A helping hand
Here's how Houston can draw up support for artists who lost everything in the Winter Street fire
When a fire on Tuesday December 20 fire tore through Winter Street Studios, it obliterated the warehouses and studios of several Houston artists.
Tools, supplies, works in progress were destroyed, leaving their creators, many of whom lack insurance, with lost income and without the brushes, canvases, awls, lathes and other tools of the trade to begin again.
Now, a local nonprofit is imploring Houstonians to help the members of our community who bring so much beauty and originality to our city. The Houston Arts Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and helping local artists, has activated its Emergency Relief Fund.
In a press release announcing the activation, the organization notes it's thus far received close to $17,000 — much of it from artists.
So far, 20 artists have reported more than $500,000 in damages.
"We cannot understand the anguish and loss that artists at Winter Street Studios are experiencing," reads the release. "Many artists do not have sufficient insurance to help with a tragedy of this scale or type. And many have lost years of artwork and equipment. Some lost artwork that had already been sold but was not yet delivered to its new owners. Artists are currently unable to access their studios to start rebuilding their work and lives because Winter Street may not be structurally sound due to the intensity of the fire."
Obviously, the situation is dire. The fire is under investigation as arson. Yet even as authorities work to find those responsible, the artists find themselves wondering what's next. Fresh Arts, which manages the district where Winter Street Studios is located, is updating its Instagram with resources available for affected artists.
Clearly, however, a lot of assistance will be needed.
“Artists share so much of their talent with our city, and this is when they need our help," said Necole S. Irvin, director of the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs in a statement. "When tragedy strikes, having a supportive community is essential. Houston would not be a vibrant city without the many individuals, businesses, and organizations that create. Thank you, Houstonians, for the continued support to the arts community in this and all things.”
With hope, this holiday season, Houstonians can assist our artistic community and hope and creativity will rise from this ashes.