Bronze sculptures go missing from Beach gallery
Beach resident Christi Johnson can’t help but take the theft of two bronze sculptures from her art gallery personally.
Designed and sculpted by Queen West artist Julie Campagna, the unique 12-inch-tall works of art named Bugged and Liquid retail for nearly $2,000 each.
Johnson noticed they were missing from Great Spirit Gallery at 2142A Queen St. E. at Scarborough Beach Boulevard, the morning of Thursday, Nov. 5.
This theft is the biggest one since she opened the gallery a year ago.
“I can’t believe it,” Johnson said. “I’m a start-up business and this feels like a personal slight. I’ve worked my butt off to make this business happen.” A report has been filed with the police.
Johnson, who has lived near Queen Street East and Coxwell Avenue for more than 10 years, said she suspects the culprit could be a woman about 5’9” tall with long brown hair who had come by the gallery three or four time in the last week. She said the woman was acting strangely and didn’t venture past the front area of the gallery.
Johnson said she suspects the pieces were removed on two different occasions.
“It is a huge loss for our gallery and our humble artist,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“If anyone sees these sculptures please be so kind as to return them. We will not ask questions. We just want them back.”
Because she is a new business owner operating on a shoestring budget, Johnson requires all of her exhibiting artists to have their own insurance to cover incidents like theft.
“If I had to pay out that amount to the artist I’d literally have to close,” she said.
Regardless, Johnson said she intends to help Campagna recover some of the costs.
“This is a direct theft from a sweet, humble artist,” said Johnson, who is also an artist.
“This is just a complete loss for all of us. I just want those pieces back.”
Johnson said Great Spirit Gallery is all about supporting local, east-end artists, both established and emerging.
“I can’t fathom why someone would do this. They obviously don’t realize the impact of their actions,” she said.