Vandals suck funds from Serpentine Gallery

Serpentine Community Gallery director Corinne Batt-Rawden pictured at an Artisans Flash mob outside the Gallery in Magellan Street. A vandal attack and a break-in have cost money the gallery had hoped would go towards art.
Serpentine Community Gallery director Corinne Batt-Rawden pictured at an Artisans Flash mob outside the Gallery in Magellan Street. A vandal attack and a break-in have cost money the gallery had hoped would go towards art. Cathy Adams

LISMORE'S much-loved Serpentine Community Gallery has been in the wars of late.

The well known community hub for local artists was the victim of a break and enter last weekend and a smashed window the week before.

The window smashing occured on the Friday night of the North Coast National, while gallery volunteers were then hard at work running the gallery's stall at the show raising money for their exhibitions.

Gallery manager Corinne Batt-Rawden said it was a shock to have more than half of the funds raised from the show stall go towards the damage bill, which was quoted at around $600.

"It's a shame because we all worked 15 hour days at the Lismore show for a week building our set, and running a cafe and free art demonstrations," Ms Batt-Rawden said.

"We raised $1000, and then to come back and get a quote for $600 to replace the window - it's hard."

The window smashing was followed up by an apparently unrelated break and enter last weekend between Sunday afternoon and Monday.

Petty cash from the gallery till was taken as well as the float for the gallery's upcoming ball on Friday night - a total of $175.

"Nothing in six years and then twice in a week - someone said it comes in threes, so we should be careful," said Ms Batt-Rawden

A call out on the gallery's Facebook group has raised some money towards the damage bill, as well as a local window business dropping their price for replacing the window by $100.

The gallery is booked out all next year, and gets about 3500 visitors annually.

"There's such a need for a community space for people to exhibit their work - we're flat out, seven days a week," Ms Batt-Rawden said.

"We're unfunded, 100% volunteer run, on the generosity of the community - we pay our own rent, business rates, and we subsidise every artist that comes in here, and we're continually fundraising to have an accessible gallery."

A forensic officer attended the scene of last weekend's break and enter and are awaiting fingerprint and DNA details.

Police have requested anyone who might have seen something between 2pm on Sunday and 2pm on Monday in the area of the gallery, however slight or seemingly insignificant, to contact police.

Topics:  art serpentine gallery vandalism

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