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NSCAD grads launch Halifax Art Book Fair

halifax art book fair - poster detail
Poster detail from the Halifax Art Book Fair.

With the popularity of art book fairs in recent years growing beyond the pale of major cities like London, New York, or Frankfurt to smaller cities around the world, four art publishers and art book enthusiasts are launching a book fair in Halifax.

The inaugural edition of the Halifax Art Book Fair (HABF) and conference will take place on April 13th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the All Nations Church, 2535 Robie Street (corner of Robie and Charles). Admission is free.

Organized by Andrew Hill (BFA Expanded Media 2023), Marite Kuus, Neil Kehler (BFA Photography 2023) and Nick Chapman (BFA Interdisciplinary Arts/Art HIstory 2019), it marks a significant step in the contemporary art scene in Halifax, and of course, many NSCAD alumni are behind it.

The HABF prioritizes artists’ books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals, zines and related printed materials. There will also be live events programming, featuring hourly talks on aspects of print culture. You can find the full program on their website.

Co-organizer Andrew Hill spoke with us about the fair. 

Why an art book fair in Halifax?

There is a significant art book history in Halifax that has largely gone unnoticed in the international circuit of art book fairs. The closest art book fairs to Nova Scotia are in Montreal and New York, which makes it difficult for many Maritime artists to attend these events. HABF wants to reignite the Atlantic art book scene and foster a space for new friendships, connections and ideas.

Can you talk about the research and travel you did preparing for this?

We tabled as Special Characters at Printed Matter’s Los Angeles Art Book Fair, as well as VOLUME fair in Montreal. We also talked with a lot of community members in Halifax to design an event that meets the needs of our community. Among them were people who had represented Halifax INK at the New York Art Book Fair before the pandemic. 

You co-run Special Characters. It started at NSCAD. How does your small press, NSCAD, and this book fair all intersect?

Special Characters was started by myself, Nick Chapman and Soren Wilde in 2021. Since then, we have collaborated with many NSCAD students, alumni and artists in the NSCAD network. We have also hosted exhibitions and other events with a goal to foster more artist-run projects in Halifax. Our goal is to provide a platform for artists and publishers in the community, and foster exchange between the Maritimes and beyond. This is what the idea for the Halifax Art Book Fair grew out of.

What’s your ultimate goal for all this?

Our current goal is to build a scene for art book publishing in Halifax, with a longer-term goal of opening a project space with a focus on art books and publishing. A free learning space for performances, lectures, a reading room/library, with the possibility of printing and binding in-house. Think Wendy’s Subway in Brooklyn, Endless Editions in New York, Pamflett in Norway, or  Enter Enter in Holland.

About the fair:

Halifax Art Book Fair (HABF)  April 13th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. All Nations Church, 2535 Robie Street. Admission is free.

The Fair acknowledges the generous financial support from Atlantic News and Visual Arts Nova Scotia