Not Your Ordinary Day in Studio 109A

April 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm (From Studio 109A)

Ten years ago this month, my husband and I moved to Raleigh from Florida. In that time, my husband and I bought a house, had our daughter, and I launched my career as a professional artist at Artspace.

So, yesterday was just another ordinary Saturday. I woke up and had breakfast with my family and headed down to Artspace to work on a new, circus inspired piece. There were Earth Day celebrations planned in and around the NC Museum of Science  and the SPCA of Wake County’s  K9-3K Dog Walk in Moore Square. It was just an ordinary day.

Around 3:00 p.m., the skies over Artspace turned black and artists started gathering between Studio 109A and the downstairs bathroom. One artist brought her pillow. Another brought snacks and a radio. Ten of us huddled in a circle in Studio 109A, while many others stood in the hallway and others filled the bathrooms to wait out the storm. The power went out, and there in the dark, Studio 109A, my personal art space, became a safe place.

When the storm passed, reports started coming in that a tornado had damaged businesses just two miles away. On my way home, having to dodge downed trees along Blount Street near Shaw University, just blocks from Studio 109A,  I was reminded of the first time I returned home days after Hurricane Andrew (1992) destroyed my family’s home. I realized the tornado had come close, too close for comfort, and that this was not your ordinary day.

This morning, many downtown Raleigh businesses, including Artspace, remain without power. Many homes around Studio 109A were damaged or destroyed. Shaw University has cancelled classes for the rest of the semester, and The American Red Cross has opened shelters providing warm meals and a shoulder to lean on for those with immediate, disaster-caused needs.

After Hurricane Andrew, I started working for The American Red Cross and know first hand that they need monetary donations and volunteers to continue serving the victims of this and other disasters.  To make a donation, or for more information, visit The Triangle Red Cross. For a time lapse video of the tornado coming towards Downtown Raleigh, click below.


  1. Susan Parrish said,

    Nice assessment of the whole day, Lauren. I hardly felt afraid as we all huddled together and supported each other, told stories and passed the snacks. We do have a very loving supportive family at Artspace.


    • onlylauren said,

      I agree. It is a very loving supportive family and I wasn’t scared either… until I left Artspace and saw the damage all around us.


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