Johannesburg Art Gallery

Johannesburg Art Gallery Temporarily Closes Due to Rain Damage

James de Villiers of News24 reports that the Johannesburg Art Gallery in South Africa has temporarily shut down due to damage caused by heavy rainfall. According to city officials, the gallery has no budget for repairs and has had problems with a leaky roof since 1989.

Nonhlanhla Sifumba, a representative from the mayoral committee for community development, said, “The previous administration left the facility in shambles.” Staff members were forced to remove artworks from the walls and store them in the basement during a recent downpour. She added, “We could not risk the lives of our employees after emergency services, occupational health and safety, and risk management were all called to the scene and advised that the facility be closed.”

Over the years, the gallery has faced mismanagement of funds, poor workmanship on building repairs, lack of maintenance, and thieves who steal copper from the exterior of the building. Millions of dollars were allocated to the gallery prior to its centenary celebrations in 2015, but almost nothing was done to renovate the venue. However, the gallery’s years of neglect may be coming to an end. Sifumba believes that the city’s new administration is “committed to fixing this historic and important institution which will play an important role in boosting tourism and maintaining the city’s status as the home of the arts.”