Officials from the Vernon Art Gallery and Greater Vernon Museum and Archives are making their case on the need for a new cultural centre in Vernon.
Reps took media on a ‘back room tour’ of the current facilities to highlight the space issues they deal with on a daily basis.
Dauna Kennedy, executive director of the Art Gallery, says the lack of space and regular water leaks has them storing 600 art pieces in plastic bags and hall closets at their 31st Avenue site.
“It really puts our collection at risk. Not only does it not have the proper climate controls, it’s a very tight and risky space to have our collection, and makes it really difficult for us to do the other work that we do,” Kennedy tells Beach Radio News.
Kennedy says they also have to deal with constant leaks at their 31st Avenue site.
“Everything that we have of importance is stored in plastic bags. Every time the city has tried to fix a leak in the back area, it just pushes the leaks further down. I guess it’s due to the parkade facility and the way it was constructed.”
Kennedy says they are the oldest art gallery in the Interior, around since the 1940’s.
“We’ve never had a permanent home. We’ve always just been bumped from location to location.”
The gallery has been in its present site, under the parkade, for 20 years.
The museum has to store artifacts in closets and lockers, putting them at risk and out of view to visitors.
“It was built in 1967 and has grown a lot since then. They did have a vault space, but it has long since been filled up. It’s their job to preserve the stories of the community, and they’re out of room, and there’s still more stories coming,” says Kennedy.
Kennedy and Roger Lamoureaux, interim executive director of the museum, are urging Greater Vernon residents to vote Yes in the referendum Oct 20th.
It will seek approval to borrow 25 million dollars for a new cultural centre costing 40 million dollars.
The other 15 million would come from fundraising and grants.
It would be built on the city owned Vernon block in downtown Vernon, site of the former Coldstream Hotel.