Deatil of a lanscape painting and the text YOU ARE HERE in bold type

YOU ARE HERE: Seeing Sackville through the Owens Art Gallery Collection

Online now: www.youareheresackvillenb.ca

This map will take you to places that no longer exist, landscapes that have transformed over time, and locations that you might know well. Through a selection of work from the Owens Art Gallery’s permanent collection, you can discover and rediscover Sackville.

Since time immemorial, artists have lived in Siknikt, the district of Mi'kma'ki in which Sackville is located, and many more have passed through on short or long visits. These artists have seen Sackville and its surrounding salt marshes as gifts from the Creator, a scenic setting, a subject, an idea, or a question. Through their work we can reflect on what it means to be “here” and how “here” has changed. We can open a window to the past, respond to the present, and consider the future. We can also take a moment to consider our connections to this place and the land on which it is situated. With this in mind, we acknowledge, honour, and pay respect to the traditional owners and custodians—from all four directions—of this land. Mount Allison University and the Owens Art Gallery are built upon the unceded, ancestral lands of the L’nuk (Mi'kmaq). This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which the Mi'kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkati first signed with the British Crown in 1726.

You Are Here was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of the Owens Art Gallery and Colville House. This project activates the gallery’s collection through works that connect to the local Sackville environment. Bridging online and physical space, You Are Here encompasses historical and contemporary perspectives, encouraging participants to engage with their immediate surroundings.

A man wearing a blue suit is seated with his hand on his chin, looking right pensively.

An adult wearing a smock stands at an easel, holding his paintbrushes he looks back at the viewer.


Milton Gray

10 September 2020 - 31 January 2021

Milton Gray was the first recorded Black student to attend Mount Allison University. His two younger brothers, Fleming “Danny” and Vender, attended later. Milton was only 14 years old when he arrived in Sackville from New York City, in 1941. In 1944, he was drafted by the US military before completing his studies. His brother Danny, who was active in the civil rights movement, recalled his days at Mount Allison in 1945: “I never saw another black person in the surrounding vicinity.” The barber in Sackville would not cut his hair, and a restaurant in Amherst refused to serve him.

Soon after Alex Colville painted this student self-portrait, it was exhibited at the Montreal Art Association—an honour for a graduating student. Viewers were unaware of an unfinished, unidentified portrait on the reverse of the painting. Extra holes on the canvas edge show that it was removed from the stretcher and reversed to paint the self-portrait. Students and local residents often modelled for portrait classes in the Fine Arts Department and, evidently, Milton Gray was one of them.

Image: Alex Colville, untitled (self-portrait, reverse portrait of Milton Gray), 1942, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm. Collection of the Owens Art Gallery. Gift of the Artist. © A.C. Fine Art Inc.

Image: Alex Colville, untitled (self-portrait), 1942, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm. Collection of the Owens Art Gallery. Gift of the Artist. © A.C. Fine Art Inc.


Large cube like building against a sunset

Umbrella Projects


The ever-changing reality of COVID-19 makes it difficult to program future exhibitions, performances, symposia, and residencies with any sense of certainty. The need to ensure the safety of audiences, and adhere to ever-shifting restrictions regarding travel and crowd sizes leaves most in-gallery projects in doubt.

With this in mind, the Owens Art Gallery and Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre are excited to announce Umbrella Projects, a new collaborative venture designed to pool our resources, energies, and respective strengths in order to facilitate new, innovative, off-site programming for the next twelve months.

In a town the size of Sackville, these types of collaborations were already frequent and fruitful; now they feel essential—part of the age-old tradition of neighbours pulling together in a time of crisis. Rather than retrofitting existing programming to suit an online platform, we aim to entirely reimagine the possibilities—to expand not retreat. We are dedicated to providing opportunities for artists to realize unusual or strategic projects and, in the coming months, we will roll out a series of new platforms coupled with calls for submissions soliciting proposals for exciting off-site, on-paper, and on-screen projects.

Image: Alan Kong, 2020

Homepage of the Virtual Companion

A Virtual Companion to All Things Useful and Artistic: Applied Arts at Mount Allison University 1906-1960

Online now

This Virtual Companion accompanies the exhibition All Things Useful and Artistic: Applied Arts at Mount Allison University 1906-1960. Serving as a legacy for the exhibition, this website provides in-depth features on selected objects, behind-the-scenes documentation of the exhibition installation, video footage of conservation treatments, archival photographs and oral histories from graduates of the Applied Arts program.

The Virtual Companion is made possible through funding from the Sheila Hugh MacKay Foundation.

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