Focus

By: 
Malcolm Fraser

Homegrown success ... International impact

Guest Post: Malcolm Fraser, Board Chair

Nova Scotia is an incredibly unique place. We as a people don’t overtly brag about the successes achieved in the province and the value they have beyond our borders and to act against this nature is challenging. But, it is impossible to be humble about the successes achieved by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia within its industry locally, nationally and internationally.

As the incoming Chair [Fraser officially took on the role in June 2016], it may seem partisan for me to be bullish on the state of our organization, but the evidence speaks for itself—let me share some of it with you.

At the recent launch of the new movie Maudie, which was the feature presentation for the opening of the 2016 Atlantic Film Festival, we are reminded that international directors and actors came together to produce a feature-length film about the life of Maud Lewis, one of our country's' most prolific and renowned folk artists. I believe the performances and videography of this movie will deliver critical and market success, and it would not have been made possible without the Gallery’s involvement and commitment.

The Sobey Art Award was first administered and presented by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in conjunction with the Sobey Art Foundation, and is Canada’s most prestigous contemporary art prize—a program so successful that it is ushering it to a new era of development through the National Gallery of Canada, where it will increase its focus on the international stage. This success was born out of our innovation, and remains a source of pride for the Gallery.

We also recently hired a new Director and CEO, a process that saw over 65 highly qualified applicants reach out from across the continent who felt inspired to lead our Gallery into its next stage of growth. Our achievements are attracting the best and the brightest of our industry to Nova Scotia. How is that not the pinnacle of success for any Nova Scotian organization?

Autism Arts is a nationally-recognized program that builds healthy communities through the practice of creating art. Healthcare innovation through arts programming for people on the autism spectrum. We are now in the process of creating a template of this program to share with other institutions around the world, based on the successes we have achieved right here at home.

Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey is an exhibition of contemporary works by 29 artists exploring themes through a Nova Scotian lens, and the largest of its kind in the province. The exhibition is a true depiction of the scope and depth of one of our richest natural resources: the artists who work here and have a deep connection to our province.

We are also on our way to developing a new home for the Gallery to establish an ideal place where Nova Scotians and visitors alike can come to celebrate the vibrancy of the arts in our province, which allows for a sharing of perspectives as a community with ourselves and beyond. All while being surrounded by our incredible Permanent Collection (over 17,500 works) that our curators draw from to encourage discussions about the challenges facing our time, and how we as Nova Scotians can drive innovative thinking to make our world a better place.

We cannot be successful as a province socially or economically without a strong cultural community. Innovation comes from creative thinking, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and its partners in the cultural sector are leading its development.

These accomplishments – which are a just few among many others—are made possible by a very small team of dedicated people who work well beyond their post everyday, and work within the challenge of a shrinking pool of resources. How is this not one of our provinces biggest success stories?

I am proud to be part of this organization, I am proud of the team at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and I look forward to building a stronger province through the arts.
 

Malcolm Fraser is one of Canada’s Senior Digital Leaders. Over the past 20 years Malcolm has achieved recognition and awards for innovation, management and community leadership. Fraser founded and managed MODE (formally ISL), one of Halifax’s leading digital consultancies. He is now at FCV Interactive as Vice President and Managing Director, Halifax. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (Marketing and Economics) from Mount Allison University. Fraser currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and sits on both the Board of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and the Board of the Sobey Art Foundation.

Malcolm and his wife Jennifer reside in Chester, Nova Scotia.

Image Credit: 

Malcolm Fraser, Board Chair, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in front of work by Matthew Collins, Carters Beach with Marker Paint, 2015-16, acrylic and spray paint on canvas (currently on view as part of the exhibition Terroir: a Nova Scotia Survey). Photo by Raw Photography.