Artist needed for a new Viola Desmond monument in Halifax

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia reimburses court fees, fine paid by civil rights icon Viola Desmond'
Nova Scotia reimburses court fees, fine paid by civil rights icon Viola Desmond
Nova Scotia reimburses court fees, fine paid by civil rights icon Viola Desmond – Feb 3, 2021

The North End Businesses Association (NEBA) has a location picked for the Viola Desmond monument it has received federal funding for, and is now looking for an artist.

Association executive director Tracy Jackson said in an email the monument will be placed at 2300 Gottingen St., very close to where Viola Desmond’s salon once stood.

“We want the art piece to be reflective of Viola’s strength and perseverance, and to inspire young entrepreneurs for many years to come,” she said in the email.

Desmond, a Black businesswoman and civil rights pioneer, was arrested in 1946 for refusing to leave a whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

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Her arrest was one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history and helped start the modern civil rights movement.

It would take 63 years for Nova Scotia to issue Desmond a posthumous apology and pardon. Desmond later became the face of the $10 banknote, which entered circulation in 2018.

Click to play video: 'Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond officially enters circulation'
Canada’s new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond officially enters circulation

Jackson said the artist for the monument will be selected through a two-phased approach.

Once interested artists apply, a selection panel made up of NEBA representatives, the North End community, and members of the arts community will choose three finalists. She says the first-place finalist will be awarded $100,000 to complete the project.

“At this point, we are seeking expressions of interest from the artist community,” she wrote.

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Halifax MP Andy Fillmore announced on Monday the non-payable investment will be for $111,000 and will be provided through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.

The CCRF’s contribution will also support the creation of banners by 40 underrepresented artists, which will be displayed throughout the north end.

In a news release, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency said the goal is bring people back into the city, which will help support Halifax’s economic recovery as it rebounds from COVID-19.

“The new art, paired with informational signage and walking tours, will encourage people to explore the North End while helping to preserve the area’s cultural identity,” it said.

Both the monument and banners are set to go up this summer.

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