History & Mandate

MSVU Art Gallery respectfully acknowledges that the Gallery and Mount Saint Vincent University are situated on Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral, unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.

MSVU Art Gallery was opened in a purpose-built space in 1971 by University President Catherine Wallace. Established in 1873 by the Congregation of Sisters of Charity as a school for girls and women, Mount Saint Vincent University was publicly chartered in 1988.

Through its exhibitions and programs, the Gallery functions as a visual arts resource for Mount Saint Vincent University, communities served by the University, Metro Halifax residents and art publics everywhere. Admission is always free of charge.

MSVU Art Gallery reflects the University’s educational aims by devoting a significant part of its activities to the representation of women as cultural subjects and producers. This program focus is balanced with exhibitions on themes in visual culture which are relevant to university academic programs and/or constituencies served by MSVU Art Gallery. Artists and artisans from the Atlantic region are represented, often in the early stages of their careers.

These programs are funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, and by provincial and municipal agencies.

Consistent with the principle that exhibition spaces are civic spaces, the gallery is committed to normalizing accessible presentation practices throughout its public programs.

Since many contemporary artists treat art making as a form of inquiry, the university galleries are uniquely positioned to promote access to their work. MSVU Art Gallery aims to foster informed, critical responses to works of contemporary and historical art, in keeping with its academic setting. Gallery publications, lectures and talks by visiting artists and scholars are announced in the semi-annual Newsletter.

The Gallery encourages interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge, and its exhibitions are used by students and faculty in their course work. In addition, the gallery supports the MSVU Cultural Studies curriculum.

On behalf of the University, MSVU Art Gallery manages a collection of art that reflects priorities set by the exhibition program and the University’s mission. Many works can be viewed in the E. Margaret Fulton Communications Centre. The special collection of wares by Nova Scotia ceramicist and Mount alumna Alice Hagen is also displayed on campus.