- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The Taube Museum of Art is counting on community support as it attempts to raise $30,000 in the next several weeks.

The museum sustained water damage from sewer backup and flooding in June that went beyond what insurance has covered. Executive director Nancy Walter said she is confident art supporters will come to the museum’s rescue so that art education and gallery displays will continue on the same scale as they have in the past.

“I am thinking positively. Our community is very supportive. We will get it done, one way or another. It will just take a little time to coordinate everything and get things moving,” Walter told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1MpC2IN ).

Last year, the museum completed a big project, spending $50,000 on its new entrance. Half the money was raised locally to match a grant, but the Taube had three years to collect the funds.

So raising $30,000 in a matter of weeks might seem daunting. However, the nonprofit organization already has received jumpstart donations from a few members as well as initial contributions through its “Back from the Brink” campaign.

“We would really like to have it done by mid-November so it’s done for the holidays,” Walter said. The Taube holds an open house during the downtown celebration on the day after Thanksgiving and will host its annual tour of homes on Dec. 5.

The Taube is not at this time seeking volunteer labor, preferring to raise the money to contract the work to get repairs done more quickly. If inadequate money is raised, the Taube then will look to volunteers for the finishing work, Walter said.

The Taube’s troubles began June 19 when heavy summer rain fell and pooled on Central Avenue, which was excavated next to the museum as part of a major downtown infrastructure replacement project. The sewer backed up, leaving a layer of sordid water throughout the basement of the Taube. Two days later, more water, although clear, came out through the sewer system. The infrastructure contractor was able to fix the source of the problem, but water flooded into the building a third time in the process.

Walter said the museum’s insurance carrier covered the cost of the cleanup from the first event, but any repeated work was not again covered. The insurance failed to cover the full cost of cleanup or any restoration.

“We did find out that our insurance coverage probably needs to be reviewed, and we are going to take care of that,” Walter said.

Walter said the Taube has never previously had water or sewer damage in the 18 years that it has operated in its current building. The museum has been existence in some form for 45 years.

Walter added the organization has worked with the downtown infrastructure contractor and city on possible damage reimbursement without success. Litigation isn’t considered an option because of the cost and delay it would cause in making the repairs.

With other avenues exhausted, the Taube is now, nearly three months later, turning to the community for help.

Restoration is needed on two art education classrooms, public restrooms and a lower gallery that features local and regional artists.

This month, the exhibit scheduled for the lower gallery was moved to the already occupied upper gallery, which was able to accommodate the second exhibit. The artist scheduled for the lower gallery in October canceled, eliminating the need to try to find new space.

This past summer, art classes and programs for children were squeezed into space on the main level.

The basement of the Taube covers a large area, with many nooks and crannies, Walter said. The only area spared water damage was one of the closets. A cabinet and some shelving also were damaged when they were moved during cleanup and will need to be repaired or replaced.

“We did lose a little bit of supplies, but nothing too significant,” Walter said.

She explained that members had prepared for potential flooding in 2011 by boxing items in totes and getting them off the floor. Although the Taube didn’t flood in 2011, those precautions paid off last June.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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