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Vancouver Art Gallery Launches Fundraising Campaign To Help It Safely Support Communities During The COVID-19 Crisis

SIX FEET APART BUT CLOSER THAN EVER TO ART

Vancouver Art Gallery Launches Fundraising Campaign To Help It Safely Support Communities During The COVID-19 Crisis

The Vancouver Art Gallery has mastered the art of social distancing long before it was a thing. To preserve artworks for future generations, visitors are asked to not touch the art. Works are generally touched only if they need special care, and our conservators wear gloves in these cases. With multiple galleries the Gallery's visitors enjoy plenty of personal space as they journey through its floors. Even 1931 Gallery Bistro is distance friendly; diners can enjoy their delicious meals while sitting at well-spaced tables.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought a different kind of distancing to the Gallery. Since reopening in June, revenue-important income that allows the Gallery to continue its operations-has kept its distance from the 89-year old art institution.

The summer months are usually the busiest months for the Vancouver Art Gallery, but with the pandemic putting a stop to international tourism, attendance has been at only 20% compared to previous years. Without tours, event rentals, school groups, festivals and corporate gatherings--not to mention fewer local visitors--the Gallery faces its most challenging time in its history.

"The pandemic has been very challenging for everyone," said Anthony Kiendl, CEO/Gallery Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. "First and foremost, we recognize that this is a public health crisis, and safety has to be our primary concern, including support for front-line workers. Contributing to the Gallery through this campaign means we in turn can continue to support local artists through programs, exhibitions and acquisitions. The arts and artists have suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic, while at the same time offering hope and solace to the world. Our focus during COVID has been on staying open for the public, supporting our communities through our programs, and pivoting so that we can be part of the recovery. Galleries are uniquely positioned to provide a safe ongoing operating environment, and we continue to serve a public that is facing real challenges, including stress and impact on mental health. We are here to be part of the recovery and ultimately kick-starting the economy, and continued support of the Gallery at this time will in turn enable us to move forward in this way, creating stronger and more resilient communities."

Despite the challenges that the pandemic has created, the Vancouver Art Gallery intends to persevere. It continues to practice strict anti-COVID measures-among them mandatory masks, timed ticketing, contact tracing and, of course, social distancing-so that visitors can enjoy immersive and unique visual art experiences in the safest way possible as prescribed by BC's top health officials. Despite the six feet apart rule, the Gallery is committed to remaining a positive force in this community, encouraging creativity and bringing diverse people together through art, either on-site or through a wide array of virtual education programs.

A fundraising campaign has launched calling upon Vancouver and the rest of BC to offer immediate support to this iconic and beloved institution with a donation. Contributions will go towards supporting this community-based organization directly and ensure that children, students, families, seniors and all members of the general public across this city and province can continue to engage with inspiring art from here and around the world.

Gifts can be made by mail, online at vanartgallery.bc.ca/donate or by calling 778-839-7623.

Photo Credit: Vancouver Art Gallery Members Morning, October 17, Anita Bonnarens




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