Tampa man struggles to rebuild after April 1 storm

Tampa man struggles to rebuild after April 1 storm


Tampa, Florida – It was the first of April, and Mother Nature exacted the meanest April Fool’s joke Jason Boone could have imagined.

A freak storm ripped his business, Art Studio of Tampa Bay at Interbay Boulevard and Russell Street in South Tampa, into a skeleton.

The same series of storms ripped a tent to shreds and damaged planes at Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland.

In South Tampa, the damage was bad enough to send Art Studio worker James O’Neil packing for Alaska, where he now works for a tour company. But Boone stayed and has spent the last five months trying to rebuild.

“I’m the kind of person who puts everything into one basket.  Everything I had was sunk into my art studio, and it was destroyed in a matter of seconds,” Boone said.

Without insurance, Boone faced more than $100,000 in damage at his shop alone. He was forced to give up the property.

“I’ve been in survival mode since the tornado,” he said.

He’s managed to stay afloat by working out of his one-bedroom apartment. He’s also working with Professional Artist Network, which is holding a fundraiser in November for Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.

The art benefit is November 12 in the club room at Element Luxury Apartments at 808 N. Franklin Street in Tampa. Doors open at 3 p.m. and raffle winners will be announced from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  A live auction starts at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets are $10 advanced purchase and $15 at the door.  For more information, email professionalartistnetwork@gmail.com.





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