Our acquisition programme is currently on pause as the Gallery is undergoing a governance review which will impact the make-up of the AGNS Board and therefore the acquisition approval process.

Should you have any questions, please contact Curator of Collections, Shannon Parker.

About the Acquisition Program

Collecting Priorities

When reviewing offered donations, the Curatorial and Acquisition Committees consider the Gallery's collecting priorities:

  • Works of art by visual artists associated substantively with Nova Scotia with consideration to representation by minority groups
  • Works by visual artists associated substantively with the Atlantic Provinces
  • Canadian art, both historical and contemporary
  • Works of art by international visual artists that extend and complement the collection

Additional Guidelines

Each committee also considers the following when making recommendations and determinations:

  • Aesthetic quality and importance
  • Relevance to the collection(s)
  • Condition (cost of restoration)
  • Price (costs of restoration and conservation are considered in addition to the purchase price of any work of art)
  • Legal title
  • Attribution (provenance and dating shall be researched and verified before approval at any level)
  • Copyright ownership (the copyright owner must agree to permit reproduction of the artwork in exhibition catalogues and promotional materials)
  • The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will not, under normal circumstances, accept for its collections any works of art, whether by purchase or donation, to which it does not have the Exhibition Right or the full right of presentation; this right may be purchased at an equitable fee from the holder of the right at the time of the Gallery‚Äôs acquisition of the work of art
  • The Gallery shall not accept works of art that have conditions attached (with the exception of requested credit lines)

Acquisition Process

This information is first put forward for review by the Gallery's Curatorial Committee (made up of its curatorial and conservation staff). For works that the committee determine meet acquisition priorities, the team will compile a formal justification for the acquisition, including a biography of the artist, how the work connects to the existing Art Gallery of Nova Scotia collection, regional significance, a condition report and a collections/storage requirement report. Copyright, exhibition right and other associated rights and fees will be explored to determine the eventual costs to the Gallery.

Each acquisition justification is then assessed by the Director, Chief Curator and Curator of Collections, with an eye to the necessary budgets to acquire the recommended works. If the team agrees that the justification, condition of the work and budgets warrant it, arrangements are then made to bring the work in-house for formal presentation to the Acquisition Committee and final condition checks.

The Acquisition Committee (made up of members of the Board of Governors, artists, and volunteers from the community) formally review all works that are both recommended and not recommended by the previous reviews. This committee makes the formal decision to acquire (or not) the offered works, and meets at least twice a year. Any works that are brought in-house but then turned down for acquisition will be returned to the owner.

The Acquisition Committee presents their formal determinations to the Board of Governors for final ratification of the acquisitions. All accepted works are then appraised and applications are made to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board for those works that meet the necessary criteria.

Associated Costs

Aside from the costs of purchasing works of art, there are many costs associated with a donation as well. These costs can include shipping, appraisals, conservation treatments and exhibition fees in the short-term, and insurance and storage costs in the long-term. In many cases, a donation can cost as much, if not more, than a purchase.

Because of this, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia asks all potential donors to consider whether they are able to assist in covering associated costs such as shipping and appraisals. Charitable tax receipts are issued for all reimbursed costs and are an excellent way to get even more out of your donation to the Gallery.