Red Deer’s museum closing for renovations

Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery closed for renovations on the weekend — but not before visitors made their mark with paint brushes and markers on museum walls Saturday afternoon.

Jude

Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery closed for renovations on the weekend — but not before visitors made their mark with paint brushes and markers on museum walls Saturday afternoon.

The $1.2-million renovation includes drywalling the canvas-covered walls and removing some interior walls to create a moveable wall system to create an 8,000 square foot flexible space to accommodate large exhibits.

Saturday’s community art work will be preserved behind drywall which can be exposed by future generations, like a time capsule.

“All the paintings will be here. You won’t be able to see them after the renovations, but they will be there giving off their vibes,” said museum executive director Lorna Johnson amid the music and creativity Saturday afternoon.

A crowd of painters, young and old, picked up brushes to dab paint designs on eight walls.

Tori Ginter, six-and-a-half-years old, of Red Deer, had a container of violet paint.

“It’s a really good colour. This is my first flower,” said the young artist.

Her mother Haeley Ginter said Tori’s canvas is usually the driveway which she decorates with chalk.

“This is great for them to have this freedom,” said Ginter, wondering if her daughter’s grandchildren may someday see Tori’s name beside the violet tulip.

“Wouldn’t that be something.”

Even though the museum is expected to be closed for renovations until January, museum activities will continue at Parkland Mall where the mall has generously provided a retail space and a centre court area to hold regular activities like MAGnificent Saturdays, artsparks, and MAG Cafe.

The first exhibit at the mall, Kitchen Talk by Vivian Bennett, will open on Friday (MAY2).

Johnson said the mall has been outstanding to work with and is anxious for the museum succeed at the mall.

“It’s just such a great opportunity for us to talk to people who aren’t our usual clients and find out for the future museum what they are looking for.”

The museum will operate at the mall Monday to Friday from noon to 8:00 p.m. and weekends and holidays from noon to 5:00 p.m. The phone number will stay the same — 403-309-8405.

In February, the museum’s washrooms were upgraded as part of the renovations. The 30-year-old museum will also get a new lighting system that meets museum standards, a reconfigured entrance with a reception desk by the front door, an updated studio for art classes, and more work space for staff.

“When this building was designed and built there were three staff. I now have 11.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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