Downtown Halifax’s ‘Gritty to Pretty’ program invests over $97K into creating more public art

(Kjipuktuk, N.S.) - June 28, 2023 – Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) is pleased to announce that over $97K is being invested into beautifying the urban core, through the ‘Gritty to Pretty’ grant program, and a top-tier sponsorship of the Halifax Mural Festival, happening July 3 - 9.  

DHBC started the ‘Gritty to Pretty’ placemaking program in 2015 as a way to encourage civic pride, support local economies and artists, and enhance the overall attraction and vibrancy of Downtown Halifax’s streetscape. Now in its ninth year, the program is responsible for close to
20 murals scattered all over Downtown Halifax, and after next week’s Halifax Mural Festival, another six murals will be added to the mix. 

“Because of DHBC’s sponsorship, Jordan Bennett, a well-known Mi’kmaw visual artist, will be painting a mural on the Port of Halifax, as a tribute to the North American Indigenous Games. We’ll also be beautifying Grafton Street with at least five murals as part of the festival,” says Mike Burt, Founder of the Halifax Mural Festival. “I’ve worked with DHBC for a few years now, as a member of their Placemaking Action Team, so it’s great we can collaborate on bringing even more public art Downtown.”

In May, DHBC’s Placemaking Action Team sent out a call for submissions for their annual ‘Gritty to Pretty’ grant program. DHBC received 16 applications, with funding requests totaling over $140K. The team met last week to go through the submissions, and were able to approve 12 projects, totaling $77,356.17 in funding.

“We had submissions from all over Canada this year and five applicants were brand new to the program,” says Jonathan Goldson, DHBC’s Placemaking Manager. “As the program continues to grow, we are grateful not only for the increase in submissions, but for the diversity in applicants, ideas, and artistic techniques. I just wish we could fund them all.”

The 2023 ‘Gritty to Pretty’ placemaking grant recipients (and their intended easels) are as follows:

Open Grant
Beautifying the Garden by Adrianna Afford (Raymond Taavel Park)

Meditative Maze by Dylan Smibert (Location TBD)

Mural Grant
Welcome To Argyle Street by John McPartland (The Pint, Argyle Street)
Community’s Flourish by Christian Toth (Laing House, Barrington Street)
Sheltered Hues by Mark Elliot (Location TBD)
Crossed Feathers by Daniel J. Burt (Location TBD)
NSCAD Students Hollis Street Mural Project by Kate Hamilton
(NSCAD, Hollis Street)

Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Mural Grant

From Sable Island to Downtown Halifax by Yasaman Mehra (Location TBD)
Love Life by Peatr Thomas (Location TBD)
Black Joy by Daramfon Morgan & Victor Nwaokpani (Location TBD)
Beyond Boundaries by Reem El Attar
(Location TBD)

Façade Lighting Grant

Sound in Time Mural Lighting by John McPartland (Barrington Consulting Group, Barrington Street)

The artists participating in the Halifax Mural Festival Downtown Halifax next week are as follows:

NAIG 2023 Mural @ Port of Halifax, Marginal Road
Jordan Bennett

The HUB” Murals on Grafton Street

Anisa Francoeur

Art Pays Me (Duane Jones)
Margot Durling
Donnie (Justin Fraser-Fong)
Nessy (Vanessa Thomas)

For more information on DHBC’s placemaking programs visit:   

For more information on DHBC’s ‘Gritty to Pretty’ grant program visit:


Media Contact:
Raf Peligro

(902) 423-2179