Tour NSCAD’s refurbished Anna Leonowens Gallery | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Tour NSCAD’s refurbished Anna Leonowens Gallery

The busy art space is open after six weeks of renovations.

Tour NSCAD’s refurbished Anna Leonowens Gallery
Adria Young

The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design's bustling gallery recently reopened after nearly two months of safety and space renovations, just in time for the first alumni exhibition in recent memory. Director Melanie Colosimo walks us through the gallery's updates, and promises an exciting year of art exhibitions. 

1. Melanie Colosimo, visual artist and coordinator, has been the director of NSCAD's Anna Leonowens Gallery since last September. In this role, she curates 120 shows a year—her first show featured the work of legendary American artist Robert Frank. "But our main mandate is to give students the opportunity to have their first exhibition and learn the practical elements of an exhibition," she says.

2. For six weeks this summer, Colosimo oversaw renovations in the gallery that were funded by a donation from Margaret Fountain. "It's so exciting, it's a much more improved gallery space," she says, pointing out the new heating and cooling systems that will better protect artwork, new storage areas, new blinds that double as projection screens, a new electrical system, LED lights that dim, a reinforced ceiling in Gallery 2 so students can hang up to 100 pounds per square foot and a new, safe staircase to the basement. "We've got cleaner sight lines," she says. "And Gallery 1 will have a new custom door."

3. Opened in 1968 on Coburg Road, the Anna has occupied the Granville Street space since the 1970s. "It operated as a teaching gallery for students to do experimental things, with a roster of visiting artists. We've kept that same vibe," she says. "If anything, we've found ways to have more shows." The Anna has hosted 4,166 exhibitions so far. "We teach students how to get a show, how to install their work, what hardware to use, everything," she says. "We also have the Port Loggia Galley at the Port campus."

4. To celebrate the re-opening, the Anna is currently showing the NSCAD alumni exhibition I AM NSCAD, with a closing reception Friday, October 9 (5:30pm, free). For Nocturne (Saturday, October 19), it will turn into an engaging creative space with faculty and students, and there are many impressive shows in all three galleries coming up this season. As a diverse space, "We're a very different gallery," says Colosimo

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