When was the last time you visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia?

When Megan was in Junior High, she came home one day, absolutely aghast that her favourite subject, Art, had lost it’s classroom due to overcrowding at the school. The once lovely studio had been reduced to “Art on a Cart.”

Basically, the teacher would be bringing supplies to the class on a push cart and doing smaller, less messy projects. Which for my kid, meant the plaster of paris face masks she was sooooo looking forward to making, were now a thing of the past.

I understood Meg’s disappointment as my junior high art classes were by far my favourite subject. Two times a week we’d escape to Ms. Aalders studio in the basement of the school…greeted by the distinct smell of paint and clay…we kept a drawing journal and were introduced to various art mediums including ceramics, puppet making, paper mâché, painting and chicken wire sculptures to name a few. Some days were messier than others but regardless of what project we were working on, it was a place to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, to explore and play without boundaries, to open our minds and view things differently than we may have before.

I regretted not continuing art in high school…completely impressed by the kids who learned to draw…their before and after self portraits from the beginning of the semester to the end were always so astonishing to me. I wanted to learn as they had but there was something that held me back from exploring art as a subject in high school and my exploration of art really ended in grade nine…until I finally started graphic design in my mid forties.

When Meg chose her subjects a few years back, I’d discussed with her my feelings about art and suggested she give it a try…but after looking at her schedule and what she believed was required for her future…she decided she didn’t want to “close any doors” and signed up for advanced sciences and maths instead.

She was trying to do “the right thing”…the “smart thing”…with no regard whatsoever for the types of things she actually liked to do.

I regret not pushing it further…but, my kid had her mind made up!

It’s only now…after a struggle through her subjects in high school and then a semester at university where she really didn’t “fit” the mould…that she’s exploring her creative side and finding out what makes her tick.

Currently, Megan is taking three courses through NSCAD’s Extended Studies program in Illustration, Calligraphy and Monotype Print Making. Her current plan is to build a portfolio…and from there, apprentice to become a Tattoo Artist. (Check out my post, Changing Directions, where I chat about her very tough decision to leave university and varsity volleyball.)

Meg and I headed to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to check out the exhibits and, at the end of our visit, decided we really have to go more often! It had been about two years for me and she hadn’t been there since elementary school on a class trip! Where of course…the Maud Lewis exhibit is always a hit with kids.

My favourite work of art this time through was Ursula Johnson’s (re)al-location piece in the “A Sense of Site” exhibition (running until May 12th), derived from examining the natural and cultural ecologies of Cape Breton Highland’s National Park. I came home and checked out her website along with the LandMarks 2017 project that “A Sense of Site” is based on…and was quite taken by Ursula’s work.

Meg was completely smitten with Jordan Bennet’s Ketu’elmita’jik exhibit (running until the end of March.) Taking Mi’kmaq artifacts, Bennet expands the patterns into murals in this bright and inviting space allowing you to see the pieces in the most interesting and new way.

Ironically, Bennet is currently on site with Earthline Tattoo School as they explore the art of tattooing, one of the oldest art forms to Indigenous culture. (It’s not surprising that Megan found his work so riveting!)

We spent a lovely time at the Gallery and will definitely be back soon!


If you haven’t been there lately, add it to your list of things to do…check out the various events and programs going on RIGHT NOW. This March Break, head down with your kids and let them explore the Maud Lewis Gallery or enroll them in one of the March Break Camps.

If your children are older like mine…explore the gallery as we did and stop for a little lunch at Pavia Espresso Bar Café where you can take a little break to chat about the beautiful things you saw inside the gallery.

“Art on a Cart” is simply NOT ENOUGH art for anyone. With the various cutbacks in school programs…it’s important to find other ways to harness your child’s creativity…to allow them to explore, get messy and play!

Megan is finally exploring her creativeness and while we’re not entirely sure where it will take her…it’s evident from the smile on her face, that we’re headed in the right direction.

 * * * * * * *

Giveaway from Downtown Halifax Business Commission:

When was the last time you visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia? It’s time to go. In fact, there are so many wonderful places to visit in Downtown Halifax, we suggest that along with visiting the Art Gallery this March Break, you also add The Discovery Centre, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame to your list of “things to do in Halifax.”  AND…the Downtown Halifax Business Commission is giving away passes to each of them!

ONE lucky winner will receive:

    • 1 Family Season Pass to Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (value $43 + HST)
    • 1 Discoverer Membership for Discovery Centre (value $125 + HST)
    • 1 Family Membership to AGNS (value $125 + HST)
    • 1 Family Pier Pass to CMI at Pier 21 (value $90 + HST)
    • 4 Tickets to the March 20th Hurricanes Game at Scotiabank Centre (value approx. $80)
    • 1 x $50 gift certificate to The Bird’s Nest (located in Discovery Centre)
    • 1 x $100 gift certificate to Bluenose II Restaurant
    Total approx. value: $670 CAD

To enter, simply fill out the form and we’ll inform the winner on March 18th where you’ll have 48 hours to respond. One winner will be chosen from participating blogs. Winner must reside in Atlantic Canada and be available to pick up their prize package at the Downtown Halifax Business Commission offices at 1546 Barrington Street.

Make sure to check the #MarchBreakDT and #DowntownHalifax hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more March Break adventures!


Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by Downtown Halifax Business Commission as part of their March Break Downtown Campaign. As always, opinions are my own.

38 Replies to “When was the last time you visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia?”

  1. We spent the day at the Discovery Centre a few weeks ago but need to go back because there was so much to see! My daughter learned about Maud Lewis at school this year for Heritage Day and has been asking to go to the Art Gallery ever since ?

  2. Thanks for reminding me of all the great things to do downtown. We will be doing some of these for March Break.

  3. I haven’t been to the AGNS in years! I didn’t realize how family friendly it was until recently and now I can’t wait to take my children.

  4. We’ve spent many hours at both the Discovery Centre and the AGNS. Both are fabulous and we come away with a great time as a family.

  5. My daughter went to the art gallery for a field trip last year. I am planning to take both of my daughters during March break! I’ve never been!!!

  6. We’ve spent time at a few of these places, and my older daughter went to the art gallery on a field trip. I’ve never been!!! I’m actually planning to take both kids next week because they have been asking! 🙂 Downtown Halifax is great for kids.

    • I have never been to the art gallery but my daughter LOVES the discovery Center. I would love to be able to show her so many new things

  7. We love the Disvovery Centre and we have never been to the Art Gallert. Now is the time.

  8. We’ve been to every location except the Bluenose II! We rarely go to the discovery centre though and I haven’t taken the kids to AGNS yet. We would be thrilled to win this amazing package!

  9. We have visited the Discovery Centre recently, the Ripleys exhibit was so much fun. We’ve gone as a family 3 times now and still haven’t seen everything 🙂 Natural history museum is also a family favourite. Haven’t been to the dinosaur exhibit yet but it’s on our March break bucket list
    We haven’t been to the art gallery yet but would love to take the kids to see the Maude Lewis exhibit

  10. I haven’t taken the kids to the AGNS, but we recently did a fun Family Art Day at the Beaverbook Gallery in Fredericton, so we’ve been saying that we should start taking the kids to.our own city’s art gallery!

  11. I haven’t visited the art gallery in a very long time however we go weekly to the museum of natural history for their wee wild ones program

  12. The last time we were at the AGNS, a few years ago, we didn’t even realize they had the Maud Lewis house installation. I honestly don’t how we missed it! It keeps popping up on my social media feeds. I think that’s a sign, right? It’s time to go check it out. 🙂

  13. I never thought of the Art Gallery as somewhere to bring my 18 month old compared to our other favourites like the discovery center. I assumed an *energetic* toddler wouldn’t be the best individual to have around art pieces. After seeing this I don’t know why I haven’t done it yet!

  14. Have been to all of these great spots but my daughters haven’t seen them all yet. Would love to explore again with them!

  15. My sons just went to the Art Gallery for their PD day on March 8th. They had a great time! Did a fashion show, made a fluffy bird, learned new techniques for painting. They both want to go again!

  16. The last time I went to the AGNS was for an ARTPARTY in 2017! I’d love to go back and visit soon taking the whole family.

  17. I have visited all of those places over the years, but none of them recently! We were just discussing trying to do more cultural trips around the city on bleak winter weekends!

  18. We love all of these places! I haven’t brought my kids to the AGNS yet, but this post has inspired me to make it a priority!

  19. I used to go regularly but haven’t brought my kids! I’m wondering if my 3 yo is too young?!

  20. Would love to visit the Art Gallery with my 6 year old, I think it would be a wonderful experience!

  21. We have been to all, but two of the places! (We even went to Hurricanes games!)

    We have never been to The Nest, but it is *right* across the street from DeSerres and we are always there and I am *always* saying we really need to go to The Nest! It looks so pretty and cozy. We’ve also never been to The Bluenose II restaurant and I hear they have a wicked awesome breakfast/brunch. These are both on my list.

    What a great giveaway and an excellent incentive to everyone to get out and explore downtown Halifax. Thanks for the chance!

  22. I have not visited the Art Gallery but now I want to. I have visited the Discovery Center and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Thanks, all great ideas to do for March Break.

  23. We actually have plans to go to the art museum downtown with some family! And these pictures make me even more excited to go!

  24. It’s been years/decades since I’ve been to the AGNS. I need to go again soon and bring my children. I think they would love it!

  25. we have yet to visit the Art Gallery but now we would love to. we have visited the old Discovery Center and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. this win would be great idea for March Break.

  26. It had been a decade since I had visited the AGNS, until I chaperoned a school trip last year. It was as a great experience. We regularly visit the Discovery Centre. We just recently went to the Maritime Museum for a preschool program that featured an author reading and toys and a craft. Great!

  27. We have visited the Discovery Centre twice and the kids had a blast! They have been asking to go again. Unfortunately it is quite expensive for us to make a trip in to the city needs to be thought of in advance. We would love to take part in other activities and visit museums bu we just cannot afford to do so.
    Thanks so much for the chance and good luck to everyone!

  28. Sadly I don’t think I have been to the Art Gallery since I was pushing the kids in strollers. Hard to get them to do things unwillingly anymore …

  29. I haven’t been to the new location of the Discovery Centre yet, and I haven’t been to the Art Gallery in years. Would love to win this!