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Public Art

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Halifax Central Library - Public Art

The Request for Proposals for Public Art for the new Halifax Central Library (RFP No. P12-039) as awarded toWinnipeg-based artist Cliff Eyland.

Artist Cliff Eyland by the Library art installationArtwork

His project involved the creation of 5,000 paintings specific to this new building, the surrounding community, and the varied users and user-groups of the Library and its institutional and social function, etc. Each of these paintings were created specifically in response to this opportunity and the physical parameters of the building. Each painting measurex 3”x 5” in direct relation to the size of a traditional library index card. Collectively, and from a distance, the paintings will operate as a loose, abstract formal pattern of colours and shapes. Individually, and up close, each painting will embody a particular piece of the overall Library ‘narrative’, to be constructed in close collaboration with library staff and community stakeholders. The collaborative nature of this enterprise was a central focus of the library RFP process.



Artist Cliff EylandArtist

Mr. Eyland was born and raised in Halifax and his proposal exhibited a great deal of familiarity both with the particular history and community context of Halifax, as well as with the Library as a public institution. Mr. Eyland’s 30-year artistic career, beginning as a student of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, has been concerned with a contemplation of the connections between libraries and artistic production.

Halifax Central Library

The Halifax Central Library will be regional resource, an active information place and a reflection of the communities within the Halifax Regional Municipality. It will enhance Halifax Public Libraries’ ability to design and redesign services, and to reach out to and attract more people. Services will be flexible and based on the needs of the community combined with the best that technology has to offer.

Artist Cliff Eyland gives you a personal tour of his public art installation at the Halifax Central Library.


Prodcution - Public Art

Prodcution is a temporary art exhibit located on the second floor of Farrell Hall (276 Windmill Rd) in North Dartmouth. The installation artwork addresses several models for exhibition design through reference to the language of bingo. The project features multiple readings of a small ticket room on the upstairs floor of Farrell Hall as performed by Bronwynne Conrad-Martin, an animator for the Fisherman’s Life Museum on the Eastern Shore. This installation was supported through the HRM open projects program.

Ryan Witt w/Bronwynne Conrad-Martin
Farrell Hall (276 Windmill Rd) - Art exhibition upstairs
September 24th - 26th & 27th
11am to 4pm daily & 8am to 11am on Saturday the 27th

Body of Water - Public Art project that celebrates lake swimming in Halifax

Body of Water image


“Body of Water” is a multimedia experience inviting you to feel the glory of lake swimming in Halifax. The website: was launched with an unusual screening choreographed by Jacinte Armstrong. Screenings took place every 20 minutes with intermittent refreshments.

Saturday, September 27th between 8-10 pm
5521 Cornwallis Street

Body of Water is a production of part & parcel (Veronica Simmonds and Katie McKay) and was made possible with support from: Arts NS, HRM Open Projects, CFAT and the Khyber Centre of the Arts. With the close collaboration of: illustrator Rebecca Roher; composer Alex Melnyk; and web designer Lukas Steinman. As well as the bodies and voices of: Kira Daube, Jude Williams, Annie Macmillan, Casey Schwarz, Nick Dourado, Eva Mooers and Rosalyn Iuliucci.


Point Pleasant Park Artist-in-Residence - Public Art

An Archive of Beautiful Memories 

An interactive audio installation in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, NS. Artist Alexandra Emberley developed the project in response to memoirs written by her students in a Foundations course on Visual Culture at NSCAD University during the Winter Semester, 2011. 


Students were invited to write a memoir on an experience of beauty following a series of lectures and discussion on Elaine Scarry’s Tanner Lectures on Human Values entitled “On Beauty and Being Just” (1998). Twenty-two memoirs have been recorded and will be stationed throughout the park accessible through QR codes. The memoirs are anonymous and can be accessed mainly through visiting park though individual memoirs will be posted here and through the QR code above for a few weeks at a time. The names of the students who contributed to the archive can be found here.

As part of the project, Alexandra also invited designer Rebecca Hannon to create a series of porcelain forms in response to the memoirs. These beautiful sculptures will be on display throughout the park for the duration of the installation. The project will be installed for a year beginning on August 2, 2014. 

Elaine Scarry’s Tanner Lectures “On Beauty and Being Just” (1998) can be found here. The memoir assignment can be found here.

The Artist

Artist Alexandra Emberley photoAlexandra Emberley is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Her work has been exhibited nationally in Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto and Trois-Rivière and internationally in England, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Slovakia and the US. She is the recipient of grants and awards from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Edmonton Arts Council, Arts Nova Scotia and the HRM Open Projects Program. She has participated in artist residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Bentlage Museum and Cultural Centre in Rheine, Germany. For over ten years, Alexandra has taught in Fine Art, Craft & Design Universities across Canada, developing and leading courses in drawing, intermedia, print-media, visual culture and film studies. She completed her studies at the University of Toronto where she received a BA in Philosophy & Cinema Studies and at York University (Toronto) where she completed an MFA in Film & Video and an interdisciplinary PhD in Culture, Language & Teaching. Recently, she returned to undertake further study in the fine arts at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) completing an MFA in Printmaking in December, 2013.


Halifax Transit Bridge Terminal- Public Art

Halifax-based artist Sara Hartland Rowe is currently working on a public art piece for the Halifax Transit Bridge Terminal.


Sara’s proposal for the transit terminal project involves the creation of a large-scale, wall-mounted installation of laser cut sheet metal elements drawn from the artist’s sketches of transit users, the facility and the Common, amongst other things. Together these ‘sketches’, derived from particular drawings, will be brought together to form a bold and energetic image that will reinforce the sense of movement of buses and people through the terminal space, and more widely throughout HRM. The installation will run the length of the large retaining wall beneath the terminal’s pedestrian bridge and will combine elements of human figures and landscape features.


A lifelong transit user herself, Sara is committed to creating an artwork that enhances the user experience of the Halifax Transit system. Sara says, “The intention is that this artwork be embedded in the experience of travel, the images drawn from a real engagement with the place and the mental space of those of us that travel through the terminal… “

Sara Hartland Rowe on the busSara continues, “In the wall-piece, I would like to show that riding the bus can be sociable or mindful, contemplative or relaxing. Although not documentary or literal, the piece will show people talking, thinking, working, dreaming, reading, resting, and playing, in the terminal or on the bus…it should be beautiful, and pleasurable to engage with. It should enhance and support the space, and be one more enjoyable aspect of our using the terminal.” View "work in progress" photos.


Sara is a Halifax-based painter and an instructor in the painting department at NSCADU since 2001. She has exhibited her work throughout Canada, in the US, the Netherlands, and Argentina and has produced large-scale wall paintings for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Windsor Art Gallery, Museum London, the Durham Art Gallery, the Koffler Gallery and Harbourfront Gallery.

Canada Games Centre - Public Art

Less is Moiré

An interactive sculptural / architectural element created to integrate with the main entry hall of the Canada Games Centre and reflect the underlying nature of a communityaquatics+ recreation facility. The Canada Games Centre was built as a legacy project when Halifax hosted the 2011 Canada Winter Games. It remains a high profile multi-use facility within one of the Halifax region’s most diverse demographic communities.
CGC Art Installation


This sculptural design piece was created via a collaborative and iterative process which brought together a project team with backgrounds in architecture, graphic design and fine art.

The piece is conceived to echo the energy and motion inherent in a community wellness centre and in particular the aquatic focus at the CGC. Undulating sheets of perforated aluminum are used to form an upright standing wave that is also a room which can be entered. The dynamic form and transparent nature of the structure creates a surprisingly breathable interior space.

The perforation pattern on the front + back "walls", combined with their curving surfaces creates an optical interference illusion commonly referred to as a moiré effect. As viewers move past or approach from the main hall, this optical effect becomes very pronounced and active, making wave-like movements and patterns appear in the surface of the sculpture.


Breakhouse Inc. is an award winning multidisciplinary design firm with core expertise in the built and the visual communication worlds. Along with being a comprehensive architectural practice, Breakhouse creates strategies for brands, projects and organizations which it carries through to execution. A committed community builder, Breakhouse leads and takes part in ongoing city building initiatives. In its daily work it creates local and international projects that enhance and transform through the company's belief that Design Makes Everything Better.

Point Pleasant Park Artist-in-Residence - Public Art

Gates for Sojourn

Sarah Burwash, HRM’s artist-in-residence at Point Pleasant Park, will be spending the next several weeks creating a series of park-based installations, Gates for Sojourn, to encourage visitors to access the park in new and exciting ways.


Sarah Burwash far woods imageFour gateway installations made largely of wood and fabric, that included map illustrations, lead park visitors to specific places within the park. Some installations included an information board with instructions and details on where visitors are being lead.

Through this series, Sarah created intimate places that allowed visitors to slow down, pause and experience the park, while also learning about its flora and rich history.

Open Studio Hours - The artist held open studio hours every Thursday from 4-7 pm.

Gates of Sojourn Installation Event - The artist is worked on a series of sculptural installations that were found throughout the park for a one day event on June 25.

Gatekeepers Lodge Social Club - A series of social events were held at the Lodge. The artist hosted table tennis at the Lodge following open studio hours every Thursday for the length of her term. Each gathering had a different discussion theme relating to her research as it pertained to her work and activity during the residency. The intention was to use table tennis as a point of access to the residency and a way to evoke conversations surrounding art, the park, ideas on wilderness, how place and space inform work, etc. in an informal manner.

Picture of artist Sarah BurwashBlog/ Social Media - For project updates, events, work in progress, & research. Check out her blog or instagram sarahlilbur.


Sarah Burwash grew in up in Rossland, B.C. and graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2009 with an interdisciplinary BFA. Working in a variety of media from collage and animation, to ceramics and installation, Sarah’s work most often takes form in narrative watercolour drawings. Her work is included in private and public collections internationally and has been shown in Canada, USA and Europe. She has participated in residencies across North America and abroad, most recently in Suldal, Norway and the Banff Centre. Burwash lives in Nova Scotia, working full time as an artist and freelance illustrator. 

Emera Oval - Public Art

Lace Up at the Emera Oval

A one-of-a-kind sculpture has been erected on the Halifax Common as a tribute to the collective community that made the Halifax 2011 Canada Games one of the most successful in Games history.


Laces sculpture at the Emera OvalCommissioned by the Halifax 2011 Canada Games Host Society, Lace Up depicts shoe and skate laces to create three-dimensional aerial paths that capture the feeling of weightlessness, representing the sense of freedom that people feel when using the Oval. Whether on skates, roller blades, or on foot, people tend to trace elliptical paths when moving around the oval. The artwork’s arching forms invite viewers to stand under the structure or explore its form while sitting on the lace-like benches.

The sculpture has stamped and cut patterns on their broad sides resembling the surfaces of skate laces. Daylight passing through the cut outs create dynamic patterns on the hardscaped surfaces, and at night, an LED system projects light through the cut outs as well. The intersecting lace forms frame views of the sky, the Oval, and the North Commons, allowing the artwork to be well integrated with the site’s landscaped and natural characteristics.

The sculpture was designed by Ilan Sandler and fabricated with the help of his team in Dartmouth, NS.


Head shot of artist Ilan Sandler

Ilan Sandler has shown his sculptures, installations, and videos internationally and across Canada and has completed public art commissions in Toronto, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Busan, South Korea. He installed the public sculpture: A Departure in Lethbridge, Canada in 2009 and The Vessel in Toronto in 2011. He has also produced a large public art work called: What’s Your Name? for North Toronto Collegiate Institute and is currently producing The School Chair for the Halifax Regional Municipality and Under the Helmet for the City of Calgary. During the summer of 2011 Beach Chair was installed in Aarhus, Denmark for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. In 2012 his new series of Urban Artworks called Stolen Parts was premiered in Stockholm. He has received numerous awards, including grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Culture.

Born in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1971, Ilan Sandler and his family immigrated to Toronto six years later, in 1977. Sandler studied at the University of Toronto, where he received a B.Sc. in Physics, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he completed an Honours Fine Arts certificate. In 2000 he was awarded an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He then went on to teach at the University of the Arts and Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, and most recently at NSCAD University where he held a SSHRC Research/Creation Fellowship until 2011. He is currently running Sandler Studio Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More information on Ilan Sandler’s work is available at

Fallen Peace Officers Monument
Fallen Peace Officers Memorial
by Cody Stephenson and Adam Collins
Photograph by Gord Lehmann

The municipality defines public art as being permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary works of art in any media or combination of media that have been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the public realm and accessible to all. Pieces of public art will be created or managed by a professional artist and will be acquired through artist commissions, donations or artist-community collaborations.

The Public Art Policy To PDF Acrobat Tips informs presentations of public art, including temporary and permanent of public art.

Permanent public art describes artworks that are commissioned, designed, fabricated and installed with the intent that they will exist in situ for an ongoing and indefinite period of time. These works are part of the municipality's Public Art Collection, which is maintained on an ongoing basis, and mapped and interpreted as part of Cultural Affairs’ public art education programs.

Temporary public art refers to installations, performances or any other manner of artistic intervention in the public realm where the duration of exhibition or presentation is clearly defined.  Temporary public art animates civic spaces, inspires investiture in these spaces, and in general promotes a critical dialogue about art and public space. Cultural Affairs’ temporary public art programs focus on contemporary art, in particular works that are created through innovative approaches and new media; a focus of the program is to expand the public’s awareness of the diversity and range of public art forms.

For more information on public art within the municipality contact:



Mayor's Poet Laureate

The Mayor's Poet Laureate is a resident poet or spoken word artist who has achieved excellence and whose work is of relevance to its citizens. The Poet Laureate is an advocate for literary arts and reflects the life of the municipal community through program development and community outreach.

For more information on this program contact:

Installation shot of What Could Public Space Also Be? by Better City LAB

Nocturne: Art at Night

Nocturne: Art at Night is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax from 6 p.m.-midnight. The completely free, annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene in Halifax. Nocturne, designed and planned by volunteers, is an opportunity for everyone to experience the art of Halifax in a whole new light. Date: October 17, 2015.

The municipality supports this program through managing the anchor sites for the festival. Civic Events supports this initiative through Civic Events Grants.



Outdoor Public Art

The Outdoor Public Art Inventory of monuments, markers and outdoor sculpture was completed in 2008. It lists the full range of statuary objects and artworks (and murals, in some cases) in the municipality and lists them by district. The municipality is working to map these items and their locations and to make this and other relevant information available to the public.

Maintenance of current public art inventory is ongoing. Priority maintenance needs have been identified for major restoration including The Cenotaph in Grand Parade, completed in November 2009, and the Halifax Airfield Monument in Saunders Park, completed August 2009.

Click on images to enlarge.


The Kiss

Sculptor Andy Francis Cutti created "The Kiss" as one of three statues crafted from a granite staircase that was removed from a renovated building on Barrington Street. The statue, located in front of the YMCA on South Park Street, Halifax, is an abstract image of a couple embracing.





Winston Churchill

The bronze Winston Churchill statute, weighing 1.5 tons and standing ten feet high, is found on the front lawn of the Halifax Public Library branch on Spring Garden Road, Halifax. Oscar Nemon sculpted this statue, honouring Sir Winston Churchill, former Second World War Prime Minister of Great Britain. The statue was unveiled on January 20, 1980, and the figure represents the image of Churchill taken in a photograph while walking in Halifax.




Commissioned by the Atlantic Chief and Petty Officers’ Association, "Sailor" honours the many thousands of sailors who passed through the port of Halifax. The 2.5 ton bronze statue figure's uniform is modelled after that worn by Canadian sailors from the Second World War until the 1960's Canadian Forces unification. "Sailor" is located near the corner of Lower Water and Sackville Streets, Halifax.




The Wave 

"The Wave", created by sculptor Donna Hiebert is located on the Halifax waterfront, in Sackville Landing at the base of Sackville Street. "The Wave" was commissioned by the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation in 1988. The ferro-cement sculpture is painted bluish-green, and represents the shape of an ocean wave standing twelve feet high, with a diameter of thirty feet.



Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

Unveiled, March 17, 1999, by the Charitable Irish Society, the black polished granite Celtic Cross is dedicated to the original Irish settlers of 1749 and to the contributions of the Irish community to Halifax. The twelve foot high statue is located near the corners of Lower Water and George Streets and Bedford Row, Halifax.