Family of Jay Street fire victim to continue his legacy


A $1 million settlement in the fatal 2015 Jay Street fire was reached late last month.

Michael Roberson’s brother, Robert Thomas, died in the fire. Roberson plans to use the money received to honor his brother’s memory, investing it into what will be 1220 Arts Studio and Gallery.

The concept for the studio will provide several art mediums to the community including visual and performance art.

“My brother was an artist. He rapped, he drew and he was very talented, so I have no doubt he would have exceeded my own goals in life,” Roberson said.

Thomas served in the military, but art was his passion. Roberson hopes to ignite that passion in others within the community.

It’s not clear how the million dollar settlement will be split, but Roberson feels it should not be divided evenly with the businesses.

With the five-year anniversary of Thomas’ death next year, Roberson said the studio would be a fitting tribute.

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