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July 7, 2015

Right Some Ironic, Eh?

I took my sister down to Lunenburg July 5th to see the exhibit at the Lunenburg Art Gallery.  Mary Garoutte, who is an extremely talented artist, has a show.  I remembered getting into the gallery years ago with my wheelchair, but I was disappointed this time.

While I waited in the doorway, I learned that the Lunenburg Art Gallery is a major holder of works by Earl Bailly (1903 - 1977), a much admired  Nova Scotia painter who happened to have had polio and painted with a brush held in his mouth.  The gallery website has a couple for sale at $2,000 each.


I quite like his paintings - in the style of Marsden Hartley and his fellow Monhegan artists - Hopper or Wyeth.

Bailley used a wheelchair.  Here he is with a young Princess Elizabeth

The Lunenburg Art Gallery has no wheelchair access.  The nice docent said they used to have a ramp, but "the authorities" made them remove it because it wasn't up to code.  Catch-22 made manifest.

This is so typical of government - passive-agressive-perfectionism.  Punishing the victim.  Last year, I complimented the province for its Solomonic handling of Speaker Kevin Murphy's ramp in Province House, but now I take it back in the face of this idiocy in Lunenburg.  Murphy gets his ramp, but in the exact same situation, a business is penalized and tourists are discouraged.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, owner of a painting by Baillly, could not visit the gallery.  Bailly himself couldn't see his paintings.  This gallery has a clear message:  Buyers with wheelchairs not welcome.

Here's the thing Bluenosers:  accessibility can sell paintings, encourage visits, maybe even make you famous.  But when you screw it up, it can drive people away.  

Whoever "the authorities" are need to get over themselves.  They're costing people business.

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