The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design celebrates its 125th anniversary weekend on September 21 to 23 with a nod to founder Anna Leonowens.
Best known as the governess to the King of Siam’s many children, Anna Leonowens was also a writer, educator and creative spirit. Later in her life, she moved to Halifax and helped her daughter Avis care for her grandchildren. She, along with other civic-minded women who believed in the value of an education in art and design, were the driving forces of the Victoria School of Art and Design (now NSCAD) which was established in 1887.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, NSCAD students, alumni and friends will gather for a card stunt—“ANNAmotion LOGOmotion”—to put Anna’s “stamp” on Halifax once again. As the noon-day cannon fires, the portrait of Anna Leonowens will appear on Citadel Hill in 572 massive pixels. Then, the pixels will flip to reveal NSCAD’s colorful and celebratory 125th anniversary logo. Participants will then skip, dance, or walk down Duke Street to NSCAD’s campus on the Granville Mall for a big group photo.
Other events going on during “ANNAversary” weekend include:
- The opening of three exhibitions at the Anna Leonowens Gallery on Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.: Presence, historic views of NSCAD; Corrections by former NSCAD president Garry Neill Kennedy; and The King and I: Reprise, a group show and contemporary art bar.
- The 24-Hour Filmfest at the Bell Auditorium unspools Friday, Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. with Exit Through the Gift Shop, then Frida at 6:35 p.m.; Coco Before Chanel at 8:45 p.m.; In the realms of the unreal: The mystery of Henry Darger at 10:35 p.m.; Midnight in Paris at midnight; Holy Mountain on Sept. 22, 1:35 a.m.; Russian Ark at 3:40 a.m.; Pollack at 5:30 a.m.; Mona Lisa Smile at 7:25 a.m.; Breakfast with Basquiat at 9:25 p.m., Basquiat at 9:50 a.m.; How to draw a bunny at 10:40 a.m.; Girl with a Pearl Earring at 1:45 p.m.; and Anna and the King at 3:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.
- The Back to School Special, a fundraising concert for NSCAD, on Granville Mall, 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Buck 65, Matt Mays, Ria Mae, Tanya Davis, Ghettosocks, Acres & Acres and a special alumni guest will perform and CBC Radio’s host Craig Norris will host. The concert will be licensed, with a bar on site, and there will also be an all-ages section. Tickets are available for $30 at Eventbrite or $35 cash the day of the concert.
NSCAD is pleased to welcome Anna Leonowens’ descendants, her great grandson Louis Leonowens and great great grand-daughter Lucy, for the celebrations.
“Anna is such an inspiration for us at NSCAD still today because she fought to improve the lives of all Nova Scotians through art education,” says Linda Hutchison, director of alumni and development at NSCAD University. “We are so happy to welcome her descendants to join with us in celebrating her legacy.”