Fundraisers planned for artists who lost equipment in fire

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) -People in the arts community are working to raise money to replace equipment damaged in a fire. Firefighters responded to that fire at 1835 S. Calhoun Street. As crews tried to contain the fire, part of the ceiling collapsed and fell onto one of the firefighters.

Tuesday morning the building is boarded up and condemned signs were posted on the outside. Restoration crews were on scene evaluating the building.

Several artists and musicians use the second floor to practice and store equipment. C. Ray Harvey is a member of the band Omaha, Alaska. He said most of the equipment was damaged as a result of smoke and water. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix or replace.

Harvey considers himself one of the lucky ones. His band recently recorded in a different studio, so most of their equipment was not damaged in the fire.

“Depending on your walk of life, your guitar, your guitar amp, your gear, your drum kit, might be one of the most expensive possessions you have,” Harvey said.

That is why Donna Kessler, owner of Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits, is teaming up with Ben Larson of Trap Door Stories and other people in the arts community to raise money for equipment.

“South Calhoun is a very close tight-knit community,” said Kessler. “We spend a lot of time together and we do a lot of events together. These bands and artists have been involved in fundraisers for other people. I could just see that everyone was going to pull together to help all of them out as well.”

There will be an event on November 16 hosted by Trap Door Stories and another one organized by Kessler on November 25. Both events will be at CS3 and all proceeds from the evening will go directly to fund the artists’ equipment.

“It strengthens why I love the arts community in Fort Wayne,” said Larson. “We all stick together and we’ve all got each other’s backs.”

“We might all make different styles of music,” said Harvey. “We may make music versus visual art but everybody really sees value in the culture and the creative effort that’s starting to thrive here in Fort Wayne. They’ll band together to see that work.”