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2014’s top 14 moments in art 

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picks by
Stephanie Johns

Friends of the Khyber

Though the Khyber's move was devastating to the centre and the community dependent on it (disclosure: I am a board member), the move also necessitated action. With the creation of Friends of the Khyber—a group including "members of the queer community, artists, activists, business owners, not-for profit organizations, historians, politicians and the public at large"—and the Art Evicted? community roundtable on the changing face of art spaces in Halifax, a conversation began about our city's art needs and strengths. The community experienced many changes—NSCAD's Seeds Gallery closed and the Roberts Street Social Centre disbanded, but there was also an increased creativity and passion—Eyelevel Gallery successfully switched to a nomadic model, BSide Gallery took up residence at Plan B beside the Anchor Archive Zine Library and Young Offenders Gallery started up in a living room. Groups like this light the city's (art-loving) fire.

Wikipedia Art+Feminism Edit-A-Thon at NSCAD

Rebecca Young and Eleanor King rallied would-be Wikipedia editors to even the online score (only 13 percent of Wikipedia editors are women) and spread the word about this international initiative last February. As a result, we all benefit. With new pages created for artists like Rita McKeough, Ursula Johnson, Toshiko MacAdam, Kim Farmer and more, the Edit-A-Thon empowered folks to edit as they see fit, whenever they want.

NSCAD's Microgallery disappears, then reappears

A single brick causes a lot of trouble in a NSCAD hallway, and makes us all think a little harder about the nature of art spaces.

HFX Art Gossip

A multi-platform gossip stream (Twitter and Instagram), Halifax's anonymous art snoop offers snark, comics, lipstick banditry and paparazzi-style photos of Halifax's art cognoscenti unawares. Hilarious.

The Woods presented by Live Art Dance with Mocean Dance and Rhonda Baker

Live Art put together a distinct group of works for the April season finale. among them was The Woods. Inspired by the golden age of hip-hop dance—soulful, energetic pieces—in a contemporary dance setting, ignited and inspired.

Stephanie Johns is the Coast's arts editor and her new year's resolution is to eat a piece of peanut butter toast every day in 2015. She has been a Coast writer since 2005.

picks by
Julie Sobowale


The bi-annual photography festival keeps getting better with more venues, more diverse exhibitions and growth in the festival symposium. There was plenty of local talent showcasing beautiful, harsh, emotional and heartfelt stories of Nova Scotia.

Birds, Bones & Brains by Rose Adams at Saint Mary's University Art Gallery

Rose Adams first retrospective exhibition was a smorgasbord of art. Audiences viewed her taxidermy work, large installations and a mix of personal, fascinating paintings about the brain. Add in a special event that featured poetry readings and an original song inspired by the exhibition and you have a unique artistic experience.

Black Film Artists with Nova Scotia Roots: African Heritage Month Films

African Nova Scotians were celebrated in this wonderful film series, telling the stories of this historic community. Hosted by the Dalhousie Art Gallery, the series covered Canadian short films and US feature length films starring African Nova Scotians.

Art and Wine Valentine's Day event at Studio 21

What's more romantic than being with that special someone while gazing at art about love? Studio 21 hosted its first Art and Wine event where Shelley Joyce, a sommelier, matched wine with paintings from the exhibition Amour. The perfect date-night event was a success. More wine please.

Mind into Matter: Bodies and Space symposium and exhibition at Dalhousie University

With the newly opened Halifax Central Library next door, Dalhousie's faculty of Architecture hosted the thought-provoking symposium that explored design based on human movement with talks, exhibitions, and dance performances.

A writer for the Coast since 2011, Julie Sobowale is learning how to play the ukulele to fulfill her 2014 New Year's resolution.

picks by
Jade Nauss

Robert Frank: Books, Films, 1947-2014 at the Anna Leonowens Gallery

Over 1400 people attended the unique exhibition that featured Frank's iconic images on newsprint, pinned and taped to gallery walls. Acting director Melanie Colosimo received reams of positive feedback about the ephemeral exhibit before unceremoniously trashing the display. Colosimo says, "at the end we took down the work with no great care and it was destroyed."

NSCAD's Wearable Art Show at the Marquee Ballroom

Everything mere fashion mortals understand about style pales in comparison to the presentations by student sculptors, painters and designers at this annual NSCAD bacchanalia. Each show outperforms its predecessor and organizer Justin Lee's circus of stilts, wearable-houses and hostage-taking knitwear was no exception.

Gates for Sojourn by Sarah Burwash at Point Pleasant Park

At the end of her three month residency at the gatekeeper's lodge, Sarah Burwash transformed the park with a magical evening of projected animation installations. After observing the repetitious way people use the space, the artist decided to challenge her audience. "I wanted people to come to the park," says Burwash, "and experience it in a new way."

Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque of Leopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette at the Saint Mary's University Art Gallery

This unparalleled ceramic exhibit marries issues of queerness with questions of art versus craft. Curator Robin Metcalfe has received such a positive response from contemporary art audiences and the queer community that Camp Fires could burn indefinitely–several more North American engagements are in the works, as well as a European tour.

Cellar by Janice Wright Cheney at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Janice Wright Cheney constructed hundreds of radical rats from old fur coats and found objects. While regular rats creep, crawl and squeak, Cheney's rats could make you think. "I set out to make the viewer a little bit uncomfortable," she says, "and hopefully a curious person will say, 'Well, why am I uncomfortable?'"

Jade Nauss is a Halifax-based freelance writer, perpetual university student, confirmed cat lady and fairytale heroine.This is her first year writing for The Coast.


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