Local Artist Loses Studio To Apartment Fire

Posted at 10:03 PM, May 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 23:49:22-04

A local longtime artist has been struggling to get back on her feet after an apartment fire in East Nashville destroyed her studio.

Dayo Johnson was previously featured on NewsChannel 5 after she discovered bed slats with heartbreaking and personal writings by a young teenager on them.

On Wednesday, she returned her home with her 12-year-old son to find her building billowing with thick smoke.

"My body was shaking, I was trying to keep control. It was just surreal and could not believe that our home was going up in flames," Johnson recalled.

Flames ignited at her neighbor's and quickly spread to her unit.  The fire displaced several families, including Jonhson's, and they were asked not to go inside till later in the week.

The exact cause of the fire remained unknown.

"My heart went to my art," Johnson told NewsChannel 5. "So much of me is in those pieces, and I just started imagining them melting away on the walls and it devastated me."

She was able to salvage the larger pieces from her living room, but not the paintings in the back of her apartment where her studio was located.

Johnson, her husband, and her 12-year-old son have been staying with her mother in Madison since the fire. Although the fire took away the tools to create her artwork, it has not taken away the passion to express herself creatively.

"That's my calling, that's my purpose outside of being a wife and a mother. I can't imagine life without creating art," Johnson said.

A gofundme account has been created to help her family. To learn more, click on this link.