It was a curator’s worst nightmare come true.
Staff at the Vernon Public Art Gallery walked into the storage area Tuesday to find a leak dripping from the ceiling and water pooling around a painting.
“The damage to the artwork is minimal because we caught it in time,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director. “We’re in business to protect art and to find an issue like this is upsetting.”
Leaks in the building — the downtown parkade — are common at this time of the year.
And beyond direct water damage, the other concern is possible humidity because the facility does not have climate controls.
“That has limited us from acquiring pieces. Artists want their works preserved,” said Kennedy Grant.
Travelling national and international exhibits also won’t make a stop in Vernon because of the lack of climate control.
“They are valuable collections and they won’t let them go to a place that can’t properly care for it,” said Kennedy Grant. “Any artwork that comes in is potentially in jeopardy.”
Because current conditions are less than ideal, VPAG officials are demanding action.
“We need a proper facility so we can do the work of a public art gallery,” said Kennedy Grant.
What’s being proposed is a new building on the old Vernon Flower Shop property on 31st Avenue. It would include climate control and 16-foot-high ceilings.
The goal is to hold a spring referendum asking Greater Vernon residents to borrow $7 million for the project.
VPAG officials will make a pitch to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Nov. 8 and prior to that, community groups are being asked to get involved.
“We have quite a stack of letters of support,” said Kennedy Grant.