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Fire destroys artist studio in King West

Last Updated May 22, 2018 at 5:59 pm EDT

A devastating fire has destroyed the work of several artists at Walnut Studios in King West Village.

Toronto fire says the blaze broke out around 6 a.m. on Saturday and upon arrival, firefighters were met with heavy fire and smoke.

A fire was also found in the roof and it had to be opened up for firefighters to get to it. Windows were also broken to allow the smoke to escape.

No injuries were reported, but several studios were damaged.

Walnut Studios says 22 artists who occupied the north side of the building lost all their artwork and supplies. The other 23 artists who work out of the south side of the building also suffered smoke damage to their work and supplies.

Katrina Schaman is a painter who has worked out of the space for the last three years.

Schaman tells CityNews since she works with with paper, all of her artwork was destroyed in the blaze.

Schaman’s sister Jessika Sudarsan said the artists in the north studio had hundreds of hours of work decimated by a combination of water, fire and smoke damage.

This is artist Anand Jaggernauth's workspace that was destroyed in the fire at Walnut Studios on May 19, 2018. HANDOUT/ Anand Jaggernauth
This is artist Anand Jaggernauth’s workspace that was destroyed in the fire at Walnut Studios on May 19, 2018. HANDOUT/ Anand Jaggernauth

Schaman said she is now forced to pull out of the upcoming Riverdale Art Show in the Park because she has nothing left to show.

Sudarsan said many of the artists lost their supplies as well and it will make it close to impossible for any of them to participate in any shows this summer.

She said the summer is an extremely important time of year for the artists and many were putting finishing touches on their work for outdoor exhibitions.

A GoFundMe page set up for the artists has raised over $3,000 as of 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“Owner Jason Martins is committed to re-building the studio and maintaining the magical community of artists that has thrived in this warehouse space for the past ten years,” the studio said in a statement.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and there is no estimate on the amount of damage.