About a year ago, I stood in the crowded back room of Dean’s Flowers as my friend Holly Winchester and I looked at the multiple unused desks, cabinets and shelving that were scattered throughout.
“What should I do with this space,” Holly asked.
As the owner of Deans, a 97 year old Halifax North End business, Holly is constantly looking for ways to grow and improve her shop.
“It’d make a great art gallery,” I said.
While I may have suggested the gallery…Holly made it happen. Over several months…fitting it in between huge celebrations in the flower business (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Prom, Weddings)…Holly got to work organizing the clean out of desks and furniture, tearing up carpet, painting walls and floor, sourcing lighting and a hanging system…all with grand intentions to open a gallery.
When she asked me to be on the “Jury” for choosing the artists…I was honoured.
This week, Gallery 1919, named for the year Dean’s Flowers first opened shop, made its big reveal as we celebrated Holly’s vision and the beautiful works of Veronique MacKenzie…the gallery’s very first solo show.
Located inside the Dean’s Flowers & Goody Basket location at their Stanley Street shop, Gallery 1919 is designed for solo shows as well as community gatherings.
On Wednesday evening, more than 100 people ventured through the doors to raise a glass to Holly’s success.
And what a lovely night of art and friendship it was!
To celebrate her new gallery, Holly chose to showcase the work of her beautiful friend, Veronique MacKenzie, as the very first artist at Gallery 1919!
Veronique is a recipient of one of Nova Scotia’s prestigious Established Artist Awards and the two-time winner of the Diane Moore Choreographic Scholarship. Veronique has performed in multiple arts festivals across the country and is well known in Halifax for her work with young dancers as she is on the faculty of NSCAD University, The Fountain School for Performing Arts (Dalhousie), PERFORM NS and Halifax Dance.
Along with her performance and choreography, Veronique is a visual artist who has been quietly painting and drawing for many years…selling her works from her home studio.
This is Veronique’s first solo-show…and it’s simply spectacular.
While her love of dance comes through in many of the paintings on show, it’s the faces in the portraits that caught my eye. They truly are beautiful works of art.
I also quite loved her series on bicycles.
And these amazing cows!
Veronique’s art will be on display in the gallery until mid-September…pop in to see her what inspires her.
Over the next year, artists will rotate through 5 week intervals with art openings the first Wednesday of each show. I’ve had the great pleasure of helping to choose the artists and can’t wait for each opening to show you the amazing talent in Nova Scotia.
Gallery 1919 is available for booking community events…lunch and learns, cocktail receptions, networking evenings. Contact Holly at Dean’s Flowers for more information.
CONGRATULATIONS Veronique on your solo show! And to you Holly, I’m incredibly proud of you.