The first to hold the position title of president, Garry Neill Kennedy joined NSCAD in 1967 and soon set about modernizing the small art school into an educational hotbed of activity in the latest modes of art creation.
To recognize the importance of design studies in 1969, the school was renamed the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). Also at this time, the college gained degree-granting status and made plans to return to downtown Halifax, undertaking an ambitious restoration of two city blocks of 19th century merchant shops and warehouses in the heart of the waterfront district. This initiative – an eight-year process completed in 1978 – has often been cited as an example of good citizenship, due to NSCAD’s central role in preserving and revitalizing Halifax’s historic downtown core.
By this time, NSCAD had developed an international reputation – Andy Warhol received an honorary degree in 1972 and a year later, the influential magazine Art in America mused NSCAD might be “the best art school in North America.”
Kennedy was attracting cutting-edge art stars from across Europe and North America to lecture, teach and collaborate with students and faculty at the college. To name a few: Joseph Beuys, Eric Fischl, Vito Acconci, Sol LeWitt, Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, Hans Haacke, Claes Oldenburg, A.R. Penck, Krzysztof Wodiczko and John Baldessari.
Many of these avant-garde artists left a lasting impression through works published by the NSCAD Press and prints produced through the Lithography Workshop. Many of these prints are now in important public and private collections, such as London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and were exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971, Lithograph on paper (57.0 x 76.2 cm). Anna Leonowens Gallery Archives: Lithography Workshop Collection