Lucky escape in Mann Gallery flood

By Glenn Hicks
January 4, 2018 - 8:00am

Prince Albert’s Mann Art Gallery will re-open Monday after a flood forced its closure during the very cold weather last week. There was no significant damage but things could have been far worse.

“By luck and chance we had someone on duty in the afternoons between Christmas and New Year this year when previously we’ve been closed,” Gallery Director and Curator Jesse Campbell said.

“Our staff member basically heard a loud crack and noticed water seeping in from the entrance way, and that’s when she detected a fire sprinkler head had burst,” Campbell said. She said it’s tough to figure exactly how much water flooded across the floor but the pipe was “gushing for just over an hour” and made its way into several rooms.

As it happens the art that was on display was on paper which is extremely susceptible to changes in the environment.

“We’ve very fortunate the water didn’t touch them and it looks like the changes in humidity so far haven’t had any effects either,” she said.

As gallery and city staff immediately attended to cleaning out the mess those paper-based exhibits, by Mac Home and Patrick Bulas, were removed and will not be on show any more. However, Campbell said the planned pieces for later this month such as Life Drawing, Wolf Back A Beer and The Winter Festival Art Show and Sale (artwork drop-off) will go ahead as scheduled.

Asked what lessons have been learned from the narrow escape Campbell said it’s a reminder to make sure everything is running as it’s supposed to especially when there’s sustained extreme weather.

“So for example, there needs to be as source of heat so nothing bursts again and make sure precious items and files are off the floor,” she said.

But given the potential for extreme damage from a fire suppression system Campbell is blessing the arts gods.

“It’s an inconvenience for sure but we’re resting easy knowing it could have been much, much worse,” she said.


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