Less than a week after they were installed, the decorative Adirondack-style chairs in Peachland’s Heritage Park were found damaged.
The chairs were from Lake Country ArtWalk, an annual arts festival held in the B.C. interior, which showcases art and live performances. As with many festivals, ArtWalk was canceled for this year but chairperson Sharon McCoubrey said they wanted to continue to support artists and showcase their art.
So, the ArtChairs continued, with 14 communities in the Okanagan receiving three chairs, including the District of Peachland.
But according to district staff, the chairs were out less than five days when they were found damaged. McCoubrey said the damage done to the chairs was someone deliberately using some kind of tool and scraping the chairs in different places, lifting up parts of the artwork painted onto them.
“We haven’t had yet the opportunity to examine the chairs directly and decide how the repairs are going to happen,” she said.
“Of course, we need to consult with the artists who created each of those images and have them involved in the process as well.”
District staff have now taken the chairs and put them in the public works yard until ArtWalk staff can come and see the damage done to them. McCoubrey confirmed they want to restore the chairs as soon as they are able and put them out again for the public to enjoy.
“The whole project has a two-fold goal: that we bring some art out to the communities and for the general public to enjoy, and that we would support artists during a time when a lot of things have been shut down because of COVID,” she said.
“And I think the project has achieved those… but this (incident) is sad. It is sad, but this is just something we’ll have to work around.”
The district has said in a statement that instances of vandalism in Peachland are low, but they are now monitoring the situation. Staff said they will re-evaluate the chairs’ location once they are repaired.