In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Art Bank, Arts Nova Scotia is announcing a strategic purchase that will strengthen the representation of African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq artists in the collection. 

For nearly 50 years the Art Bank has collected artworks by Nova Scotian artists through a peer assessment process. Over 800 artists have benefited from having their work recognized by peers, earning an income from the sale of their work, and building an exhibition history. 

While the collection is one to be proud of, the Art Bank recognizes that it also reflects the barriers to participation that African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq and other BIPOC artists have historically faced and as a result, these communities are not well represented in the collection. A 2020 review of the Art Bank recommended a strategic purchase take place to counteract this disproportionately low representation.  

This year the Art Bank Purchase program will be open exclusively to artists who are African Nova Scotian and/or Mi’kmaq. These two communities have been made a priority in this first strategic purchase, in recognition of their profound historical and contemporary artistic impact here in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. All will be invited to celebrate 50 years of the Art Bank in 2025 with an exhibition of the newly acquired artworks.

The open call for applications will resume in 2025.

Guidelines, application forms, and dates for information sessions will be available by February 15 with an application deadline of April 15.


The Nova Scotia Art Bank was created in 1975 by the Department of Recreation to provide recognition to Nova Scotian artists and to stimulate public awareness of visual arts in the province.  The collection is owned by the Government of Nova Scotia. Currently, the Nova Scotia Art Bank is financed, maintained, and managed by Arts Nova Scotia.  

The Nova Scotia Art Bank Collection is unlike any other art collection in the province – it is first and foremost a working collection. It is meant to be seen and enjoyed by Nova Scotians as they go about their day-to-day lives and can be viewed in many government locations around the province. The focus is on access, using public places where art is not normally seen. 

The collection has been developed on an annual basis through the acquisition of artwork submitted directly by the professional visual art community. Individual artworks are selected for purchase by a peer assessment committee. 

Works are displayed in government offices where they can be viewed by staff, clients, and the public.  Comprised of close to 2,300 works of art, over 40 percent of this collection is on display in public spaces throughout the province.