An art piece was stolen from an Abbotsford C building art gallery while the exhibit was left temporarily unattended on Nov. 20. The artwork was on loan from a UFV alumni, and part of an exhibit by a current UFV student curator.
A second art piece was reported stolen from another UFV gallery sometime during the week of Nov. 27. The piece was the work of a current UFV student, and small enough to be easily slipped into a pocket or backpack.
No connection between the two robberies has been reported, but UFV security manager Mike Twolan said over email that the investigation is ongoing.
This is reportedly the first art robbery UFV has experienced. It has raised questions about the security of other art pieces displayed at UFV, many of which have monetary and sentimental value to the artists.
“This is deeply upsetting. The artists have lost irreplaceable pieces which required hours of work,” said Alisa Webb, UFV associate dean of students, over email.
Webb described the first stolen art work as a textile-based piece that was hand dyed, painted, and airbrushed.
The second piece is one of four identical elements of a sculpture.
Campus planning and security will discuss security procedures on campus, particularly around the UFV art galleries.
“We have increased security patrols, so this should be visible to most,” said Twolan. “There are a number of other measures put in place, but we are not at liberty to expand on that specific part of the investigations.”
Webb was unable to speculate on what would motivate someone to take the artwork.
“Exhibiting work is an important part of creating art — something which benefits not only the artist, but also the viewers who get to engage with the creations of others,” said Webb. “It is of vital importance to recognize that art pieces displayed on campus are personal property, reflecting significant investment on the part of the artist. We welcome viewers to view them, but remind all that taking them is theft.”
Anyone with information on the thefts is encouraged to come forward to security, either anonymously or in person.
“There may be people out in the UFV community that have information which would be helpful in this investigation,” said Twolan. If someone comes into contact with the missing art, please notify security immediately. Those works of art have meaning for the creators of said pieces. They need to be found and returned.”