The artists of Nova Scotia do all of Canada proud. From paintings to bead crafts to statues, there’s art made by Bluenosers everywhere. The following 25 places are a sampling of artsy locations. Some of them are galleries, some of them are working studios, and some are even stores that offer local art for sale; all of them are ready to show you everything Nova Scotian artists have to offer.
Amos Pewter sells crafts made of pewter, which certainly makes the name make sense. The artisans are constantly exploring new designs while preserving traditional ways of pewter craft. Amos Pewter is also a member of the Economusee network, which is an international group that showcases traditional skills and trades. Drop in to see jewelry, ornaments, tableware, and more.
Where: 589 Main Street, Mahone Bay
1521 Lower Water Street, Halifax
162 Peggy’s Point Road, Peggy’s Cove
View this post on Instagram
Ann Schroeder Studio-Fine Art Quilts
Ann Schroeder’s studio looks like a riot of colourful fabric, and all you need to do is decide which piece might come home with you. Schroeder’s hand-dyed fine-art quilts come in many colours, and there are several series, like “Hay Bales”, “Fiddle Music”, and “Circles”. Schroeder also makes scarfs of many sizes and fabrics, and you can buy fabric packs to make your own quilts. Come and visit the studio and see both the works in progress and the finished quilts, and get inspired!
Where: 1422 Mabou Harbour Road, Mabou, Cape Breton Island; 902-945-2744
Arts North has earned its name—not only is it on Cape Breton, the northernmost part of the province, but it’s actually at the northern tip of Cape Breton too. This gallery showcases dozens of local Cape Breton craft artists’ best work across several mediums. The gallery also has several artists in residence, from weavers to jewelers to rope artisans. If you’re making a trip on the Cabot Trail and you want to go straight to the end, celebrate by stopping into this special gallery!
Where: 28571 Cabot Trail, Dingwall, Cape Breton; 902-383-2911
Atelier de Clare
This small yellow building holds the work of an entire collective of artists, and no, you don’t have to speak French to visit. With 34 members in the collective, it’s no surprise that the types of projects and materials are wide-ranging. You’ll find birdhouses, paintings, engravings, and more, all created by local artists. Some of these projects put even more emphasis than usual on local because some of them are made from materials scavenged from the nearby shores.
Where: 1711 Highway 1, Church Point; 902-769-3202 or 902-769-3253
Black Sheep Gallery
The Black Sheep Gallery focuses on Folk Art and features literally dozens of Canadian artists. Some of these artists are traditional folk artists like Maud Lewis, while others are still up-and-coming. They have a section devoted to First Nation artists from across Canada, and there are even some “outsider” artists featured from both Canada and the United States. I guess they don’t want to leave anyone out because otherwise, they’d be the black sheep. Get it?
Where: 1689 West Jeddore Road, West Jeddore Village; 902-889-5012
Concrete Creations is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been, and I can’t wait to go back. Ivan Higgins has created sculptures out of concrete and placed them carefully throughout a forest behind Cosby’s Garden Centre. The subjects range from fantasy creatures to delicately carved people and fountains, and it makes for a wonderful hike. Leave yourself plenty of time to walk around, because, with so many statues to see and take pictures of, you’ll want lots of daylight!
Where: 4122 Sandy Cove Road, Brooklyn; 902-354-2133
View this post on Instagram
Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio
Watching artists in progress is a great way to understand the power of the creative process as well as the passion that goes into every item. Deanne Fitzpatrick shares these processes through videos, books, and even a podcast about rug hooking, but you can also get a personal look at her studio. You’ll get to see rugs in progress, have some oatcakes, and even get to learn some basic rug hooking! There are rugs, hooking kits, wool, and patterns on sale, so you can take those lessons and make a studio of your own!
Where: 33 Church Street, Amherst; 800-328-7756
View this post on Instagram
Doug Fraser Art
Doug Fraser’s art is inspired by growing up in Inverness surrounded by the beauty and traditions of Island life. Doug has been painting for over 30 years, and paints mainly in oil on linen and canvas. His subjects capture the spirit of Cape Breton, and play sky and waterscapes off of each other to show off the beauty of the landscapes surrounding him. You can visit the studio to see current paintings and prints for sale, or you can take a tour that includes a walk and talk through the garden, and then learn techniques in the studio to create your own acrylic work to take home.
Where: 178 Loch Ban Road, Inverness, Cape Breton; 902-258-2455
Freya & Thor Gallery & Café
Another Cabot Trail stop, Freya & Thor is close to being open once more! It was recently sold to Erin Boyd and Matthew Zeilfelder; the former was born in Nova Scotia and is excited to come back home at last. The gallery, once known as the Frog Pond and Sunset Gallery, has always featured woodcarving from the original owners, William and Linda Roach, and the new owners are going to bring in silk-screening, and will also feature other local artists. If you want to see a great blend of old and new Cape Breton art traditions, mark your calendars for this summer, and drive up to see this special gallery and café.
Where: 15856 Cabot Trail Road, Chéticamp, Cape Breton; 1-460-389-6376
Fundy Treasures Gifts and Tours
The Bay of Fundy is full of treasures, so why not take a tour to see some of the land-based ones? Fundy Treasures has tours that include the Gemstone Tour, Joggins Fossil, and Parrsboro Mineral, which means you can learn everything you want about different kinds of cool rocks (please note I am not at all downplaying how awesome geology is—I just really love cool rocks of all kinds!) Once your tour is complete, you can head to their shop for souvenirs like stone jewelry, Fundy soap and candles, and even stone guitar picks!
Where: 30 Highway 242, Joggins; 902-664-9697
Glass Artisans Studio & Gallery
Glass is a medium that can be difficult to pull off, and absolutely stunning when you do. The Glass Artisans is a prime example of that stunning beauty on the Cabot Trail. With an onsite glass-blowing studio that hosts tours and demonstrations, Glass Artisans’ gallery features over forty Canadian artists. There are also several kinds of glass work here, including blown, sand carved, stained, and even lampwork!
Where: 45054 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island; 902-929-2585
Joy Laking Studio Gallery
Joy Laking is a celebrated Nova Scotian painter, and has several prestigious awards at the national and international level. She works in different kinds of paints, such as oil and acrylic, and her subjects range from landscapes to still lifes and portraits. The gallery shows off paintings, prints, and even greeting cards and books featuring Joy’s art. Due to COVID-19, this gallery is currently closed, but hopefully will be open soon for everyone to enjoy once again—in the meantime, you can view the virtual gallery on her website!
Where: 6730 Highway #2, Bass River; 902-890-8730
Iron Art & Photographs
Iron Art and Photographs is Gordon Kennedy’s Gallery. While he’s worked in many mediums over the years, he identifies as a sculptor and creates mainly three-dimensional pieces out of a variety of materials. Aside from sculpture series like Steel, Rust, and Moons, you’ll also find larger-than-life exhibits, oil paintings, and watercolors. Visit this Cabot Trail stop to see a range of work from an individual artist and see that despite the different mediums, all these works are connected by the same principle—art to, as Kennedy puts it, “touch and excite the imagination”.
Where: 48084 Cabot Trail Road, Englishtown, Cape Breton; 902-929-2318
Lucky Rabbit & Co
Since 1999, Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie have worked together to create pottery work that is sculpted and carved into gorgeous works of art. Internationally recognized, their partnership has created stunning works of pottery that are found in permanent collections across Canada. They still work in their studio at Lucky Rabbit Pottery Shop, where you can see works in progress as well as other displays. So what are you waiting for—hop on over!
Where: 15 Church Street, Annapolis Royal; 902-532-0928
View this post on Instagram
Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique
This place is technically two different locations—one in the Hydrostone Market, and one in Bayers Lake. Both locations display art products from driftwood art to lobster rope products to timberdoodle folk art and so much more. As you can probably tell from the name, they feature artists from all around the Maritimes, because ‘local’ can extend around the Atlantic provinces. They even have a collection of art from Canadian artists from all over the country, so everyone should feel right at home.
Where: Unit 21, 201 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax; 902-406-2222
5527 Young Street, Halifax; 902-406-3232
I’m not sure if there are words to describe everything this amazing store sells. Focusing on highlighting Maritime artists of all kinds, Maritime Mosaic’s name comes from the variety of products they have available. Every picture of this store has at least 50 amazing things in sight, including clothes, pillows, gift cards, and more. If you’re in the Amherst area and you love art, you should check it out, and if you’re a local artist, give them a call and see if you can become part of the store too!
Where: 29 Victoria Street East, Amherst; 902-661-2137
Maritime Painted Saltbox
This artists’ gallery has been open since 2005, but it holds an intriguing mix of antique and contemporary art. The Painted Saltbox is home to several outbuildings which hold the collections of galleries, workshops, and even dedicated studios for each of the owners, Tom Always and Peter Blais. You can view original paintings as well as metal prints of these works to take home, and you can also see heritage reproductions of antique Lunenburg arts. The colourful details of these art pieces are sure to appeal to kids, so make it a family outing.
Where: 265 Petite Riviere Road, Petite Riviere; 902-693-1544
MSVU Art Gallery
Mount Saint Vincent University has a beautiful art gallery, and you don’t have to be a student to visit! The majority of artists exhibited here are from Atlantic Canada, and some exhibited here long before they were famous. Their exhibits focus on highlighting female artists and artists of colour, and they cover a variety of subjects and styles. Since admission is free, this is a great first date, rainy day outing, or even inspiration for budding artists.
Where: Seton Academic Centre, 166 Bedford Highway; 902-457-6160
Nova Scotia Art Gallery
As the provincial art gallery, it’s no surprise that the Nova Scotia Art Gallery is on this list. While both locations feature artists from all over the world, they also have several exhibits dedicated to Nova Scotian artists. They even have exhibits dedicated to one artist, like the Maud Lewis Gallery in Halifax, which actually has her original house! With over 19,000 works between the two locations’ Permanent and Study Collections, you’ll have plenty to see when you stop by!
Where: 1723 Hollis Street, Halifax: 902-424-5280
341 Main Street, Yarmouth: 902-749-2248
View this post on Instagram
Nova Terra Cotta Pottery
Established by Joan Bruneau in 1995, this Lunenburg studio displays the artist’s beautiful terra cotta pottery. Her pottery has a variety of patterns and colours, and ranges from mugs to bowls to vases. You’ll also find the paintings of F. Scott MacLeod, a Sydney-born artist who focuses on vibrant landscapes done in oil. If you’re looking to purchase the artwork, you’ll have to make the drive out to Lunenburg, or for now you can also purchase from their virtual showroom.
Where: 10 Dufferin Street, Lunenburg; 902-634-8902
Power House Art Gallery and Studio
If you’re already in Lunenburg, you’ve got to make a stop at Power House Art. Part working studio and part gallery, Power House displays a variety of art styles. You’ll find paintings and prints from several different artists, photography by S.A. Ernst, and Inuit sculptures and prints. Stop by to see artists at work in this powerhouse of creativity!
I couldn’t resist that pun, okay?
Where: 129 Lincoln Street; 902-640-3363
Sara Bonnyman Pottery
Sara Bonnyman combines her two passions of rug hooking and pottery into a shop that’s a must see. If you come in the morning, you’re likely to see Sara in the process of throwing pots (on the pottery wheel, this is an actual thing and not wanton destruction of pottery). There’s also a beautiful garden you can explore, and in the afternoon, you can take a tour of the shop. With the wide variety of dishes and rugs available, it’ll be hard to choose just one to bring home.
Where: 326 Maple Avenue, Tatamagouche; 902-657-3215
This mainland glassworks destination focuses on providing unique gifts and decoration opportunities. Village Glassworks makes their stained glass on-site, including panels, suncatchers, and even lamps. You can even buy sheet glass and other supplies to make your own stained glass if you wish! They also feature other local artists’ work, including Gillis pewter, paper quilled snowflakes by Ruth, and other pieces of Nova Scotian art. If your windows are looking boring, this is the perfect place to get some colour for them!
Where: 4928 Highway 10 RR#2, New Germany; 902-644-3185
Visual Voice Fine Art
Every artwork is unique in its own way, but at Visual Voice Fine Art, they make sure of it. Every piece of art is unique—they don’t sell reproductions, so you’re getting original works perfect for your collection. There are paintings, sculptures, mixed media, and more on offer. Their current exhibit is themed with “Hope”, dealing with the artists’ response to the challenges of 2020.
Where: 128 King Street, Truro, 902-843-9464
View this post on Instagram
By: Adrienne Colborne