Best Man on the Inside | The Coast Halifax

Best Man on the Inside

Jamie MacLellan

The 35-year-old Jamie MacLellan is Halifax’s first Public Art Facilitator, a position that was created for him. A King’s grad in Contemporary Studies, he went out west to continue his fine arts education, but wound up back here sitting on the Khyber’s board in 2007 as the art centre’s liaison with the city government. “That’s how I met the people at HRM. They happened to be drafting the public art policy at the time and they needed someone to come on and do temporary work. So, I did that, then they posted a full time position so I applied. That’s how I found myself in this crazy world.”

As an arts representative for the city, MacLellan has his hand in a number of ongoing projects, from helping to find studio space for local artists of all stripes---“There is a lack of nuance to the understanding of commercial versus residential space with respect to the arts”---to facilitating the use of the well-protected and regulated Public Gardens as a location for Nocturne. “I think it was a success myself, it’s nice to see that sort of thing happen. It builds an understanding of what the event actually is.”

MacLellan sees events such as Nocturne creating more opportunity for public art and making his job easier in the future, with an agenda to create artist-led installations and provocations in public spaces year round. “It builds an appreciation of stuff already going on...working with organizations to build their audience. We don’t have a granting to individuals at HRM, really, so we treat these as service exchanges. But it’s recognizing the value of the service that’s provided, and hopefully providing some kind of developmental and professional funding for artists living and working here.”