Nearly $6,000 of Minneapolis-based musician Taylor Harrison’s equipment was destroyed in a fire on Sunday during a fire at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. Now, she deals with an irreplaceable loss of backup music files and an album that was nearly finished.
Harrison is among many who resided in the studios of the historic building, creating music and honing in on her artistic abilities from the comfort of an affordable, relaxing space.
In recent years, the building located at 730-740 E. Lake St. was one of the few options burgeoning artists had that wasn’t regulated by steep prices that parallel the rise of gentrification in metropolitan areas.
Musicians, graphic designers, and many other creative types had the solace of focusing on their work for pleasure, rather than work to create. Casey Lambert is a freelance illustrator who, like Harrison, lost thousands of dollars in equipment during the fire.
Though no one was injured, the community of artists lost a major part of their life that will be near impossible to recreate.
There is no indication how many people resided or frequented the building on a daily basis, it was a creative space open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Everyone’s just really feeling heartache for their creative loss,” Harrison said. “Which I think is contributing to the big sad feeling in the city over the loss of the building.”
The building, maintained and owned by Mark Simons, had code violations like an illegal bedroom, fire extinguishers in need of service and electrical disrepair. However, city records indicate the violations were resolved in April of this year.
According to Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner, the fire is believed to have started in the boiler room. The fire caused the roof to collapse and is still under investigation.
The fire avoided near-devastating consequences. In 2016, on the other side of the country in Oakland, Calif., a building of similar use as an artist collective caught fire under similar conditions.
The Ghost Ship, as it was known, erupted in flames during a small house music concert. Code violations created an environment that was near-impossible to escape from and 36 attendees lost their lives.
Several GoFundMe pages have been created to help raise money for displaced artists. As for now, the building is blocked off as firefighters continue to investigate and clean up the mess left behind.