5/7/2010 3:42 PM
It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, all in two days here in Middle Tennessee. I live just west of Nashville, and if you ever needed evidence that a disaster can occur anywhere, this is it. A weather front stalled here last weekend and dumped over 14 inches of rain in two days. Flooding occurred in the predictable places, along the larger rivers, but also in areas that no one imagined would flood. Consequently, most of those affected did not have flood insurance. And on top of that there seems to be a commonly-held notion that flood insurance is not available unless you live in a flood plain. Not true!
Out our way, houses were washed away, and bridges were under water-so getting into Nashville was nearly impossible. In fact, at one point the three Interstate highways that intersect in Nashville became raging rivers and were closed. I just heard on the news that the facility that stores instruments and equipment for major country music stars and studios was flooded. Vince Gill said that he had 60 mostly vintage instruments there. We have not heard about many artists who were affected, but the governor has asked for a disaster declaration in 52 counties, and some communities are still under water.
My wife Linda and I spent part of the last two days helping to salvage tools and equipment from the studio of Rusty Wolfe, a painter, sculpture, furniture designer, and all-around renaissance man. He had 11 ft. of water in his studio, and it trashed everything. He and his wife, Kim Brooks operate Finer Things Gallery - you may have seen them at SOFA Chicago. The gallery was above the flood waters, so their artists were spared, but their loft-style living space in the same building took a hit. Sculpture from the sculpture garden was washed away, and a mobile home ended up on the little bridge over the nearby creek. They had built their own artful world in this unlikely spot, and in an instant it was wrecked.
We knew from Russell Karkowski's interview, "We depended a lot on volunteers" that they were going to need help that could just do something without much direction. Russell said that after his studio flood, volunteers would come up to him and ask what to do, and he would say "I don't know what to do either."
We reviewed the Clean-up and Salvage sections of the Studio Protector wall and online guides, printed out the lists of supplies, and assembled as many as we could, so we would be prepared to salvage artwork, books, tools-whatever needed to be done. We brought plenty of respirators and rubber gloves, which was good, because even with all the respirators Rusty had, they were in short supply for workers and volunteers who were mucking out the studio. I can now say from experience that you don't want to be working around that stuff without protective gear.
When we got there the woodturner John Jordan and his wife Vicki were there picking up the work of several artists from the gallery, so we all worked together to salvage cabinets full of tools-washing them in fresh water, drying on bread racks in the sun, then oiling everything and putting them back into clean cabinets.
We did the same with a drill press, a big bandsaw, and a table saw, stripping them down, washing out the mud, drying and oiling. All the switches and electrical boxes were opened to dry, and Rusty sent the motors to an electrical company to be baked dry.
|Kim Brooks is the skinny lady on the right
I can only imagine the stress Rusty and Kim are under. I am thankful it was not my studio under water, and feel good that we could help them in some small way without contributing too much to their stress level. I had never anticipated that I would be using the Studio Protector to help another artist, but I am glad that I had it, and that I had spent some time reviewing the information in it before jumping into the mud.
3 comment(s) so far...
By Kathryn Dettwiller on
5/8/2010 9:10 AM
Re: Nashville Flood
Craig, Your post explains it all...no one expected the 500-hundred-year flood. And the swiftness of the water rise added to the stunned victims terror. Most of us haven't had any experience with flooding. I expect many other Nashville-area artists are suffering, too. Your site is extremely helpful in dealing with the aftereffects.
When you told me about the Studio Protector, I didn't get around to getting one. Now I will!
I am blessed that I didn't personally have any damage, but scores of people lost everything, many even lost their life. It will take a long time to recover. KD
By Craig Nutt on
5/8/2010 9:18 AM
Re: Nashville Flood
I hope you escaped serious damage.
I am headed out to the TACA Spring Craft Fair now to drop off the few Studio Protectors I have to be sold at the fair. Proceeds are going to the CERF+ TACA Fund.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts may still have some copies in the museum shop. Help us get the word around about the SP and the web site for those who may need the information to help with their recovery.
By Victoria Christine Bingham on
5/11/2010 7:47 PM
Re: Nashville Flood
A fellow artist and friend of mine lost everything he had in the Nashville flooding. His studio and home were inundated. I wanted to help within the limits of my ability and was delighted to learn that at the urging of friends, he had set up a Pay Pal account. Though I am a business owner here in DC, I had no idea that you could pay 'ordinary' people with Pay Pal, as a 'gift'. But you can, and I did.
I'd like to suggest that people profoundly affected by the flooding set themselves up with a Pay Pal account and then when you let friends or relatives know about your own plight from this extraordinary disaster, they'll be able to make a difference easily, with a credit card. All you need is an email address and a bank account.
Meanwhile, I have to add that my hat goes off to Tennesseans who have reached out to their brethren in need. That's gospel living and may God continue to bless your great state as a result. And of course, see you through this time of trial marvelously.