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Artists burned out of their studio get help

By JOSE CARDENAS, Tinmes Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007


DUNEDIN - Since Sunday's suspicious fire, artists and local leaders have come together to raise money, collect supplies and provide free studio space to the 15 artists burned out of the Imago art gallery.

Six months of studio space could come from the city of Dunedin. City commissioners are expected to vote Dec. 20 whether to make a city-owned 4,200-square-foot building at 620 Main St. available to the artists at no cost.

The offers hearten the artists, who said they just want to get back to creating.

"I'm stunned," said Denis Gaston, 62, an award-winning artist who lost 80 paintings and drawings. "I knew there was support from everybody. I never imagined it would be like this."

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating the early-morning fire at the Imago gallery, on Douglas Avenue, south of Main Street, as arson.

The gallery, a fixture on the local art scene, held an open house once a month. People strolled through the artists' studios and bought works.

How to help

Groups offering help to artists

Professional Association of Visual Artists: Collecting money and art supplies. Checks can be written to PAVA, with Imago artists in the memo line and mailed to P.O. Box 2665, Dunedin, FL 34697. To offer art materials, call PAVA president Susan Rollins Gehring at (727) 736-2466 or Barbara Hanson at (727) 539-8901.

Dunedin Fine Art Center: Fundraiser from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin. Proceeds from admissions and art auction will go to the artists. The center is also collecting donations of art supplies.

Salt Creek Artworks: 1600 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg, is collecting art materials. Call (727) 894-2653.

Central Art Supply Co.: 1114 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, is coordinating an artists' registry so people can buy the items the artists say they need. Call (727) 898-8300.

Masterpiece Art Supplies: 758 N Belcher Road, Clearwater, people are buying gift cards for artists. Call (727) 449-2550.

[Last modified December 13, 2007, 00:33:06]

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