Local dance studio in desperate need of assistance year after Hurricane Michael

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 9, 2019

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- No money. No improvements.

A local dance and music studio is still in desperate need of repair a year after Hurricane Michael.

The Legacy School of Performing Arts in downtown Quincy was destroyed by the Hurricane last October. Despite efforts to raise funds to rebuild and reopen, the studio remains closed.

The C.E.O. and director, Rasheen Jamison-Richardson, says she's feeling despondent because the studio has gone from needing a new roof last year to now needing everything.

It's been two months since Jamison-Richardson visited her studio.

"I try not to come up here so much because I don't get that much hope," she said.

Her hope is falling like rain and the damage it caused at the Legacy School of Performing Arts.

"It kept raining and raining. Now the light fixture has dropped," she said.

Jamison-Richardson showed WCTV how badly the studio was damaged from Michael when during a visit last December, which was two months after the storm.

A year after the hurricane, she says, "It's worse than it was before."

Jamison-Richardson says because her small business can't handle the $100,000 cost to rebuild, the roof continues to leak, which creates mold and mildew.

The storm had already destroyed the instruments and costumes.

"Our dance shoes, they're moldy now," Jamison-Richardson said.

Computers, flooring, and pretty much everything inside were also destroyed she said.

"We've gone through every route imaginable, and we had not gotten any assistance at all," she said.

Her longtime dream has been devastated.

She said, "It looks like an empty tomb. So I feel like something died. I feel like we're not in the need of a revival, but a resurrection."

The dance and music studio is more than a place. It means great deal.

Parents say not only do kids learn performing arts skills, but life skills as well.

The studio was a safe haven where students even called Jamison-Richardson, "Mama Richardson".

"She loves this place," said Dahlia Mitchell.

Mitchell says it was a home away from home for students like daughter. She says her 11-year-old blossomed with confidence and learned new skills in piano, violin, and all forms of dance.

"I'm not a millionaire. It's one of those situations where we wish that we were because we know what our child has experienced here. God knows, if I had the money, I would've went on and paid for it," Mitchell said.

During the visit, Jamison-Richardson started playing her grand piano that was still left behind in the building. She hadn't played it since WCTV's last visit in December.

After tickling the keys a bit, she said, "I felt revived, actually. My heart was racing like I'm on a first date."

It was music to her ears and hope for the soul.

"This actually might be a reason for me to come in this place," she said.

A fundraising campaign kicks off Thursday, October 10, the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael.

It's called, "Project Phoenix," helping Legacy School of Performing Arts rise from the ashes.

Jamison-Richardson says she was told it costs $600 just to have the three pianos removed from the building.

She really wants to raise enough money to get those doors open back soon because this studio means so much to families.

If you'd like to help, or for information, click here.

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