Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the spring 2021 Gritty to Pretty placemaking grant program. Gritty to Pretty includes three grant streams: Façade Lighting Grant, Open Grant and Mural Grant. The Façade Lighting Grant is not being offered this year. Out of 15 spring Gritty to Pretty applications, four were awarded, which included one Open Grant and three Mural Grants. The total grant amount awarded was $20,147 with $1,529 awarded to an Open Grant recipient, and $18,618 to three Mural Grant recipients.
"Placemaking continues to be an important investment in Downtown Halifax," said Paul MacKinnon, Chief Executive Officer of DHBC. "Art installations and murals enhance the pedestrian experience and beautify our community. As the province re-opens and more people come back to Downtown Halifax for work, dining, shopping, and entertainment, it’s crucial for us to maintain a welcoming and safe environment."
In April 2021, DHBC launched a call for submissions for the spring placemaking grant program. This is the sixth year of the program, which was developed to award grants for placemaking projects located in Downtown Halifax. These projects contribute to DHBC’s placemaking efforts to help Downtown Halifax encourage civic pride, support local economies, improve public health, and welcome locals and visitors alike.
Open Grant spring 2021 recipients:
Recipient: Argyle Fine Art – $1,529
Location: Utility poles throughout Downtown Halifax. (Currently underway)
Overview: Utility poles were once filled with posters advertising upcoming events that have now been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Argyle Fine Art wanted to revitalize these poles and fill them with art, inspired by the art of the gig poster and bring an open-air art gallery to brighten up Barrington Street and surrounding Downtown areas, where public poster kiosks are provided for the public to use. The hope is that this COVID-inspired art project will help spread a little joy and bring visual art to the streets for everyone to enjoy.
Mural Grant spring 2021 recipients (in alphabetical order):
Recipient: Sarah Cannon – $9,590
Overview: “Magic Meadow” depicts a woman and her dog sitting in a patch of brightly colored Lupines as they watch butterflies dance overhead. Through the depiction of Nova Scotia inspired landscapes, the artist invites the public to explore their surroundings and find magic in their natural world. Consistent with Halifax’s natural heritage, the mural concept leverages visually striking flowers and insects to foster exploration and curiosity.
Recipient: KDP Letters – $6,613
Overview: Artist Kristen De Palma will take the small, overlooked “eyesores” in Downtown Halifax and transform them into unexpected, beautiful installations featuring quotes about noticing beauty. In unexpected places, ornate gold frames showcasing original hand lettered art will be cause for pedestrians to stop and take a moment to appreciate the beauty around them.
Recipient: Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – $2,415
Location: Halifax waterfront boardwalk
Overview: Since 2017, the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel has been working to increase pedestrian exposure to the north end of the Halifax Boardwalk through the Urban Art Project. Three lower-level boardwalk murals are rotated each season. There are also three other large-scale murals that are updated bi-annually. Trackside Studios will paint three murals on the lower level of the Halifax boardwalk and Swade Owens will paint one larger-scale mural on the lower-level boardwalk staircase.