Rose Zack – Making the move from Calgary to Halifax

My friend Rose and I have a few very important common interests: art, culture, handbags... and gin and tonic! Most importantly, we both love Halifax.

There are so many innovative and creative people committed to being an active part of this community and Rose is definitely one of them. Rose and I met in 2008 as board members organising the very first Nocture: Art at Night. I'm pretty sure we first started chatting about one of Rose's beautiful handbags I had my eye on... she has a few! I was curious to know how she had ended up in Halifax after deciding to leave Calgary. Rose's partner Andy MacDonald, who she met in art collage in Alberta, is from Cape Breton. They were looking for a change of pace and Halifax offered a fresh start.

It's not easy being the newcomer here in Halifax. As friendly as we Maritimers claim to be, it takes a while for someone new to settle in make friends. I think Rose tackled this in the best way possible by getting involved with lots of different volunteer opportunities and by offering her talents to the Atlantic Film Festival (she is the Regional Outreach and Engagement Manager) and to Nocturne: Art at Night (board member and past chair since 2008). I find it hard to imagine Rose not knowing many people around here when she first arrived in Halifax because she certainly knows lots of folk around town now! She can usually be found with her beautiful turquoise bike on the street chatting with friends or at one of the many networking events she and I both attend.

I really enjoyed hanging out with Rose and Andy shooting some portraits outside and chatting over dinner in their flat full of art and quirky collectables. Their flat is also Andy's studio where paints. You can find Andy's amazing artwork at Argyle Fine Art.

I think Rose's experience settling in here in Halifax is best described in her own words:

"We met, many moons ago, in a drawing class in art school at the Alberta College of Art and Design. He brought his small town East Coast sensibilities to my prairie city ways. The first time I visited Halifax there was something about it that I was drawn to, that I just couldn't put my finger on. After nearly a decade of visiting and talking about it, we made the big leap into the unknown, leaving behind a booming oil town for an unknown future.

I'd always been involved in arts and culture in Calgary and knew that I would find my place in Halifax's cultural community. I've been fortunate to be a part of some great things in Halifax; The Atlantic Film Festival and Nocturne: Art at Night. Nocturne is a great example of how small groups of people, with the support of a community, can have real impact. I still think back to when it was just an idea, we couldn't have imagined then what it is now.

I've also volunteered and attended so many wonderful festivals, performances and films, all showcasing some pretty amazing regional talent. I'm struck by how committed artists and performers are to what they do, whatever medium they work in, the collaborative spirit in which they work and inspire each other and a community and audience that comes out and supports their creativity.

To see Andrew's commitment to art making really blossom has been another great reason for being here. Night after night, he paints, inspired by the community and the buildings that surround us. It's been wonderful to see his work develop, be supported by the gallery that represents him and to know that his work is now in collections throughout HRM and across the country."

Thanks Rose and Andy! I'm very happy to have you as friends here in Halifax.