September 12, 2017
The Maritimes have been an artist’s haven for decades. Simply take a look at the brightly painted homes that dot our coastlines, and you’ll discover the region’s residents have a flair for colourful, artistic expression. The Maritimes are also home to many artists and art collections, as well as opportunities to try your hand at creating a masterpiece of your own. If you’re interested in taking an artistic journey through the Maritimes, you’ll want to keep this guide close at hand.
Maud Lewis is one of the most renowned folk artists the world has ever known, and she was born and raised right here in the Maritimes. From her tiny home in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Maud Lewis made a huge impact on the art world, and today her paintings routinely sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
For Maud, everything was a canvas, including her home. After she and her husband passed away, their home became the property of the Province of Nova Scotia with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) handling its care. The home was eventually fully restored and moved to the AGNS where it is on permanent display along with a lovingly curated collection of Maud’s paintings.
Today, you can catch a glimpse at what the tiny house looked like when Maud Lewis and her husband Everett called it home. Every detail is accounted for, transporting you back to the mid-1900s and inspiring art lovers young and old.
Beyond their Maud Lewis exhibit, the AGNS is the permanent home to over 17,000 works of art. The largest art gallery in Atlantic Canada, the AGNS is comprised of a main site in Halifax and a satellite location in Yarmouth—not far from where The CAT docks—known as The Western Branch. Each location is committed to making art more accessible to people throughout the province, and features visual artists with strong connections to the region, as well as work from international artists and touring collections that perfectly complement the permanent collection.
Both galleries are open year-round, with the Halifax location offering an admission by donation night every Thursday from 5 pm – 9 pm. You can learn more about their current and upcoming exhibitions on their website.
For one night of the year in October, Halifax transforms into a citywide art installation called Nocturne. This free event showcases the thriving visual arts scene located in Nova Scotia’s capital city. Showcasing a mix of gallery exhibitions and public art installations, Nocturne provides the opportunity for visitors to experience Halifax in an entirely new light, in the dark!
Not far from where the mv Fundy Rose docks in Saint John, you’ll find the Cobalt Art Gallery. Home to what is believed to be the largest commercial collection of art in New Brunswick, the Cobalt places its focus on Maritime artists, as well as Inuit sculptures and Persian rugs. When you visit the gallery (which is pet-friendly) you’ll also have the opportunity to meet the most important piece of their permanent collection, Lucky the gallery cat. She’s super friendly and loves scratches on the head, but she might be a little too busy thinking critically about the collection to chat with you about the works on display!
Learn more about the Cobalt Gallery collection here.
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is the officially designated provincial art gallery of New Brunswick. Opening its doors in 1959, the gallery has undergone many expansions and revitalizations over the years, and today we recognize it as an important home to national and international contemporary art. The Beaverbrook Gallery is home to the New Brunswick Collection, which provides a complete overview of the rich history of visual arts in the province—including works by local Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, and Acadian artists.
Learn more about the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s exhibitions here.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at creating art of your very own, there are many opportunities to do so on PEI, including at What Wood You Make? When you sign up for this special island experience at McAskill’s woodworking, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the art of woodworking on an informative tour. Afterward, you’ll have the chance to take what you’ve learned and create a piece of wooden art for yourself. The team at McAskill’s will walk you through the process as you create something you can keep with you forever.
The Confederation Centre Art Gallery curates important historical works that perfectly blend with contemporary Canadian and international artists. As you walk through this engaging space, you’ll find many traditional works of art, including the famous Charlottetown Revisited painting by Jean-Paul Lemieux. Digital media, interdisciplinary practices, and installations are also represented—assuring there is something for everyone to enjoy.
You can learn more about current and upcoming exhibits at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery here.
As you travel through the Maritimes, it won’t take long to discover art is all around you; from our world-class galleries displaying the works of famous Maritime artists, to opportunities to create art of your very own. If you’re looking for a little inspiration to fuel your artistic endeavours, there’s no better way than by spending time aboard The CAT, MV Fundy Rose, or Northumberland Ferries. From these ferries, you’ll see the Maritimes in an entirely new light, and discover beauty that is as stunning as a painting.
To learn more about all the stunning beauty the Maritimes have to offer, be sure to check out Explore the Maritimes today!