Three floors and 24,000 square feet of raw undeveloped space has given artists displaced by the Jarvis Avenue fire a new home and a new lease on life.
The July 22 fire, which consumed a lifetime’s worth of work, tools, and equipment from 25 artists, also destroyed their sense of community.
Craftsman Keith Oliver said it’s one thing to lose your possessions but another to lose the people you have chosen to work with.
“Without that community of artists then I don’t know what we’d do,” he said.
Up to this point all of the affected artists have signed up for the new space, with potential new spots opening up.
A portion of the GoFundMe fundraiser will be used to develop the space with the first two floors opening up sometime in October, the third in the new year.
The building, on 90 Annabella Street, was a good fit for both the owners and the new tenants.
“They see this building as an art hub, perhaps with a restaurant on the main floor and an event floor on the second floor they can rent out to other arts groups or other functions, which leaves six floors for artists or artist use and that’s what they want to support,” said Oliver.
The new space is slightly more expensive than that of Jarvis Avenue, but the building is more secure and, being made of brick and concrete, is unlikely to burn.