'Devastating' theft targets VIVO Media Arts Centre

Artist-run centre raised $1,200 in two hours for urgent security upgrades

A smash and grab theft has left the VIVO Media Arts Centre short thousands of dollars in equipment and damage to its building on Kaslo Street.

Thieves broke into the not-for-profit, artist-run centre on May 13. They came through the front door and targeted the main office, taking digitization tools, computers, hardware, headphones and other specialized equipment.

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The Courier could not immediately reach VIVO staff for comment Thursday evening.

An online fundraiser generated more than $1,200 two hours after it was posted May 18 by Karen Knights, a curator and arts critic on the management team at VIVO.

“For most non-profits, losses like these are devastating. It certainly is for us. We need funds urgently to get back to full capacity and to secure the valuable resource that you have all helped build over the years,” Knight wrote on a GoFundMe page where she was appealing for emergency funding to install new security on the entrance.

VIVO opens its doors to a wide range of activity, including media arts production, distribution education, public programs and entertainment. Previously located on Main Street, the centre moved east four years ago to Kaslo Street near East Broadway.

In the Crista Dahl Media Library, VIVO  houses the largest archive of video art in western Canada.

“After years of hard work and investment from staff, members, volunteers, and our funders and donors to make the Kaslo space our home and a centre for community activity, we’re disheartened by the material and immaterial costs and the work ahead of us to restore what was lost,” wrote Knight.

“Staff and volunteers are working hard to re-establish all data and systems, and to make our space more safe and secure in the future. Some of our operations are limited as a result, and we ask for your patience as we get things back to normal.”

She laid out the “urgent” next steps, primarily upgrades to security alarms and front entrance barriers.

“Every item stolen is critical to our day-to-day operations and must be replaced. We have insurance, but it will not fully cover all our losses,” she wrote.

“Since the thieves managed to break in despite our perimeter security fence and alarm system, we are immediately upgrading our security measures with the money raised through this campaign.”

VIVO seeks to raise $5,000 through its GoFundMe campaign online.

mstewart@vancourier.com

Twitter: @MHStewart

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