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Vancouver Mural Festival’s augmented reality exhibits vandalized (PHOTOS)

The damaged exhibits were a part of the festival’s special winter edition

Several downtown augmented reality exhibits created by the Vancouver Mural Festival were hit by vandalism Thursday night.

The exhibits were created in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by the VMF so people could still enjoy the art while remaining physically distanced. Called VMF Winter Arts, the project was intended to blur the line between the real and virtual world.

On Friday morning though some of the exhibits near the Vancouver Art Gallery, including the “Blob House” exhibit, were left in tatters.

“Someone went on a vandalism spree downtown, smashing multiple augmented reality exhibits that were part of #vanmuralfest,” Twitter user Eddy Elmer wrote Friday morning. “Angry b/c lots of effort went into this project that was intended to bring some joy during a dark time.”

In later posts, Elmer said he reported the vandalism to the Vancouver Police Department and was pleased to hear that others had called in the same thing. Elmer noted that police were previously unaware of other damaged installations on Lot 19 on West Hastings.

Andrea Curtis, VMF's executive director emailed Vancouver Is Awesome this statement addressing the damage.

"We're saddened this morning by the vandalism to our augmented reality exhibits. Our team is busy assessing the damage, and will be removing pieces which are beyond repair. Meanwhile, we're grateful to the community who has been grabbing photos and alerting us of the damage," Curtis wrote. "The general response to VMF Winter Arts has been tremendous, and we won't let acts of vandalism deter us from continuing to bring works of public art to our streets."

VIA has also reached out to the VPD for comment.