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Devastating fire at Lake Street building leaves artists without homes, studios

The well-known former Roberts Shoes building went up in smoke Sunday night.

The blaze that destroyed the former Roberts Shoes business in south Minneapolis has also left numerous artists without homes and places to work.

The building on Chicago and Lake was home to a number of studios for local artists, who have now been displaced as a result of the massive fire Sunday night.

In the wake of the fire, several fundraising accounts have been created to support artists who saw their creative spaces and equipment destroyed in the blaze.

Rene Thompson, owner of the Latin Dance & Music Studio, lost his home, studio and all of his belongings in the blaze, with this GoFundMe page so far raising more than $2,000 to help him recover from the devastating loss, while another fundraiser has raised around $1,700.

Alex Uhrich, a Powderhorn Park resident who shared a studio with other artists and musicians in the building, called it "a long standing institution for the south Minneapolis arts community."

He set up a GoFundMe page called the "Roberts Shoes Displacement Fund" to raise money for those impacted by the fire, which as of Tuesday morning has generated more than $8,000.

"I am a film photographer who grew up in the Twin Cities, and I lost my entire catalogue of film to this fire. Hundreds of negatives and polaroids. My partner, who I share a studio with, lost his laptop and all of his drawings and materials and illustration equipment. Our studio mate lost hard drives of musical work from over the years. I know a musician whose amplifier was destroyed. There are countless stories of people affected by this because Robert's was a hub for all types of people, and there is a lot of work to be done."

Several GoFundMe pages have been created for and by fire victims, with another set up by Casey Lambert, who says he lost a load of possessions and supplies in the blaze.

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"All of my drawing and body work equipment, including my computer, hard drives, tablets, furniture, priceless books, artwork, tools and supplies are gone and are not insured," he wrote.

"I’m reaching out to you to help me recover from this in any way you can. A little can truly go a long way."

Minneapolis DJ Michel Be lost a Roland DJ 808 controller valued at $1,500 in the fire, with fiancee Nicque Mabrey starting this fundraising page to help them recover from the loss.

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