Fall Arts: Anna Leonowens at 50

NSCAD’s gallery celebrates with a new logo, retrospective exhibitions and hot merch.


With over 125 shows annually, Anna Leonowens Gallery has plenty on its plate. But for its 50th anniversary, the Anna lets us know just how ambitious it really is.

The Anna hosts exhibitions by NSCAD students almost weekly, as well as visiting artists and alumni. The small but mighty team that runs these shows and events are also instrumental in programming for the Port Loggia Gallery and treaty education space at NSCAD's port campus, as well as other public programming such as lecture series, community studio residencies and Art Bar.

This larger network of projects has been dubbed Anna Leonowens Gallery Systems and the gallery space itself officially rebranded by its vernacular name, The Anna.

In addition to the rebrand, the 50th anniversary of The Anna will be marked with an Annaversary exhibition of artwork made (or selected by) past directors and exhibition coordinators of the gallery.

The Anna's visuals have also gotten an upgrade: A simplified logo in grey, millennial pink, as well as black and white (respectively) comes from NSCAD alum Daniel Lurvey. The new design is available on totes and t-shirts, as is a newly commissioned reprint of Cathy Busby's 1987 "Anna Leonowens was a Suffragist" t-shirt.

Leonowens, perhaps best known as the inspiration for the character of Anna in Roger and Hammerstein's The King & I was a prominent Halifax figure who devoted her life to helping women and the poor. She was instrumental in the founding of the Victoria School of Art, now known as NSCAD University. "It was felt the name of the gallery should in some way reflect the tradition of the school, while at the same time embody a progressive spirit" writes former NSCAD president Garry Neill Kennedy of the gallery's founding, expressing a sentiment still centre to what The Anna does today.