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New Art Gallery of Nova Scotia design chosen (6 photos)

We now know what Halifax's new arts district will look like

We now know what the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will look like.

At a news conference Wednesday, it was announced KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman, Public Work and Transsolar were the winners of the international design competition for the new Waterfront Arts District.

The state-of-the-art facility on the Salter block aims to be a gathering space where art, learning and community can all unite.

"The design features a striking peaked hat shape at the entrance, an iconic shape which is a symbol of the strength, wisdom, love and power that women hold within Mi'kmaw communities," said a news release from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

The winner was announced by Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, who said a jury of seven professionals felt the ambitious design was bold and thought-provoking.

"This team has a distinct Nova Scotia flavour, as Omar, Jordan and Elder Lorraine are all Nova Scotia residents," she said.

Described as a tireless advocate for Indigenous women, Elder Lorraine said the new facility will be an inclusive gathering space.

"This is a place to hear stories, celebrate the art works as they are displayed in the areas throughout the galleries," she said. "A place to embrace local and abroad work of the artisans."

Architect Omar Gandhi said although the design has been chosen, the plans will continue to evolve based on public feedback.

"The design in our proposal may come across as complete, but it isn't, it's a starting point," he said. "It needs your input in order to become an art gallery that is welcoming to all. A place shaped by Nova Scotians for Nova Scotians."

The total price tag is expected to be at least $130 million, with the province committed to kicking in $70 million and the federal government adding another $30 million. 

Fundraising will cover off the remainder and today the Donald R. Sobey Foundation announced a $10 million donation to the project.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia CEO, Nancy Noble, hopes Halifax's new and unique art district will set a new standard for art museums across Canada.

"I'm confident as we move through this difficult time in our history that the value of arts and culture will become ever more clear," she said. "The project itself will create jobs for Nova Scotians, contribute to the provincial economy and act as a major attraction for many years to come."

"But more importantly, it will provide a space for all Nova Scotians and others to gather and celebrate the diversity of our community through art."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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