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Public Art

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Halifax Central Library - Public Art

The Request for Proposals for Public Art for the new Halifax Central Library (RFP No. P12-039) as awarded toWinnipeg-based artist Cliff Eyland.

Artist Cliff Eyland by the Library art installationArtwork

His project involved the creation of 5,000 paintings specific to this new building, the surrounding community, and the varied users and user-groups of the Library and its institutional and social function, etc. Each of these paintings were created specifically in response to this opportunity and the physical parameters of the building. Each painting measurex 3”x 5” in direct relation to the size of a traditional library index card. Collectively, and from a distance, the paintings will operate as a loose, abstract formal pattern of colours and shapes. Individually, and up close, each painting will embody a particular piece of the overall Library ‘narrative’, to be constructed in close collaboration with library staff and community stakeholders. The collaborative nature of this enterprise was a central focus of the library RFP process.



Artist Cliff EylandArtist

Mr. Eyland was born and raised in Halifax and his proposal exhibited a great deal of familiarity both with the particular history and community context of Halifax, as well as with the Library as a public institution. Mr. Eyland’s 30-year artistic career, beginning as a student of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, has been concerned with a contemplation of the connections between libraries and artistic production.

Halifax Central Library

The Halifax Central Library will be regional resource, an active information place and a reflection of the communities within the Halifax Regional Municipality. It will enhance Halifax Public Libraries’ ability to design and redesign services, and to reach out to and attract more people. Services will be flexible and based on the needs of the community combined with the best that technology has to offer.

Artist Cliff Eyland gives you a personal tour of his public art installation at the Halifax Central Library.

Halifax Transit Bridge Terminal- Public Art

Halifax-based artist Sara Hartland Rowe is currently working on a public art piece for the Halifax Transit Bridge Terminal.


Sara’s proposal for the transit terminal project involves the creation of a large-scale, wall-mounted installation of laser cut sheet metal elements drawn from the artist’s sketches of transit users, the facility and the Common, amongst other things. Together these ‘sketches’, derived from particular drawings, will be brought together to form a bold and energetic image that will reinforce the sense of movement of buses and people through the terminal space, and more widely throughout HRM. The installation will run the length of the large retaining wall beneath the terminal’s pedestrian bridge and will combine elements of human figures and landscape features.

A lifelong transit user herself, Sara is committed to creating an artwork that enhances the user experience of the Halifax Transit system. Sara says, “The intention is that this artwork be embedded in the experience of travel, the images drawn from a real engagement with the place and the mental space of those of us that travel through the terminal… “

Sara Hartland Rowe on the busSara continues, “In the wall-piece, I would like to show that riding the bus can be sociable or mindful, contemplative or relaxing. Although not documentary or literal, the piece will show people talking, thinking, working, dreaming, reading, resting, and playing, in the terminal or on the bus…it should be beautiful, and pleasurable to engage with. It should enhance and support the space, and be one more enjoyable aspect of our using the terminal.” View "work in progress" photos.


Sara is a Halifax-based painter and an instructor in the painting department at NSCADU since 2001. She has exhibited her work throughout Canada, in the US, the Netherlands, and Argentina and has produced large-scale wall paintings for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Windsor Art Gallery, Museum London, the Durham Art Gallery, the Koffler Gallery and Harbourfront Gallery.


Canada Games Centre - Public Art

Less is Moiré

An interactive sculptural / architectural element created to integrate with the main entry hall of the Canada Games Centre and reflect the underlying nature of a communityaquatics+ recreation facility. The Canada Games Centre was built as a legacy project when Halifax hosted the 2011 Canada Winter Games. It remains a high profile multi-use facility within one of the Halifax region’s most diverse demographic communities.
CGC Art Installation


This sculptural design piece was created via a collaborative and iterative process which brought together a project team with backgrounds in architecture, graphic design and fine art.

The piece is conceived to echo the energy and motion inherent in a community wellness centre and in particular the aquatic focus at the CGC. Undulating sheets of perforated aluminum are used to form an upright standing wave that is also a room which can be entered. The dynamic form and transparent nature of the structure creates a surprisingly breathable interior space.

The perforation pattern on the front + back "walls", combined with their curving surfaces creates an optical interference illusion commonly referred to as a moiré effect. As viewers move past or approach from the main hall, this optical effect becomes very pronounced and active, making wave-like movements and patterns appear in the surface of the sculpture.


Breakhouse Inc. is an award winning multidisciplinary design firm with core expertise in the built and the visual communication worlds. Along with being a comprehensive architectural practice, Breakhouse creates strategies for brands, projects and organizations which it carries through to execution. A committed community builder, Breakhouse leads and takes part in ongoing city building initiatives. In its daily work it creates local and international projects that enhance and transform through the company's belief that Design Makes Everything Better.

Emera Oval - Public Art

Lace Up at the Emera Oval

A one-of-a-kind sculpture has been erected on the Halifax Common as a tribute to the collective community that made the Halifax 2011 Canada Games one of the most successful in Games history.


Laces sculpture at the Emera OvalCommissioned by the Halifax 2011 Canada Games Host Society, Lace Up depicts shoe and skate laces to create three-dimensional aerial paths that capture the feeling of weightlessness, representing the sense of freedom that people feel when using the Oval. Whether on skates, roller blades, or on foot, people tend to trace elliptical paths when moving around the oval. The artwork’s arching forms invite viewers to stand under the structure or explore its form while sitting on the lace-like benches.

The sculpture has stamped and cut patterns on their broad sides resembling the surfaces of skate laces. Daylight passing through the cut outs create dynamic patterns on the hardscaped surfaces, and at night, an LED system projects light through the cut outs as well. The intersecting lace forms frame views of the sky, the Oval, and the North Commons, allowing the artwork to be well integrated with the site’s landscaped and natural characteristics.

The sculpture was designed by Ilan Sandler and fabricated with the help of his team in Dartmouth, NS.


Head shot of artist Ilan Sandler

Ilan Sandler has shown his sculptures, installations, and videos internationally and across Canada and has completed public art commissions in Toronto, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Busan, South Korea. He installed the public sculpture: A Departure in Lethbridge, Canada in 2009 and The Vessel in Toronto in 2011. He has also produced a large public art work called: What’s Your Name? for North Toronto Collegiate Institute and is currently producing The School Chair for the Halifax Regional Municipality and Under the Helmet for the City of Calgary. During the summer of 2011 Beach Chair was installed in Aarhus, Denmark for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. In 2012 his new series of Urban Artworks called Stolen Parts was premiered in Stockholm. He has received numerous awards, including grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Culture.

Born in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1971, Ilan Sandler and his family immigrated to Toronto six years later, in 1977. Sandler studied at the University of Toronto, where he received a B.Sc. in Physics, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he completed an Honours Fine Arts certificate. In 2000 he was awarded an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He then went on to teach at the University of the Arts and Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, and most recently at NSCAD University where he held a SSHRC Research/Creation Fellowship until 2011. He is currently running Sandler Studio Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More information on Ilan Sandler’s work is available at

The Halifax Regional Municipality's Public Art Program

Fallen Peace Officers Monument
Fallen Peace Officers Memorial
by Cody Stephenson and Adam Collins
Photograph by Gord Lehmann

The municipality defines public art as being permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary works of art in any media or combination of media that have been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the public realm and accessible to all. Pieces of public art will be created or managed by a professional artist and will be acquired through artist commissions, donations or artist-community collaborations.

The Public Art Policy To PDF Acrobat Tips informs presentations of public art, including temporary and permanent of public art.

Permanent public art describes artworks that are commissioned, designed, fabricated and installed with the intent that they will exist in situ for an ongoing and indefinite period of time. These works are part of the municipality's Public Art Collection, which is maintained on an ongoing basis, and mapped and interpreted as part of HRM Culture and Events’ public art education programs.

Temporary public art refers to installations, performances or any other manner of artistic intervention in the public realm where the duration of exhibition or presentation is clearly defined.  Temporary public art animates civic spaces, inspires investiture in these spaces, and in general promotes a critical dialogue about art and public space.


For more information on public art within the municipality contact:



Installation shot of What Could Public Space Also Be? by Better City LAB

Nocturne: Art at Night

Nocturne: Art at Night is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax from 6 p.m.-midnight. The completely free, annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene in Halifax. Nocturne, designed and planned by volunteers, is an opportunity for everyone to experience the art of Halifax in a whole new light.

Date: October 14, 2017.

The Municipality supports this program through managing the anchor sites for the festival. Civic Events supports this initiative through Civic Events Grants.


Outdoor Public Art

The Outdoor Public Art Inventory of monuments, markers and outdoor sculpture was completed in 2008. It lists the full range of statuary objects and artworks (and murals, in some cases) in the municipality and lists them by district. The municipality is working to map these items and their locations and to make this and other relevant information available to the public.

Maintenance of current public art inventory is ongoing. Over the course of the inventory, priority maintenance needs were identified for major restoration including The Cenotaph in Grand Parade (completed in November 2009) Sullivans Pond Cenotaph (completed in October 2015). New maintenance projects are undertaken on an ongoing basis as required.