We are sad to report that our art collection and archive, both of which date back to the beginnings of Room 13 in 1994, have been badly damaged by a flood of sewage in our premises at The Window, gallery and project space in Caol Shopping Centre.
The flood, which happened early in the New Year, was the result of a blockage in the drain further down the street. Under a build-up of pressure, sewage was forced out through the toilet in Room 13’s premises at the end of the block, covering much of the ground floor.
We would like to thank the local representatives of Scottish Water, who attended very quickly to remove the blockage. They also assisted and gave advice in dealing with the aftermath; as a result of their help it has been possible to contain the problem and assess the damage.
The art collection – canvases, works on paper and framed works, plus archive material, papers and photographs documenting Room 13 since its beginnings in 1994, were being temporarily stored in the Window following the emptying and demolition of Caol and Lochyside RC Primary Schools. The majority of works in the collection were created by young artists in Caol and Lochyside Primary School Room 13 studios between 1994-2016. Among the works were several large scale canvases that had previously been exhibited in major galleries in Scotland, and across Europe.
The Room 13 team and Board are horrified by what has happened and deeply upset at the loss of an invaluable and irreplaceable asset.
Room 13 International CEO Claire Gibb, has been involved the project since she was a teenager and witnessed the creation of many of the artworks, now lost, said:
“It is heart-breaking that so much of Room 13’s history has been destroyed. This is going to be met with huge disappointment and sadness, not just by the community of Caol who take such pride in the work these young people have created over the years, but our worldwide community who have followed and supported our progress for years.”
Gallery-owner and Room 13 International Trustee Andrew Sinclair said:
“We are taking advice from professional cleaning and restoration experts as to how many of the works can be saved. This is a case of appalling bad luck and bad timing. Up until a few weeks ago these works, which have been exhibited to international acclaim, were hanging on the walls of local schools. A comprehensive cataloguing of the collection was due to take place in 2017, with plans underway for key works to be hung in public spaces throughout the town.”
A full statement about the status of the Room 13 collection will be issued once the assessment of damage is complete.