Building Community at Parkland at the Common

Posted on October 12th, 2021
by Nocturne

We have been working on something very special for you to experience during Nocturne and it starts TODAY!

At the future site of Parkland at the Common, a new senior living community in the Quinpool district in Halifax, there will be 4 brand new murals painted by local artists. This placemaking project is a partnership between Parkland and Nocturne to bring more opportunities to artists emerging in their careers. At this year's Nocturne you will see street artists from Trackside Studios + a special guest artist collab donning the walls of this future community.

Using the theme of "building community," each artist has taken a unique spin on the theme with their work. The goal is to use this as a site for art making and community building while the construction takes place behind the wall. Utilizing this space in this way will create vibrancy, visual impact and intrigue, and support the artistic community by providing opportunities to try something new. This two year partnership will see the murals switched out from time to time with an eye to bring new perspectives to the site and give space to art makers in the city!

Visit the site during Nocturne to see the artists painting live (weather dependant) and follow along on social media as we bring you closer to the artists and their work.


Leading this project is Michael Bart who has been painting for over 20 years. His inspiration is always to bring colour back into our cities through his work and is well known for his mural projects in the downtown core where he uses his graffiti and street art background mixed with classical influences to communicate messages of hope that look to the future. He has been painting most of his life and loves the challenge of working on new projects with new partners. Michael will be collaborating with artist Jordan Bennett. Jordan is a Mi’kmaq visual from Stephenville Crossing, Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland). Jordan's ongoing practice utilizes painting, sculpture, video, installation and sound to explore land, language, the act of visiting, familial histories and challenging colonial perceptions of indigenous histories and presence with a focus on exploring Mi’kmaq and Beothuk visual culture of Ktaqamkuk. He is currently experimenting with spray paint and working with Michael to learn more about the medium.

The painting they will complete together for this project will bring some of the natural world back to site as a colourful reminder as we build new communities and welcome new faces. He looks to his elders of his own community for advice and guidance and is excited to be a part of this community building project for Parkland on the Common!

As a budding artist throughout his youth, Justin Donald Fraser-Fong (aka Donny) was encouraged to get into the arts professionally most of his life. He attended NSCAD University for a year and completed a degree from Acadia University in 2019 in Business and has been painting and managing himself as a working artist ever since - connecting his passion for the arts and entrepreneurial spirit into one exciting career.

For this project, Donny was inspired to paint the Canadian Lynx which is currently on the endangered species list. As a longtime admirer of this nocturnal predator he wants to call attention to the delicate balance of our ecosystem. More symbolically he sees this as a nod to future communities that will dwell here and likens the effort and precision he paints with to the livelihood of thriving communities and the care required to make sure everyone feels seen. He hopes the realism in the work will be appreciated by passersby!

Daniel Burt was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has been drawing and painting his entire life. In his teenage years he began to experiment with spray paint which allowed him to start exploring large scale pieces and bigger projects. His style mizes realism techniques with bold and bright colours to connect the ideas behind his work. You can check out some of his past work throughout Downtown Halifax.

For this project Daniel has titled his piece “Keeper” which is inspired by the people and organizations who truly care about our city. He is looking to the people and places that ignite the city and its people with hope and promise for the future. Caring about more than the built environment but also the history and people that it belongs to is key to us building a thriving and supportive community here. We must protect what we cherish most and treat our community like a sprouting plant. Give it lots of love so we can pass it down to the hands of future generations.

Swade Owens
came to Halifax by way of Toronto, Ontario and has been painting since 2009. This work uses clean lines and unique colour pallets to communicate his message which is often about placemaking and vibrancy in the city. His graphic style often features fantastical creatures and societal commentary. You can check out other pieces by him on the Halifax Waterfront.

For this project, Swade’s painting is inspired by the relationship between how people build communities and share them with our animal neighbours and more-than-human-kin. He is interested in how we create spaces that foster community but also how creatures of the world have created their own sense of community. He feels we can learn alot about thriving communities from the animal world and we can use these lessons to build more sustainable and inclusive communities.