Gallery reopened after car smashes through wall


The show must go on, as the expression says, and that’s just what’s happening at the Doris Crowston Gallery after a car smashed through the wall of the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt Feb. 2.

No one was injured, but a painting was destroyed and the damage to the building is extensive.

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“One whole [wall] panel was destroyed. The impact caused it to explode into the gallery,” Sunshine Coast Arts Council administrator Sheenah Main said, adding that a gallery visitor had been standing in that spot just 10 minutes earlier.

A temporary plywood and tarp panel was quickly put in place, so the gallery could reopen, and the Arts Council’s insurance adjusters are assessing the damage and working with the group on a plan for a permanent repair.

“Because we have a character building that was built in 1979, it’s not a straightforward fix in terms of maintaining the integrity of the gallery,” Main said. “The impact was such that it looks like the whole building shifted a bit.”

The gallery was constructed by the late Clarke Steabner of Roberts Creek. Main said they want to ensure the ambiance and feel of the building is maintained.

“It’s a matter of doing justice to it in the reclamation process.”

The painting that was destroyed was by artist Megan Mansbridge, one of three contributors to the exhibits that opened Feb. 1, just a day before the accident. Mieke Bray and Mary Dolman also have works on display at the gallery.

Main said the gallery is back to business as usual and open Wednesdays to Sundays.  A meet-the-artists event scheduled for Feb. 4 was postponed, but it wasn’t because of the accident. The weekend snowstorm was to blame. A new date will be announced soon.

Sunshine Coast RCMP said this week that the cause of the accident appears to have been “driver confusion” and the person behind the wheel of the car may have hit the accelerator instead of the brake, backing into the building. The driver was checked by paramedics at the scene, and didn’t need any other medical treatment.

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