With locations in downtown Halifax and Yarmouth, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada. Since 1908, the Gallery has been a gateway for the visual arts in Atlantic Canada by engaging people with art. It is committed to this mission as an agency of the Province of Nova Scotia and one of the premier arts institutions in Canada. The Gallery is also responsible for acquiring, preserving and exhibiting works of art, and for providing education in the visual arts. The Gallery’s Permanent Collection currently holds over 19,000 works and includes over 4,000 artists. The Gallery welcomes over 60,000 visitors annually from the region, the country, and around the world.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is an inclusive public gathering place that connects people with art to inspire new ways of thinking.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia seeks to present the most vital and engaging contemporary art from around the world. We will embrace tradition and the past by applying a contemporary viewpoint that addresses relevant issues and challenges perspectives.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will be:
- Welcoming. We illuminate. We use our space and our collection to tell stories that reflect community, create understanding, and generate meaningful debate. Our approach is inclusive. All are welcome to view, experience, and create in our space.
- Contemporary. We seek to present the most vital and engaging contemporary art from around the world while addressing relevant issues and challenging perspectives. We will embrace tradition and the past by reframing it and applying a contemporary perspective to its presentation.
- Challenging. We always challenge perceptions, complacency, and expectations. We work in provocative and unexpected ways using art to expand the way our visitors see the world.
- Ambitious. We boldly pursue acquisitions, funding, relevant artists, new areas of expertise, and new ways to engage with the public. We adapt and change to remain relevant, challenging, and innovative.
The Gallery has two buildings in Halifax making up approximately 90,000 square feet of space. In 2006, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia opened its satellite branch in Yarmouth, the first of its kind in Canada. The establishment of our Western Branch in Yarmouth helps fulfill the Gallery's mandate of making art more accessible across the province, and engaging people with art.
Both locations include a Gallery Shop and in Halifax on-site amenities include the Teichert Gallery.
History & Growth
With a history dating back to 1908, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has grown significantly from its past life as the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts, which was entrusted to maintain the Crown’s 200-piece art collection on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia.
In 1975, the Museum was renamed in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Act. Shortly thereafter, the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia implemented educational programs, started developing its collection, and began looking for a permanent home after years of using small non-Gallery spaces.
The Gallery officially opened the doors to its new home in 1988 situated in the heart of downtown Halifax. This gave the Gallery a home and permanence in the city and province.
A decade later, in 1998, the Gallery grew again when two floors of the neighbouring Provincial Building opened. This expansion made room for the Maud Lewis House and Gallery, collection storage, office space, café facilities, and extended space for all other services, plus additional gallery space.