North Texas Daily

Local art studio rises from the ashes

Local art studio rises from the ashes

Local art studio rises from the ashes
October 01
12:22 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighnic0le

When A Creative Art Studio owner Robin Huttash rushed to her storefront on March 15, 2015, she was not met with an array of eager customers or local artists. Instead, firefighters were running back and forth, smoke seeped out the windows and anxious onlookers stood by, helplessly watching the commotion.

Now, six months later, Huttash gently places an art piece on the freshly-painted walls of the redesigned studio. After going through inspection delays, dealing with insurance companies and jumping through various hoops, Huttash is finally prepared to reopen her studio on Oct. 2 and be a part of the Denton Square community once more.

“The thing that hit me was everyone’s art, that I was responsible for, could potentially be ruined,” Huttash said. “It was my responsibility to give peoples’ art pieces a safe gallery to be in.”

Huttash said she has always had an interest in art and initially decided to open up her studio in 2009. Huttash’s studio provides opportunities for local artists to display and sell their works and also holds various art classes for different age groups.

“I think just the idea of disappointing the artists was challenging for me,” she said. “Their work is on show for people to come and see, and all of a sudden it’s just gone and stored away.”

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UNT alumn and business owner Robin Huttash writes in chalk on the walls of her shop, which is set to re-open for the First Friday event on October 7, 2015. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Although Huttash is looking forward to reopening her studio, she said the process has been a long and arduous one. She said because the ceiling had to be replaced and new support beams had to be added, she does not have as much room to hang pieces as before.

Many light fixtures and displays were also damaged during construction, so she is currently dealing with finding new ways of setting up certain aspects of the shop.

Because of the damage, Huttash was required to get her 100-year-old building up to modern codes and acquire new permits in order to begin construction and work on the shop. She did not go through the journey alone, however.

“A friend of mine started a Go Fund Me account for me to help with insurance deductibles,” Huttash said. “Some other friends have been helping me financially or emotionally, telling me that they miss me and want me to open back up as quickly as I can. I’ve had a lot of community support.”

One person who has helped Huttash is Garden Gate owner Traci Davis.

“When the fire happened, I didn’t know Robin too well,” Davis said. “But I wanted to give her a place in the back of my store to continue her classes.”

Davis said although the temporary space where Huttash would do her classes was not huge, she didn’t have to think twice about helping her neighbor out during the process of reopening.

“If something happened to me, I would hope someone would help me out, so I felt like I really wanted to help her in any way she needed,” Davis said. “Our community sticks together.”

Huttash said family, friends and the community have played a role in reopening the store and keeping her grounded as well. Whether it was having some downtime with her 2-year-old granddaughter Betty, working alongside friends who would assist her in construction through the night or participating in public events such as the Jazz Festival and the Community Market, Huttash said she received an unreal amount of support.

“I think having so many people willing to step up and help her really gives her validation that she is an important, loved part of this community,” friend and volunteer Debby Whitworth said. “People need to understand that the Square goes beyond what is directly on the Square.”

When Huttash opens back up, she said she plans on running the studio in the same way she had before the fire. She said she is still going to showcase local artists, including musicians, and continue her art classes for both kids and adults.

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Stained glass artist and painter Robin Huttash opened A Creative Art Studio in 2009. She is anxiously waiting for the re-opening of her shop at the beginning of October. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Additionally, Huttash said she would still participate in First Friday Denton, a “harvest” of the local art of Denton, which is why she decided to open this Friday, Oct. 2.

“I really questioned whether or not I had enough in me to create a business again, but I felt like I was always supposed to be here and create my studio,” Huttash said. “My slogan is ‘putting art in the heart of Denton,’ and I feel like that’s exactly what I want to do, even after being away for so long.”

She has been able to add some new perks to her studio, including track lighting, a hot water system and a new hanging system for pieces.

“I never thought a fire in my studio would happen to me, because I’ve just always felt lucky,” Huttash said. “In many respects, though, I am still lucky, because honestly, it could have been much worse.”

Although the two weeks she thought it would take her studio back turned into six months, Huttash said she was grateful to even have a standing building and a second chance to recreate the studio she loved in a community she had so much respect for.

“I could have lost everything,” Huttash said. “I’m lucky, and so is the studio, because I get a second chance and I still get to continue this journey.”

Featured Image: Robin Huttash shows off the beginning stages of her re-modeling after the shop suffered damages when the apartment upstairs burnt down in mid-March. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

 

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