Elizabeth Styring Nutt, Purcells Ferry

Arm’s Length: the Northwest Arm and the Artist

Saturday, 28 March 2015 to Sunday, 27 September 2015

Peninsular Halifax is separated from the mainland by a narrow inlet of the sea whose name has varied – We'kwaltijk, Hawk’s or Sandwich River, Northwest Arm – but whatever its name the Arm has always attracted artists.

Its role in the life of the city has changed with time: a pied-a-terre for the Mi’kmaq during the Spring fishing season each year; the industrial centre of the newly established colony at Halifax; a retreat for its wealthy citizens and a playground for all. Too narrow to attract modern commercial shipping, the Arm today has to a great degree reclaimed its connection to nature.

Arm’s Length is presented in two galleries, one essentially of paintings, and the other of prints and drawings, but in both visitors will see artists’ views of the Arm across time, social strata, and artistic styles. Topographical, picturesque, and realistic; impressionist, expressionist, or abstract: artists have revealed the Arm with intelligence and passion as the decades rolled by and artistic expectations changed. Outstanding paintings from our collection by Frances Jones, Ernest Lawson, and Elizabeth Nutt are included, as are works by JFW DesBarres, William Eagar, and DC Mackay. Happily, the Nova Scotia Museum is lending nine of JE Woolford’s 1817 drawings of the Arm to this exhibition, many of which will be on view for the first time.