Vernon Public Art Gallery ready to re-open after flood

June Duncan, a volunteer at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, starts unpacking the gift shop at the gallery after a burst water main flooded the gallery in December. - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
June Duncan, a volunteer at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, starts unpacking the gift shop at the gallery after a burst water main flooded the gallery in December.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

Vernon Public Art Gallery staff say they are eager to re-open the gallery’s doors following a damaging flood in early December.

It’s been one month since the disaster occurred from a water main break on 31st Avenue in front of the gallery. Due to water seeping inside the gallery, staff had to close and remove the current exhibitions and move its gift shop and offices to a temporary space in the old Vernon Flower Shop, the proposed site of a new art gallery.

“It was unfortunate that we had to close our exhibitions prior to the holiday break and we also had to cancel events and programming and operations. We were basically non-existent for about two weeks at one of the busiest times of the year,” said VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant.

As crews continue with repairs to the gallery, located underneath the city parkade, the curatorial staff have been working overtime to prepare for the opening of four new exhibitions set for Jan. 16.

The original opening date was pushed back by one week in order to allow necessary time for drying, cleaning, dry walling and painting of the walls of the gallery, said Kennedy Grant.

“We are just happy to be getting back to business as usual,” she said. “The gallery shop received great exposure at the temporary site over the holidays, but we need to get back to regular operations of providing exhibitions and programming.”

The gallery reports that its guest count was actually up significantly while at the site of the proposed new art gallery.

“(It’s a) good sign that it is the right location for the new gallery facility,” said  Kennedy Grant.

“(The) VPAG would like to thank everyone for their support during this time. It’s great to see we have the support of the community and we are all looking forward to a very positive year ahead.”

Gallery members and the public are invited to attend the opening reception of the VPAG’s four new exhibitions, Thursday, Jan. 16  from 6 to 8 p.m. The gallery is located at 3228-31st Ave. Exhibitions will run until March 13.


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