About VANS

Visual Arts Nova Scotia advances the visual arts through leadership, education, and communication.


  • OFFER programs, services and resources to individual artists and the visual arts sector
  • SUPPORT the activity of professional visual art practices
  • ADVOCATE for individual artists, the visual arts sector and the arts in general

Visual Arts Nova Scotia is an artist-run organization incorporated in 1976 to support and promote artists while advocating for the visual arts sector in Nova Scotia. By encouraging artists to pursue their creative and professional practices creating connections to a community of peers and serving as a primary source for information, Visual Arts Nova Scotia fosters excellence, skills development, and learning in the arts.

highlighted works from our membership brochure:

programs and services

To achieve these goals, VANS offers the following programs and services:

Visual Arts News: A subscription to the oldest continuous visual art publication in Atlantic Canada. The magazine, distributed nationally, is published 3 times/year with features, profiles, interviews, news and reviews primarily focusing on artists and the visual arts in Nova Scotia. Membership in VANS includes a subscription to the magazine. For further information visit www.visualartsnews.ca

Mentorship Program: The VANS Mentorship Program is designed to support the individual artistic methods and professional ambitions of emerging artists in Nova Scotia by providing access to the skills and experience of selected mentors.

PAINTS (Professional Artists in the Schools): This program enables schools throughout NS to bring professional artists working both in visual arts and fine crafts into their classrooms. For detailed information visit www.paintsns.ca

Professional Development Workshops: Professional development workshops related to your career as an artist. Topics include: Grant writing, portfolios, proposals, marketing, writing for the arts, documenting your work, and community art projects.


  • VANS Newsletter information updated bi-weekly on current opportunities relevant to your art practice, which also acts as a promotion tool for the organization.
  • Artist Profiles Highlights our programs by featuring an active member artist participating in our programs.
  • Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Members’ News A quarterly electronic newsletter featuring members’ activities.

E-Studio Artist Directory: A major collection of Nova Scotia’s working visual artists online.

Resource Library: Online and In House reference materials on contracts, grants, residencies, tax law, copyright, commissions, competitions, etc.

Artist Emergency Fund: Assists artists in financial need arising from severe illness, an accident resulting in inability to work of help with studio replacement in case of a disaster, such as fire, where there is no insurance.

Open Grant to Galleries and Groups: Any gallery or group who is a member of VANS can apply for up to $250 to assist with costs to mount an exhibition. The intention of this small grant program is to enhance exhibition activities across the province.

Peer Connections: Opportunities for artists to network through discussions, information sessions, and our Peer-to-Peer Application Review Groups.

Corridor Gallery: giving members of Visual Arts Nova Scotia an opportunity to create an exhibition of their work.

Group Discounts:

  • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia VANS members will receive a 25% discount on Individual AGNS memberships. Just present your VANS e-receipt or Membership Confirmation email.
  • Deserres Halifax 10% discount off of regularly priced merchandise to members with a Deserres Creative Club membership. Present your membership receipt and sign up as a member of Deserres’ Creative Club. With the Creative Club membership, you will not only be receiving a discount, but you’ll also be collecting points that can be redeemed on future purchases.

Internships: Administrative work terms for art college students.

Advocacy: Promotion of arts awareness in government, business, schools, media, and the general public.


Operating Assistance for VANS is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage, the Halifax Regional Municipal with additional revenues generated through membership and program fees, project grants, fundraising, and magazine advertising, and the generous aid of sponsors and donors.




Without the generosity of its many supporters, VANS could not offer such a wide range of programs and services.

VANS is registered as a charitable organization, and all donations are tax deductible. When filling in your membership form, please consider making a donation.

Sponsorship or legacy giving information relating to a particular VANS program or service is available from the office. For more information, please contact director@visualarts.ns.ca.