“Fire! Fire!” at Sweet Water Organics brings relief to those affected by Riverwest blaze
News of the fire at 631 E. Center St. in Riverwest July 17 quickly shot through the hubs of social media. Beginning as playful jokes, the conversation quickly took a more serious tone as it became apparent that the flames were engulfing a building in the heart of the neighborhood. In an attempt to contain the blaze, City of Milwaukee Police and Fire turned off power to much of the neighborhood, driving residents out of their houses on a hot summer day, many venturing out to get a first-hand look as the fire destroyed the building.
Reports of the devastation bombarded Twitter and Facebook, making it clear that what was lost was irreplaceable. Not only had the fire destroyed the building, it had destroyed a space that had organically grown over the last decade as a complex of apartments, artist studios, and galleries. Many inhabitants lost everything they owned. Before the fire was extinguished, individuals from around the city began utilizing the web to organize the relief effort.
One Facebook invitation that has likely made it to your inbox is for “Fire! Fire!,” which will be held at Sweet Water Organics this Saturday, with all proceeds going to the Riverwest Neighborhood Association fund created to support the artists, residents, and workers who were affected by the fire. WMSE’s Tom Crawford will emcee a live art auction, with artwork donated by Charles Dwyer, Colin Matthes, Makeal Flammini, Kimberly Weiss, and Melissa Dorn Richards, to name a few. Live music will be performed by Mark Waldoch, member of Altos, Hello Death, and Worrier. There will also be a silent auction and raffle, with an after-party a few blocks away at Tonic Tavern. The event runs from 6-11 p.m.