitions unless stated otherwise by the owner."
— Jay Cridlin and Jimmy Geurts