Correction: Three paintings were removed from a Cary medical office building managed by Healthcare Trust of America. A previous version of this story and accompanying photo captions incorrectly said art was removed from a Wake Radiology office. Wake Radiology leases space in the building but does not own the building nor has any connection to art on display.
Sonia Kane’s three paintings were supposed to hang in the lobby of a Cary medical office building for three months as part of an exhibition.
But the Raleigh artist was stunned to learn two of them – valued at $450 each – had disappeared when she went to pick them up Feb. 16.
“Over the last 10 years I’ve probably shown my work 50 different times in different places, and of all the artists that I’ve spoken with, nobody has ever had this happen before,” Kane said. “It was a real shock ... You don’t expect somebody is just going to take them off the wall.”
She wasn’t the only artist to have her works inexplicably removed from the office behind WakeMed. Three pieces were by Cary artist Louise Fass.
The five pieces are estimated to be worth $1,900. Two of Fass’s abstract paintings were valued at $250 each, she said, while the third was $500.
It’s unknown when the art was taken from the office building at 300 Ashville Ave., which is managed by Healthcare Trust of America. There are no surveillance cameras in the building’s lobby, where the art was hanging, said Dee Johnson, the building’s manager.
“It was a very unfortunate incident,” Johnson said. “We have absolutely no idea what happened.”
Employees of the downstairs offices say it’s not uncommon to see art going in and out of the building, but they always assume it belongs to the person picking them up.
“I was really shocked. and that was pretty silly of me to be shocked,” Fass said. “I always thought that places like that had surveillance cameras so there would be some deterrent.”
The artists’ works were part of an exhibition organized by the Fine Arts League of Cary, a local nonprofit.
Kane’s paintings are of a hanging lemon and a landscape. Fass’s paintings are more abstract and she said she didn’t have photos of two of them, titled “Spring” and “Fall.” She said she had just finished them before the exhibition began and “hadn’t had a chance to document them,” which she now regrets.
“They were abstract paintings with a sense of season and a little bit of imagery in them,” she said.
The works are 12-by-16 inches; 12-by-30 inches or 16-by-20 inches, or too large to fit under a coat.
The artists filed a report with the Cary Police Department on Feb. 16. They said they don’t expect to see their works again.
A week before Fass heard her pieces were stolen she had visited the office for an appointment. She checked the hallways for her work but didn’t see them.
“I didn’t think they were stolen,” she said. “I just thought there was a hallway I didn’t know about.”
Throughout the year, artists can exhibit their works through the Fine Arts League of Cary at several locations throughout town, including the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, the Cary Ballet Conservatory and Glenaire Retirement Community. The nonprofit, its members and the hosting facility are not responsible for loss or damage of any cause, according to the Fine Arts League of Cary.
A representative from the organization could not be reached for comment.
“It’s made me think if I want to participate in some other places,” Fass said. “I definitely will check to see what their arrangement is in the future.”
Meanwhile, Johnson said the facility no longer will exhibit art through the Fine Arts League of Cary, because there were already plans to purchase art for the building.
“It had nothing to do with this incident,” she said.
Kane and Fass said they believed the Fine Arts League of Cary had never had paintings stolen before.
“I think it affects all artists because all artists want to be able to trust where they hang their work,” Kane said. “Artists hang in restaurants. Artists hang in banks ... We’re generally happy to put it there, and we’d like to continue to feel good about putting out our work without feeling our work is going to be stolen.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon