The art-entrepreneurship link
December 2, 2013

There’s something about being an artist that makes for being an entrepreneur. Just ask Daun Windover, Emily Jones, Jane MacDougald and Katie Roux, of whom have started new businesses in HRM.

“As an artist, you know how to problem solve with very few resources,” says Daun Windover (BFA 1993), a filmmaker whose new business Abode has just opened. “You take risks and jump in with both feet. Risk-taking, problem-solving, critical thinking ... those things define what makes an artist but they also define an entrepreneur.”

Daun’s latest project is called Abode; it evolved out of a small shop called Housewerks in the Plan B co-op space on Gottingen. Abode is located at 1664 Granville Street at the back of the Roy Building, which will be vacated for redevelopment at the end of February. That’s OK with Daun; it gives her time to see if her new business will take hold. And, just in case, she continues to juggle a few other jobs, including being a tutor at the Writing Centre at NSCAD.

“It’s harder and harder for a woman of my age to get a full-time job. I’m either over-qualified or, unspoken, too old. But I thought maybe I could do this full time,” says Daun, 60, with a gesture that encompasses her shop, with its array of vintage furniture, house wares and textiles. The aesthetic is cool mid-century modern – think Mad Men set in Halifax. Store hours are noon to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.


Daun Windover's shop Abode is located at 1664 Granville Street, a few blocks from NSCAD's Granville Campus.


Emily Jones figures she was born to sell art—and she’s thrilled that’s what she’s finally doing. Her gallery Hermes made its debut during Nocturne with a suite of glow-in-the-dark paintings by Mitchell Wiebe (MFA 1996). Hermes is located at 5682 North Street, just around the corner from Gus’ Pub.

“I’ve always dreamt about it and I had to take the chance,” says Emily (BFA 2005). “I would be so happy if this is something I could do with my life forever.”

The gallery is named for Hermes, the messenger god in the pantheon of Greek mythology. He’s also the patron of commerce and trade. “I just thought it had the right energy for a commercial gallery,” says Emily. “To me, that’s a pure healthy transaction—the exchange of art between the artist and someone who loves their art. That’s what I want to facilitate.”

Emily plans on having new exhibitions every few weeks. Hermes is currently showcasing a group show of work by NSCAD graduates Mary Ellen Oxby, Colin Canary (BFA 2013), Andrew Hunt (BFA 2002) and Matthis Grunsky (BFA 2013). Gallery hours are 1 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays to Thursdays; 1 to 4 p.m. on Fridays; and 12 noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

 Emily Jones named her gallery Hermes for the Greek god of commerce and trade. A painting by Colin Canary is seen behind her.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth is another new gallery; The Dart Gallery at 127A Portland Street opened its doors in October.

“It’s going fantastic. I’ve been really thrilled with the activity and the reception from the community,” says co-founder Jane MacDougald. “There isn’t anything I love more than art, and with all the talent in the area and the downtown on the upswing, I decided this was my opportunity.”

Jane has a business degree through Acadia, and then took a few classes at NSCAD through the School of Extended Studies.

“I’m a huge fan of Extended Studies to be honest. The range of classes and programs available to the community is phenomenal,” says Jane, who says she was fortunate to study printmaking with Charley Young (BFA 2009).

“NSCAD is a breeding ground for creativity of all sorts, including entrepreneurship. To take risks, to work hard—that’s all part of the NSCAD DNA.”

Hard work, risk taking, creativity, enormous energy—all that’s evident in The Nook, a coffee shop and lounge which just opened last week at 2116 Gottingen Street. With The Nook, Katie Roux (BFA 2011) and Mark Pavlovski wanted to create the kind of space they loved as students—a cosy neighbourhood place with a relaxed vibe where you could drop in for coffee and study, grab breakfast on the way to class, or arrange to meet friends after work for a drink. The food on offer—open-faced sandwiches, sampler boards, salads—showcases local vendors from the Seaport Farmers Market.

Katie’s twin passions come together—food and art—together in The Nook. The decor is modern and rustic, featuring earth plaster walls made from Katie’s own recipe, floor cushions and tables Katie made from typesetting drawers. “It was fun to take a blank canvas and sift through all our inspirations and create something that reflected both our design interests,” she says.

Katie compares opening the doors to The Nook as the crit on the last class of the term:

“One thing I really got out of NSCAD is the ability to take an idea and use a short amount of time to fully develop it and present it to other people. It’s nerve-wracking, but rewarding too.”

The Nook is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays, 7 a.m. to midnight, and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight.


Read more: Launching the I AM NSCAD campaign