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March 5, 2010

Gallery should stay put, advocates say

Moving the Vancouver Art Gallery would empty out the heart of the city, make no economic sense, and do nothing to improve the situation for art, say a chorus of advocates from arts and urban-planning circles.

“The Olympics have proven that the gallery has the best site in Canada. It’s the perfect location,” said architect Bing Thom, who says there is a group, including former board members, coming together to advocate that the gallery stay where it is.

That response comes in the wake of news Thursday that the gallery has abandoned plans to move to False Creek, but is still pushing to build something double the current size on the empty lot across the street from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. That comes in the wake of a hugely successful couple of weeks during the Olympics, when 100,000 people visited.

“There’s a whole bunch of us in town wanting to say the business case for the move is not convincing,” Mr. Thom said. “The feeling is that we have a small number of people on an ego trip, wanting to do a Bilbao” – referring to the attention-grabbing Guggenheim Museum built by Frank Gehry in Spain.

The Globe and Mail