NSCAD at night
January 11, 2017

Green LED lights surrounding NSCAD's historic Fountain Campus shine upwards. Photo by Erica Flake.

You might say NSCAD has got the green light to be way more colorful in 2017.

In the evening, NSCAD’s historic Fountain Campus is lit up with an array of colours. The lighting project has been made possible through funding received through the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Gritty to Pretty program.

LED lights have been installed around the downtown campus, lighting up the 150-year-old decorative facades behind which NSCAD students and faculty are hard at work. The Fountain Campus is the home for NSCAD departments including Textiles/Fashion, Painting, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography, Design and Jewellery & Metalsmithing. The campus is also the location for NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery, Art Bar +Projects, the Dawson Print Shop and the Art Supply Store, as well as a variety of small retailers including The Flower Shoppe and Sawadee Tea House and arts organizations such as the Atlantic Film Festival and The Khyber: A Centre for the Arts.

Rainbow colors for Pride

The lights are programmable, meaning that they can be adjusted to suit the occasion. Over the holidays, for example, the lights alternated between red and green. They’re likely to be red for Valentine’s Day and green for St. Patrick’s Day. For Halifax Pride Week in the summer, rainbow colors will be programmed to envelope the streetscape.  The usual combination, however, is purple and green—NSCAD colours.

An entire city block is encompassed by the Fountain Campus. Built in the 1860s, the buildings represent a mix of Italianate, Romanesque, Gothic and Norman styles. Among the buildings are the oldest all-concrete building in Canada (the Bell Building located adjacent to the Split Crow) and one with a full cast-iron façade, designed and manufactured in New York City. The block was formally recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2007.

Gritty to Pretty

“The buildings look pretty sharp,” says Randall Turple, NSCAD’s Facilities Director, who can program the lights through a small console which sits on his desk. They can even change to the beat of music. “I’ve noticed quite a few people stopping to take them in.”

The $19,000 price tag for the project was cost shared between NSCAD and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC).

DHBC’s Gritty to Pretty program also supported the creation of the colorful mural of fantastical animals by NSCAD student Alex Mbugua Thuku. The mural is located on a wall behind NSCAD’s Academy Campus on Market Street.

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