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'Some hugs and some paint': Local artists rally around painter after fire destroys artwork

A local artist is starting from scratch after a fire burnt down his garage with his supplies and artwork inside.

Luckily, rebuilding and rebounding won't be as hard for painter and illustrator Jared Robinson after an outpouring of support from the art community.

Twenty original paintings and more than 300 prints were destroyed when Robinson's garage went up in flames on May 25.

Robinson said he was shocked when police told him the fire was connected to a series of arsons in the Westmount Neighbourhood.

“It guts you," he said. "And it also kind of gives you that feeling of violation almost like someone breaking into your house.”

For more than seven years, Robinson has been involved with the Night of Artists Gallery in Bonnie Doon Mall. It's a close-knit community of people who share a passion for art, and founder Phil Alain said they wanted to help.

“It was devastating to see the losses that he had," Alain said. "And he said, "All I really care about is if I maybe get some hugs and some paint.'

"I said 'Well, you need more than that.'”

Painter and illustrator Jared Robinson brought the only painting to survive a fire to his art show fundraiser on Saturday. (Marek Tkach/CTV News Edmonton)

Alain knows what it's like to need some support, and Saturday the Night of Artists Gallery held an all-day fundraiser for Robinson.

“Four years ago I lost my wife to cancer and the whole art community just surrounded me and I know how amazing that feeling is," Alain said. "Jared is just such a warm loving guy, I knew I just had to do something to help him out.”

Robinson's own work took centre stage at the event, and alongside his most recent pieces, hung the only artwork to survive the fire.

“They threw me this show and said you know what, we're going to highlight you and we'll see if we can get some other people to kind of help encourage and support and it's been huge," Robinson said.

A GoFundMe set up for Robinson had also raised around $3,200. 

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