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Fire at Floyd Center For The Arts Brings Challenges and Opportunity

In the early morning hours of April 20, a fire started in the glass studio at the Floyd Center for the Arts, damaging some of the building’s most functional spaces. The fire was quickly contained by the Center’s sprinkler system, but left behind char, soot, and a deluge of water from the sprinklers throughout much of the building’s lower level.

“Our mitigation contractor, ServiceMaster, out of Winchester, Virginia, has cleared most of the smoky smell and particulates from the building and assured us that the air in the building is safe to breathe. However, the glass studio needs to be entirely rebuilt, and the classrooms and private artist studio rentals around the glass studio require extensive cleaning and reconstruction. This could take weeks, or even  months,” said FCA board member Karen Baker.

The good news is — Floyd Center for the Arts is already back in business while cleanup efforts are ongoing. The Center plans to temporarily shift classroom spaces to be able to continue its arts education programming in the interim.

All events that had previously been scheduled will continue while rebuilding efforts take place, including a popular summer camp for children in June and July, and a newly developed Living Traditions Festival on August 26.
  

As contractors continue their work, an opening exhibit of hand-made acoustic instruments, Appalachian Strings, will debut on June10 in the Hayloft Gallery, which was fortunately undamaged.

The affected section of the building will be undergoing extensive restoration in the coming weeks, beginning with removing the drywall and insulation that were soaked by the flooding from the sprinkler system, as well as professional cleaning of everything in the building. The Floyd County Recreation Department has offered a temporary home to some of the art groups that utilize FCA on a recurring basis.

Keela Dooley Marshall, FCA Executive Director, explained, “The glass studio is a total loss. Despite the setback, we will build back better than ever with all-new, up-to-date, and safe art studios; we are incredibly excited for the future and grateful to the Floyd County Fire Station #2 and Fire Chief Tony Weddle for taking care of us the day of the fire.”

“We are a community that loves the arts, and our community is helping us to carry on,” Marshall says of the assistance being offered by the County, the Town of Floyd and neighboring non-profits.

Kerry Ackerson, President of the Board of Directors for the FCA, stresses that the Center will need financial and volunteer support from the community in the coming months as efforts focus on sustaining programming and rebuilding.

“Please think of the FCA and the challenges ahead now and during the upcoming Give Local campaign,” Ackerson says. “Insurance will cover a substantial portion of our losses, we hope, but to get us back to where we need to be, we need the financial support of the community.”

With regard to volunteer help, Ackerson noted that new volunteers are always welcome, and there are tasks for all levels of commitment, from tending to the front desk occasionally, to web design and assisting with art classes for children or adults.

Limited hours of operation will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays Noon-5pm and Saturdays 10am-5pm, beginning on May 15.

Donations to support the Floyd Center for the Arts’ efforts can be mailed to 220 Parkway Lane South, Floyd, VA 24091 or donations can be made via the organization’s website at floydartcenter.org.

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