For Paul Lewis and Sarah Francis, the big clean-up operation began in earnest today as they surveyed the devastation caused by the floods to their art studio in Kirkstall.
Aire Place Studios was one of the many buildings flooded when the River Aire broke its banks on Boxing Day, leaving devastation in its wake.
The duo had planned to open the doors of their studio in February after 12 months of hard work and self-funding, fuelled by the dream of a creative community space for all.
But after the River Aire burst its banks the building ended up with several feet of water in the newly-built studio spaces.
Paul and Sarah – who couldn’t get insurance against flooding – say they’re devastated. Paul said:
“It’s filthy. There’s mud everywhere and there’s a big clean-up job ahead. The lower plasterboard walls are going to need replacing, electrics will need checking to make sure they’re safe, artists’ materials will need replacing … it’s too early to say about everything.
“It’s just devastating, we didn’t get any grants for this and have put all our own money into it.
“We were slightly lucky compared to other people nearby in so far as the studios are up a step so are a bit higher.”
Paul says his first job is to get the space back up and running so the artists can get back into their spaces.
The official opening could now be a way off, he says.
Please help, even 50p will buy some milk for the clear up.Thanks you all! https://t.co/ymdxf49fji
— Aire Place Studios (@AirePlaceStudio) December 28, 2015
How you can help
The studios has now launched a crowdfunding page where people can donate to help them get back on their feet.
“We are setting up this appeal as a last chance to help save Aire Place Studios, to create affordable, accessible and community run arts spaces in Leeds.”
Their appeal has so far raised more than £700.
You can donate here.