Gerda Hofman, a Nanaimo artist, replaces damaged and stolen images that were part of the Jean Burns Project, part of the City of Nanaimo’s temporary outdoor public art program. (KARL YU/The News Bulletin)

Gerda Hofman, a Nanaimo artist, replaces damaged and stolen images that were part of the Jean Burns Project, part of the City of Nanaimo’s temporary outdoor public art program. (KARL YU/The News Bulletin)

Damaged, stolen art replaced at Jean Burns building

Art and photos at historic building site were installed Thursday in downtown Nanaimo

Jean Burns Project volunteers have had to do beautification work on the old building site once again after pictures were damaged and stolen.

The project saw paintings and photos of the city gracing the downtown Nanaimo building site, which was gutted by fire in March 2016 and demolished this past March, but Gerda Hofman, Nanaimo artist and project organizer, said many needed replacing.

“When we put them up in the first place, we had 22 boards of archival pictures, but 15 were [destroyed or stolen],” said Hofman. “I go and have them printed at Art Prints. We still had a little in contingency funds, but that’s completely gone now.”

Hofman and volunteers installed the new images with metal bracketing on Thursday in the hopes of avoiding repeat incidents, and she doesn’t know what to do if more vandalism and theft takes place.

“We hope that these bars and screws will deter people from damaging them and stealing them,” said Hofman. “The artwork is still in good order. They seem to be going after the archival pictures unfortunately and actually, it would be unfortunate if they damage anything. Why damage things? What’s the use of that?”

Following a 2017 report from the City of Nanaimo, $45,000 was designated for more security downtown and urban cleanup, and while two security guards are patrolling the area, it is only during daytime hours and more needs to be done to prevent incidents like this from happening again, said Kevan Shaw, Victoria Crescent Association president.

“We need more people to prevent that down here,” said Shaw. “We need more people taking ownership of the downtown. All the residents, the taxpayers, the business owners, the property owners, we need them to take ownership and if they see anything happening, either phone the police or yell out – watch your own safety – but say, ‘Get away from there. Don’t do that,’ and that’s what we need. We need public involvement here … We’ve got to stop this lawlessness.”

Businesses stepped up and donated money to the project and money also came from the City of Nanaimo via its temporary outdoor public art program.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island University organizations are raising awareness about gender-based violence during 16 Days of Activism, which includes the Red Dress Project hosted by VIUSU that aims to honour the memory of Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. (Vancouver Island University photo)
City proclamation calls on Nanaimo to unite to end violence against women

16 Days of Activism campaign started Nov. 25, continues to Dec. 10

The Nanaimo Rona location. (News Bulletin photo)
Rona home improvement store in Nanaimo advises customers that worker has COVID-19

Store re-opened Sunday after being closed for cleaning Saturday

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Const. Joshua Waltman brings knowledge gained from working with people experiencing homelessness in Surrey to his new role as the RCMP’s mental health liaison officer in Nanaimo where he will work with people from across society who find themselves struggling with mental health crisis. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP’s mental health liaison says his role will take persistence and resilience

Const. Joshua Waltman talks about limiting anxiety and gaining trust of people in mental crises

Two drivers were taken to hospital with unknown injuries after a hatchback and a convertible collided on the old Island Highway at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Drivers taken to hospital after T-bone crash on the old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Convertible and hatchback collided at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon, impacting traffic

Local poet and VIU professor Sonnet L’Abbé wrote and performed a song as part of the city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo/Port Theatre)
Poet pens song as part of city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign

Sonnet L’Abbé encourages a friend to move to the city in ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’

Janice Perrino, Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation CEO, holds information brochures for the Light the Trees campaign, part of an effort to raise $5 million for the new intensive care unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Million-dollar donation has Light the Trees campaign off to a bright start in Nanaimo

Windsor Plywood Foundation supports Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A rendering of a restaurant building making up part of a development permit application for 113 and 161 Island Highway in Parksville. (IAG Developments image)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers restaurant/RV campground application to staff for further improvements

Most Read