What is Nocturne?

Nocturne: Art at Night is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax between 6 p.m.-midnight. The completely free annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene in Halifax. Nocturne, designed and planned largely by volunteers, is an opportunity for everyone to experience the art of Halifax in a whole new light. The Nocturne program and map guide residents and visitors alike to a variety of exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city.

Nocturne is a not-for-profit organization. We work on building partnerships with the city and area businesses and government organizations to bring the city access to art and wonder with no barriers.

Geographically, Nocturne takes place within Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. 

Every year Nocturne works with a new curator to present a theme and anchor artists. These projects echo the year's theme and create gathering spots to which to explore the festival from.

Safer Spaces Statement

Nocturne is dedicated to providing safer spaces. Our aim is to: host spaces that are widely accessible, amplify marginalized voices and leadership, and actively prioritize anti oppressive principles. Our organizational goal is to provide inclusive events free from harassment and discrimination. 

In all Nocturne spaces we will treat each other with respect and dignity and will not tolerate any discrimination or violence.  This expectation includes but is not limited to: racism, homophobia, transphophia, ableism, ageism, sexualized violence, and all acts of violence and harassment. Building spaces that care for our various communities is deeply important to us and we take these safety measures very seriously. 

For any questions on this statement, please contact: 

Lindsay Ann Cory
Executive Director, Nocturne: Art at Night
[email protected]
Phone: 902-456-6627


Dary Jessome
Chair, Nocturne: Art at Night
[email protected]

Other community supports include: 

- South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre (902) 494 2423 or southhousehalifax.ca
- Avalon Sexual Assault Centre (902) 422-4240 or avaloncentre.ca

Nocturne 2018

This year, Nocturne has partnered with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective to bring you NOMADIC RECIPROCITY curated by Raven Davis. 

Raven Davis is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, performer, human rights speaker/advocate and community facilitator from the Anishinaabek Nation in Manitoba. Davis was born and raised in Tkaronto (Toronto) and currently works and lives between K’jipuktuk (Halifax) and Tkaronto. A parent of 3 sons, Davis blends narratives of colonization, race, gender, sexuality, Two-Spirit identity and the Anishinaabemowin language and culture into a variety of contemporary art forms.

2018 Theme: Nomadic Reciprocity

Where They Started:
“...the land, much of which is either rich pasture or available for cultivation and greatly desired for immediate settlement, remains in an unproductive condition- is of no real value to the Indians and utterly unprofitable to the public interest.” 
- Joseph Trutch, Land Commissionaire, August 28th,1867 (A letter to the Colonial Secretary)

The legacy of our ancestors is alive and thriving, and like sugar to cancer it breeds and multiplies with every elected colonial leader who promises to do better, do more, and reconcile with the past. What power do we have in a colonial framework? Is there enough power in art? And is art’s power strong enough to not just change the system but also affect the people who fortify it?

Our colonial forefathers, such as John A. MacDonald (also known in his day as “Old Chieftain”), founded their “victories” on non-reciprocal relationships. The inheritance of our ill-fated history is most recently demonstrated by grassroots political movements such as Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, and the Standing Rock pipeline protests. These movements, along with countless others, compel us to unpack and reflect on our understandings of our history and the long-lasting impacts of colonization as well as our reciprocal dependence on the land that we stand on, benefit from, and must protect for future generations. 

Where We Begin:
Responding to the one-sided settler state of Canada’s documented history, Nomadic Reciprocity encourages artists from all territories and all treaties to work in collaborative reciprocity to reflect on their connection to the political environment of Canada and the Indigenous land we occupy, including the social conditions and each person’s lived experiences as Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people.

How might art, creation, and collaboration take place if we commit to decolonize our understandings of geographic restrictions and provincial boundaries and challenge statements like where are you really from? In academia, art history is often categorized by not just the medium but also geographic, historic, political, and cultural connections and influences; with this understanding, how can we call into question land ownership, governance, reconciliation, and forgiveness? Further, what are we collectively erasing in our attempts to own people, land, power and identity?

It is our goal to encourage artistic collaborations while using art as a catalyst for re-imagining our future and our communities. We seek to display themes linked to history, colonialism, queerness, accessibility, social justice, gender, and Indigenous sovereignty and allow a broader visibility of artistic works not common in organized public spaces and institutions. We will showcase artistic works that create space for conversations about (and a deeper understanding of) the country we live in and the Indigenous land we occupy.


The Nocturne Committee lends voice and agency to the Halifax arts community by facilitating collaborations and exhibition opportunities in the form of a free, nighttime contemporary arts event. The objective of the organization is to execute an annual event that highlights the existing arts community in the Halifax area that serves both the residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality and tourists. The organization acts as facilitator for galleries, artists and volunteers to provide an yearly arts event in both private and public spaces. By creating an accessible and professional arts event for the community, Nocturne aims for integrity and inclusiveness in all facets of event planning with special consideration to hold an intersectional, anti-oppressive, anti-racist and pro-survivor analysis in its programming and operations. 


The Nocturne: Art at Night Society facilitates exhibition opportunities based on a high standard of curatorial integrity and collaboration. Nocturne enriches and enlivens communities through the creation and exhibition of thoughtful, well executed contemporary artworks. Nocturne engages in municipal, regional, national and international contemporary arts discourse by providing professional opportunities to artists. Nocturne operates in a fiscally sustainable and responsible manner to grow in quality and impact.


  • Present critical and relevant art event(s) of a high artistic and professional standard focused on the strengths of the Halifax/local art community and that includes regional, national, and international representation
  • Increase public attendance and encourage community engagement throughout the Nocturne experience.
  • Secure human resources to deliver Nocturne activities with the guidance of the Board of Directors. Our goal is to shift the organization’s operations from a working Board to paid staff. In 2017 we hired our first full-time staff member, an Executive Director to oversee the planning of the festival. 
  • Achieve sustainability by securing and maintaining financial resources through the development of partnerships with government organizations, businesses, and communities in the region that share Nocturne’s values.

Interested in being more than a spectator? Get Involved!