Art gallery springs a leak

Leaking water damages documents at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. - Photo Submitted
Leaking water damages documents at the Vernon Public Art Gallery.
— image credit: Photo Submitted

Inadequate facilities are putting Greater Vernon’s cultural treasures at risk once again.

Four cases of leaking water occurred at the Vernon Public Art Gallery last week, with the most serious case occurring in the main exhibition space, the Topham Brown Gallery, Jan. 10.

“Gallery board and staff members are frustrated and concerned that one day water will damage art that cannot be cleaned, repaired or replaced,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director.

“It’s because of situations like this that the gallery may be prevented from bringing in quality exhibitions due to concern over our ability to protect the art.”

VPAG currently has on loan an exhibition from the collection of the Musee du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec. There are dozens of works including large scale tapestries by leading artists of Quebec that are hanging just feet away from the most recent leak.

Included in this exhibition are two large-scale sculptures which sit directly on the floor.

“The potential for permanent damage is high. There is really no replacement value for this art. It is invaluable,” said Kennedy Grant.

Besides the Topham Brown Gallery, the other leaks last week occurred in the storage room where exhibits are prepared,  where the permanent collection is stored and where historical records are kept.

“We have come to expect leaks at the gallery and so we cover items with heavy plastic in anticipation for further damage. Water leaks are inevitable here,” said Kennedy Grant.

“When we get heavy rain or snow melt, grimy, brown water seeps through leaks and cracks of the parkade above and ends up in the gallery.”

In October 2012, staff found a leak dripping from the ceiling in the storage area and water pooling around a painting.

VPAG is currently lobbying the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to proceed with construction of a new art gallery.

The former flower shop site on 31st Avenue has been identified as a location for a gallery but GVAC is considering locations and how to proceed to the public with the issue.

“We want to be able to provide outstanding exhibitions and programming for the citizens of the Greater Vernon area,” said Kennedy Grant.








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