Here's the latest news from Mel Andringa and John Herbert, of CSPS, the innovative community arts organzation in Cedar Rapids, just 3 blocks from the Cedar River and smack dab in the heart of the worst flooding:
"The good news is that today we gained access to CSPS. We can now tell you that the upper floors, where Legion Arts is located, suffered very little damage from the flood. The building as a whole appears to be sound.
"The bad news? The ground-floor businesses of CSPS, all of New Bohemia, and block after block in every direction, are an utter and heartbreaking disaster.
"We've been so encouraged by the messages of support we've received, from all around Iowa, across the US and Canada, and as far away as Argentina, Italy and the Netherlands.
"Now we're asking for your help. Here are three things you can do.
"GIVE: Support local artists. If you're able, make a contribution to the Iowa Artist Relief Fund. You can donate online at www.legionarts.org, or send a check to Legion Arts, 1103 Third St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. (Mail is reaching us at this point, though in somewhat roundabout fashion.)
"VOLUNTEER: We need to very quickly clean and disinfect the staircases at CSPS; remove all the carpet from the artist dressing rooms behind the stage; and empty and clean the lower level of the firehouse next door, which housed, among other things, a number of artworks by Mel Andringa. Cleaning will take place from roughly 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Thurs, Fri, and Sat. Maybe longer. It's hot, dirty, not very pleasant work, but if you're willing we could sure use your help.
"We ask that you call Mel (cell phone 389-6238) or John (721-8484) before coming by.
"We also strongly advise that you get a tetanus shot. We have masks and rubber gloves, but if you can bring your own rubber gloves and your own boots, that would be helpful.
"DOCUMENT: If you're an artist — visual, performing, or other — who's been impacted by the flooding, send us your name, city, email address and a brief description of what happened. We're limited in the amount of help we can provide, but we'll do what we can to attract resources and get them to the artists who need them. The more information we have, and the sooner, the better.
"We're gonna get through this together. "