If you had not visited or heard of LaCa Projects in the FreeMoreWest area just off Morehead Street before last week, you likely have now. And, for the worst of reasons.
Last Thursday, like many businesses along Little Sugar Creek, LaCa was hit by flash floods that came on with little warning. Within the space of 15 minutes, LaCa, which stands for Latin American Contemporary Art, began to flood. Eventually, the gallery, The Batch House bakery and tenants in the studios behind the gallery, were filled with several feet of water. By the end of the day, the waters had receded, but the damage was done.
The artwork on display in the gallery was severely damaged. And, the livelihood of many artists was put into question. Lives were changed inside of an hour. Artists already struggling to deal with a year full of nasty surprises were handed another frightening challenge.
Let’s Get Personal
LaCa was established in 2013 with a very specific purpose in mind — to create a gateway for connecting contemporary Latin American artists with the increasingly diversifying arts scene of Charlotte. Another part of the mission was to provide a supportive and affordable place for creatives of many disciplines. We were one of them.
LACA was our home for two years as we launched Charlotte Is Creative. While we no longer have a studio there, it holds great meaning to us … as do the people who work there. Whether we have an office there or not, it’ll still be our “home.”
Who To Help. How to Help.
When you see photos like the aerial above, it’s easy to get a sense of the damage done. But, it’s difficult to really understand the human cost. We reached out to all the creatives and businesses affected by last Thursday’s flood. As you can imagine, they are busy saving what they can and charting a path forward. Some of them were able to send us just a few sentences about how to help. For those, we are sharing statements they’ve made on their social media feeds.
Please take a few minutes to meet the LaCa family below. They are strong, but they’re hurting now. They need our help. While you can donate dollars for some of them, you can help ALL of them by sharing their stories, applying your social capital and buying their work or their services.
Matt Olin & Tim Miner
Charlotte Is Creative
Latin American Contemporary Art Gallery
1429 Bryant St, Charlotte, NC 28208
A Few Words from LaCa (Via Instagram):
“We want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone near and far who has called, texted, posted and shown up to help us and our tenants as we begin the long road ahead to restoration. Your support means the world and we are truly grateful for that.”
How To Help:
As they rebuild and assess their next steps, the leadership team from LaCa Projects is more concerned about getting help, love and support for their tenants and for the artists whose work was on display in the gallery the day of the flood. Their information is below.
Volunteer for them! They do need people to help them clean and sanitize furniture they were able to salvage. If you are interested in helping, message them on Instagram.
The Batch House/Batchmaker – Cris Rojas Agurcia
Small Batch Bakery
A Few Words from Cris (Via Instagram):
“For those still wanting treats that don’t have an order: Don’t fret! We will be doing Batchboxes and half dozen + dozen assorted boxes too on Friday and Saturday of this week and Tuesday and Wednesday of next week!”
“The generosity and kindness I’ve encountered will never be forgotten. I’m beyond humbled and grateful there is so much love for the little dream and hobby I started in my kitchen rewatching Golden Girls and Harry Potter.”
How You Can Help:
Order goodies! As indicated above, Batch House is taking online orders this week and next and in the future. Click here to place an order.
Or, you can send money to Cris through Venmo: @thebatchhouseTeam
Joseph Beckham/Off-Brand Visuals
A Few Words from Joseph:
“I am a freelance filmmaker and DP. I am a tenant at LaCa in one of the studio spaces. On the morning of the flood, I was able to go into my studio and salvage quite a bit of computers, hard drives, cameras, etc. before the water got too high. For that, I am super thankful. Although I did lose quite a bit of small things, lights, and miscellaneous items. I know it could’ve been a lot worse. As of now, I am working to rebuild funds to purchase those items I lost.”
How You Can Help:
A Few Words from Jeff (via Instagram):
“Thanks to my generous friends, I will be moving into a temporary space in NODA for the next 3 months. I don’t know what will happen after that.
I lost some lights, a camera, some lenses, most of my gear cases, my MacPro desktop. Over 30 hard drives were submerged, they are drying out on my dining room table. My archive of negatives and transparencies that dates back to the early 1970s is all sitting in floodwater. I will try to retrieve data and conserve some of the film images.”
How You Can Help:
There are several ways to help Jeff.
- Hire him! Jeff is a longtime member of Charlotte’s creative community, helping creatives and community leaders with their photography needs for decades. Peruse his online portolio and contact him to secure his services.
- He needs help with new equipment: “I’m looking for suggestions, please. My trusty 2009 high powered MacPro drowned in the flood. I need to replace this machine. I will likely buy a refurbished or used computer. This computer was my photo work station. It ran two 27” monitors, Photoshop and Lightroom. It was a screaming fast beast! Please advise!”
- You can send money to Jeff through Venmo: @jeffcravotta
How Can You Help:
David Frers/The Living Room
Framing Services & Gift Shop
A Few Words from David:
“The Living Room is still taking stock of what is truly lost, but for now we need materials to rebuild, a computer, money to replace all paper supplies specific to picture framing and possibly some framing machines. Not sure yet.
Life changes so fast … flood in … flow out. Getting The Living Room back up and running is no small feat, but we will be back with a fresh coat of life and a bright future in our beloved community.”
How You Can Help:
Hire him! David has framed all the art hung in LaCa for the past several years and has framed art hanging in homes, businesses and galleries across the city. To secure his services, reach out to davidfrers at yahoo dot com
David has set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $5,000 to get the rebuilding effort started. Contribute here.
How You Can Help:
Buy her work! Pamela is concentrating on salvaging and restoring the works damaged in the flood. She’s not looking for donations, but she has available work displayed on her web site.
PHOTO CREDIT: The main image of this story was taken by The Batch Maker.
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