Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is located in the downtown core of the Halifax Regional Municipality. The gallery gives an overview of Nova Scotia art and artists primarily through regional exhibitions, collections, and educational activities. The gallery's stated mission is to provide residents and visitors with a variety of quality art experiences that inspire them to engage with each other and the world around them.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia was founded in 1887 and is the oldest art gallery in Canada. The gallery has changed locations a few times over the years, but it has been located at its current location on 1747 Summer Street since 1981. The building that currently houses the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia was originally built as the Halifax City Hall in 1875. The City Hall was destroyed by fire in 1922, and the current building was rebuilt in 1924. The building was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm (closed on Mondays). Admission is free for children aged 12 and under, and admission rates are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students or youth aged 13 to 19. Entry is free to everyone on Wednesday nights from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has a variety of permanent art collections that are displayed in the galleries throughout the building. The gallery's holdings include over 6,000 pieces of art including paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, and drawings. There are several notable Canadian artists whose work is represented within these collections including Leonard Richmond and Donald Buchanan. In addition to the galleries throughout the front building hosting permanent exhibitions also include a Scotiabank Community Studio in which kids can paint their own artworks inspired by current exhibits during Open Studio periods held every weekday.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery hosts several travelling exhibits from other galleries and museums each year, as well as a number of solo and group exhibitions featuring artists and artwork from Atlantic Canada. The gallery also features weekday children's art workshops and public lectures on contemporary art issues given by local and international experts within the field. Public education programs are offered for all age groups, along with an outreach program that provides access to under-served communities through touring exhibits.
One such exhibit was held during the fall of 2015 celebrating female designers called “Herstory: Canadian Women in Design.” Within this exhibition over 150 pieces were showcased by over 50 Canadian women who have significantly contributed to the design industry within Canada.
In addition to the exhibitions held at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the gallery also funds and supports a number of annual community art events as part of its mandate to provide opportunities for citizens to engage with contemporary visual culture. In 2015-2016 these include: Open Studio, a program allowing children grades 1-12 to develop their artistic skills through weekly classes offered by professional artists; Nurture Project's First Big Arts Festival provides a platform for children from birth through age 8 to explore gallery spaces in ways that encourage personal learning and development, creating a warm and welcoming entry point into contemporary arts practice; Another Time / Autre fois is an outdoor performance event organized each year during Nocturne: New Year's Eve festival of art and culture with the goal to bridge the gap between artists and audiences by taking contemporary art out of the gallery space and into public venues; The Atlantic Film Festival's Industry Conference provides opportunities for emerging Atlantic Canadian film professionals to learn from more experienced industry veterans.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is an important cultural institution in Halifax, and it offers a variety of programming that is accessible to everyone. The gallery is a great place to visit for anyone interested in Canadian art, or in exploring the history of Halifax. I would definitely recommend a visit if you're ever in town!