Arts Wall

Honouring Sackville artists who have made their mark, here and abroad

The Sackville Arts Wall recognizes and honours achievements of Sackville and area artists who have attained international, national or regional prominence and distinction in the three classifications of Literary Arts, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. It also honours a Sackville and area citizen (or group) who has been instrumental in the cultural and artistic development within our community.

Initiated in 2008, the year of Sackville’s designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada, its first members were named in 2009. At least one and up to a maximum of four new members (one per category) may be added to the wall biannually, as chosen by a jury from among candidates nominated by the public.

Scroll down for more information about the nomination process.


Sackville Arts Wall

Explore Sackville's history of excellence in the arts

David Alexander Colville, pc cc

Alex Colville, an internationally renowned painter and printmaker, was born in Toronto in 1920 and raised in Amherst NS. He graduated in Fine Arts from Mount Allison in 1942 and returned there as a professor in 1946, after overseas service with the Canadian Army as a war artist. He remained in Sackville with his wife Rhoda until 1972. As a teacher he has had a profound influence on the style and subject matter of many of Atlantic Canada’s leading contemporary painters.

Colville has been called the founder of Canadian magic realist art. His meticulous images of familiar Maritime scenes often evoke an eerie sense of tension. The long list of honours in recognition of his own work as an artist includes induction as a Companion of the Order of Canada (1982), membership in the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (1992) and receipt of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2003).

Sir Charles G. D. Roberts

Charles George Douglas Roberts, often praised as ‘the father of Canadian literature,’ spent his boyhood in the Tantramar area. Though he left at 14, living subsequently in Fredericton, New York, Paris, London and Toronto, vivid images of the wind-swept tidal flats and salt marshes remained imprinted on his memory. Much of his verse drew inspiration from that vision and when he chose to set prose works in the haunts of his youth, his picturesque descriptions of local landscapes gave a strong sense of place to his writing.
Roberts’ poems, novels, historical writing and animal stories profoundly influenced generations of Canadian readers, writers and conservationists. In 1926 he was awarded the Lorne Pierce Medal by the Royal Society of Canada for his contributions to literature. His knighthood, in 1935, crowned a career that spanned the years from before Confederation to the Second World War.

Pauline Spatz

Born in Sackville in 1924 and raised in Wood Point, Pauline Alward followed her nursing career to New York. She retired to Sackville in 1972 with her husband, Dr. Albert Spatz, a distinguished psychiatrist and music lover. A co-founder of the Friends of the Owens Gallery and an enthusiastic member of the Sackville Art
Association, she dedicated countless hours to bringing art to local schools. Her sense of community is also evident in her generous funding of the Wry Collection at the Boultenhouse Heritage Museum. Since 1999, in memory of her husband, she has sponsored an annual concert and master class at Mount Allison by a distinguished guest pianist. In 2009, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Alzheimer Society
of Canada, she created the Dr. and Mrs. Albert Spatz Special Award for Music and Dementia Studies. Her explanation of her philosophy of giving is simple:
“We receive so much; we help others in return. It’s just the rhythm of life.”

Ray Legere

Ray Legere, Sackville resident and internationally acclaimed musician, was born in Amherst NS on September 20, 1965. He discovered music at an early age and has been recognized since the early 1980s as an outstanding bluegrass performer, repeatedly winning top honours in international mandolin and fiddle competitions and multiple
East Coast Music Awards. He is an accomplished composer whose works have been performed by Symphony Nova Scotia with whom he appeared as a guest soloist. He is a skilled producer of recordings by other artists. He has performed at venues as varied as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and on hundreds of recordings and he has toured extensively with the virtuoso string ensemble, Bowfire; yet, he still finds time to support local events and to spend evenings jamming with friends.

Arthur John Motyer

Teacher, mentor, director, playwright, impresario, author and member of the Order of New Brunswick: all these and more has Arthur Motyer been. He first set foot in Sackville in 1942, as a Mount Allison freshman. A Rhodes Scholarship drew him to Oxford for further studies in English. Back in Canada he taught at the University
of Manitoba (1948-50) and Bishop’s University (1950-70).
Returning to Sackville in 1970, he immersed himself in the cultural life of campus and community. He served for many years as Chair of the Performing Arts Committee and of Debut Atlantic, founded Windsor Theatre and the Mount Allison Drama Programme, and was mentor and founding chair of Live Bait Theatre. He has written two distinguished books, the novel What’s Remembered and a memoir, The Staircase Letters.
At every stage he has displayed a remarkable talent for uncovering the best in people and situations. As one student put it, “He saw in me what I had not seen in myself.”

Douglas Lochhead

Douglas Lochhead came to Sackville in 1975 as director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Mount Allison, bringing with him an illustrious record as scholar, poet and founder/life member of the League of Canadian Poets. Honours accumulated, including Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, nomination for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, honorary degrees, appointment for life as Sackville’s
official poet laureate and, in 2005, recognition as the first non-Italian recipient of the prestigious Carlo Betocchi Poetry Prize. All reflect the accomplishments of a prolific and perceptive observer of life, whose insights are preserved in more than thirty published volumes of poetry.
When asked once why so much of his poetry reflects Sackville and the surrounding marshes he replied, “The whole world is in your back yard if you choose to see it there, in the voice of a neighbour, the call of a chickadee. That’s the material from which I work.”

Ivan & Vivian Hicks

Ivan Hicks learned fiddling from his father, Curtis, when he was six years old. His love of the instrument grew steadily through his boyhood, as did his passion for sharing it with others. In 1970 he married Vivian, who became his piano accompanist. “Ivan and Viv” quickly won the hearts of fiddle music fans.
Their fame spread with the bands, “Marshwinds”, “Maritime Express” and “The Sussex Avenue Fiddlers”. Popular concert tours, appearances with legendary fiddlers like Chubby Wise and Ned Landry, dozens of original compositions, and more than 18 recordings all attest to the regard in which they are held.
Honours have followed. Both belong to the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame. Ivan is also an inductee to the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, a two-time Maritime Old-Time Fiddling Champion and a finalist in national competition. For their outstanding contribution to the Canadian music scene, Ivan and Vivian have earned the respect and affection of fans across the country.

Sharon MacIntyre

The rhythms of highland dancing enthralled Sharon MacIntyre when she was but three years old. By the time she was five, she was an active competitor, by thirteen a teacher and, at fifteen, Atlantic Champion. In all, between 1953 and 1964, she won 200 medals and over 20 trophies.In 1972 she founded the Sharon MacIntyre School of Highland Dance (now the Tantramar Highland Dancers) and rapidly established Sackville as an important centre for this demanding art.
In 1975 she launched the region-wide Sackville Highland Dance Competition and went on to coordinate several provincial and regional championships. In 2007, she chaired
the ScotDance Canada Championship Series, a five-day event that drew 700 dancers to New Brunswick from across Canada, the United States, Scotland, Australia and South Africa.
A tireless teacher, coach, coordinator, administrator and seamstress, Sharon has also been mentor, role model and friend to hundreds of girls and young women whose lives have been enriched by her passion, creativity and dedication.

Glenn Adams

Glenn Adams has intertwined two professions for a lifetime. A graduate of McGill University (B.Sc. 1949, Ph.D. 1953), he worked initially in the aircraft industry and also began painting. During an art workshop in 1960 and a year’s study at Mount Allison in 1962-63 he was deeply influenced by Alex Colville and Lawren P. Harris. Engineering precision is visible in the meticulous attention to colour and detail that typifies his work.
Since moving permanently to Sackville in 1974, he has been an active supporter of the Sackville Art Association and of Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre. Farther afield, he has exhibited in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, New York and other centres. His work is included in private collections across Canada and in the permanent holdings of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Owens Art Gallery, the Beaverbrook Gallery, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Canada Council Art Bank.

K.V. Johansen

K.V. Johansen, one of Canada’s leading authors of fantasy literature for children and young adults, was born in Kingston, Ontario. As a Mount Allison undergraduate she was mentored and encouraged in her writing by Douglas Lochhead. After attaining Master’s degrees in Medieval Studies and English Literature she returned to Sackville to pursue a literary career in earnest. Since the late 1990s she has produced eleven children’s books, four fantasy novels for young adults and one for adults, two volumes of short stories and two works of literary criticism for adult readers. Her books have been translated into French, Danish and Macedonian. The quality of her work has been recognized with an impressive array of fellowships and awards, ranging from the New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor’s Early Childhood Literacy Award in 2001 to the International Anna Frank Award for Children’s Literature in 2010.

Pauline Harborne

In a community renowned for musical talent, few have contributed as much to its appreciation and development as Pauline (Hicks) Harborne. Born in Upper Sackville, she began her career with piano lessons at age 9, switching to violin at 14. Armed with a Licentiate of Music from the Mount Allison Ladies College (1937), she performed with the university orchestra and in solo and chamber group recitals. For more than half a century “Polly” has taught violin to thousands of young people, among them several renowned professional musicians and music educators. Her dedication and enthusiasm are sustained by a firm belief that it is the role of a teacher to recognize and foster the distinctive potential of each student. In her mid-90s, she continues to be an active Life Member of the New Brunswick Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

Alex Fancy

Scholar, actor, playwright, director, and mentor: Alex Fancy has been all these to multiple generations of young people in Sackville and across the Maritimes.

Born in Pictou County NS, he graduated from Mount Allison in 1961 and returned as a member of faculty in 1965. He was convinced that by building confidence and clarity of expression he would engage his students in an effective learning experience. To this end, collaborative theatre became his preferred teaching medium. Since 1968 he has written and/or directed more than 94 productions. In 1982, he founded the bilingual theatre company Tintamarre, whose creations have reached well over 100,000 spectators. His achievements have earned him the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the Paul ParĂ© Medal of Excellence, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award, and many other honours. In 2014 his impact was recognized in the naming of the Motyer-Fancy Theatre.

His personal enthusiasm and exemplary dedication have encouraged hundreds of young men and women to pursue careers in education and performance, thereby enriching the cultural and social fabric of Canada.

Ian Hanoomansingh

Nationally renowned television reporter and host Ian Hanoomansingh was born in Trinidad in 1961 and came to Sackville with his parents less than a year later. Even during his formative years it was evident that he would become an artist of the spoken word.

By the time he graduated from Mount Allison University he had won national debating championships at both high school and university levels. He had also discovered a passion for broadcasting, starting in 1979 with an on-air job at radio station CKDH in Amherst, NS. That experience would lead eventually to employment with the CBC and ultimately to his emergence as one of Canada’s foremost broadcast journalists.

At its finest, the art of broadcast journalism combines factual clarity with interpretive empathy and colourful narrative skill. Ian’s eminence as a reporter and interpreter of events has been acknowledged through the presentation of many honours, including a Justicia Award for excellence in legal reporting, a Gemini Award for best news anchor and a Canadian Screen Award for best breaking news coverage.

Julie Doiron

Julie Doiron was born in Moncton in 1972. In 1990, her musical ambitions took flight with the influential alternative-rock band, Eric’s Trip. By 1996 she was living in Sackville where she has spent the most of her time since, creating music and cultivating an international following for her work.

Her efforts attracted national attention in 1999 with the release of “Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars,” which won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year in 2000. Additional albums followed, and a second Juno nomination in 2010 for “I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day.”

Besides solo work, Julie has collaborated with local, national and international musicians, among them Canada’s Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip. At the same time she became a co-founder and ongoing supporter of Sappyfest, Sackville’s annual, independent arts and music festival.

For a quarter century she has been an icon of Canadian independent rock music and a remarkable ambassador for Sackville around the world.

Mary Connelly

“Her playing is an inspiration, her enthusiasm sensational, her giggle contagious.” Thus the Mount Allison yearbook described a 19-year-old Mary Connelly in 1943.

Mary studied music in Sackville from 1941 to 1945. She taught music in area schools from 1962 to 1968. And in 1989 she returned to this town, where she would stimulate musical and artistic endeavours for the next twenty-five years.

As an imaginative teacher, she helped her students discover music as a living form of expression. As an accompanist and mentor, she urged them to dig ever deeper for meaning and nuance. As a church organist and choral conductor, she helped countless individuals to feel connected with the community at large. As a singer, she delighted audiences at formal and impromptu concerts. As a hostess, she welcomed friends into her home for memorable evenings of music and Scottish country dancing.

In every way, she was a true “Arts Builder,” promoting musical engagement and appreciation among all whom she touched.

Thaddeus Holownia

Distinguished photographer Thaddeus Holownia was born in England in 1949 and came to Canada as a child. He studied Fine Arts and Communications at the University of Windsor, graduating in 1972. He joined Mount Allison’s Fine Arts department in 1977 to launch the photography program. Since then, his work has appeared in more than 80 solo and group exhibitions at galleries across Canada and as far afield as New York, Mexico City, Tokyo, Prague, Hamburg, and Berlin. In 2017, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia honoured him with a retrospective exhibition documenting 40 years of creative accomplishments.

Shot mostly with large format view cameras, his richly detailed images record the world within and beyond Tantramar. His commitment to excellence is also evident in books from Anchorage Press, a small publishing house and printshop that he founded in 1987. Here, with like-minded poets and writers, he explores the relation between humans and nature in compelling volumes of visual and verbal imagery.

Ernie Sears

Ernest David Sears was a lifelong resident of Sackville and a lifelong promoter of music. While still in his teens he performed on the radio with the Gateway Rhythmaires and continued to play guitar and sing with other groups throughout his life, including country band Bordertown, country folk group Pick of the Crop, and gospel group Roses and Thorns.
On his retirement, he launched his own business, Ernie Sears Music, where he sold instruments, taught guitar to young and old, and sparked a love of music in countless members of the Sackville community. He also helped ensure the presence of live music at seniors’ homes, churches, charitable fundraisers, and local events of all sorts, performing with friends and often donating the use of sound equipment and his own time for set-up and tear-down.
He was known far and wide for the weekly Sunday Night Jams that he hosted in the back of his shop, where musicians ranging from novice to professional gathered to make music together. His commitment to cultivating live music in Sackville is a legacy that will long be remembered.

Delanor R. Wheaton

Born in Midgic, NB, on July 23, in 1933, Delanor (Del) Wheaton started strumming guitar when he was eight. He was soon playing for school sing-alongs and shortly afterwards was proficient enough to join and form a band called The Midgic Pioneers while still in his teens.

His first new guitar, an S.S. Stewart was a Christmas gift from his parents. Before long he was playing dances with Hall of Famers, Curtis Hicks and his son, Ivan. In 1954, he joined Ivan in forming The Golden Valley Boys to broadcast on radio, record two albums and play many concerts and dances across the Maritimes.

In 1979, he became part of a bluegrass band Ivan Hicks and Maritime Express that played on occasion, as far away as Florida and backing such international legends as Chubby Wise, Mac Wiseman, John Hartford and Roni Stoneman.  Del and a brother-in-law, Tom Johnson, eventually evolved an act, The Grubb Brothers, to add comedy to certain Express shows but it quickly became a regular highlight of the band’s concerts.

He is heard on the many records, tapes and CDs released by Maritime Express over the years. Del has also been involved with the Sackville Citizens Band, the Hussars Militia Band and Marshwinds dance band and has played mandolin with Rustic Harmony and fiddle and mandolin with Tom Johnson in backing the popular Diamonds In The Rough duo.

He has been honoured as Citizen of the Year by Sackville, his hometown for many years, and in 2005 he was inducted as a member of the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame.

Janet Hammock

Originally from Vancouver, Janet Hammock came to Sackville in 1975 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. For the next 26 years she taught in the Department of Music at Mount Allison University. A talented pianist, she has won acclaim for her concerts and recitals across Canada, and has brought many other renowned classical and experimental musicians to perform locally. Determined from the outset that music should be a community-wide experience, Janet has conducted public workshops in deep listening, taught numerous courses for the Tantramar Seniors College, and from 2010 to 2016 published a column entitled Sackville Soundscapes in the weekly Tribune-Post newspaper. Since 2015 she has hosted Fly Me to the Moon, a bi-weekly radio program showcasing local musicians of all kinds.

In the words of one former student, Janet is “dedicated to expanding the musical horizons of those around her.” With zest, compassion, and generosity, she has helped nurture an appreciation for arts and creativity throughout the community.

Janet Crawford

Sackville native Janet Crawford is the folder of a Fine Arts Diploma from Fanshawe College, and a quintessential arts builder in this community. Singer, songwriter, film maker, and visual artist, she is best known as the founder and proprietor of Fog Forest Gallery, a business she established in 1984 to exhibit and sell original works by Atlantic Canadian artists. This venue for exhibitions, talks, receptions, and workshops has continually encouraged local residents and visitors to interact with the artists she represents.

Deeply engaged in community cultural initiatives, Janet was a founding member of the Community Arts Centre during the 1970s and 80s. She has encouraged rising musicians by sponsoring multiple “house concerts” in her home and is a long-time supporter of the Tantramarsh Blues Society. She has been an active member of the Marjorie Young Bell Fine Arts and Music Committee and the Cultural Capitals Steering Committee, to name but two examples, and was a key participant in establishing the Sackville Arts Wall.

Marilyn Lerch

A graduate of the University of Indiana, Marilyn Lerch came to Sackville in 1996 after a fulfilling career as a high-school English teacher in Gary, Indiana, and Washington DC. She became a Canadian citizen in 2005.
Since coming to Canada, she has applied her love of language to a wide variety of creative endeavours: publication of six widely acclaimed collections of poetry; co-authorship of three additional books; leadership of a memoir-writing workshop; creative writing instruction in local prisons; and dedicated commitment to the cause of adult literacy.
From 2006 to 2010, she served as President of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, and from 2014 to 2018 as Sackville’s Poet Laureate.
Marilyn Lerch is a lifelong teacher, mentor, and activist whose poems, and the social engagement they nourish and express, have positively transformed the lives of not only this town and its residents, but the broader literary arts landscape of Canada as well.

Dan Steeves

Born in Riverview, New Brunswick in 1959, Dan Steeves received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mount Allison University in 1981. In that year he also became Printmaking Technician in the Department of Fine Arts at Mount Allison, a position he would occupy until 2020. In 1991 he also became a part-time lecturer in the Department.
Throughout his working life, Dan has been a prolific creative artist, producing hundreds of intaglio prints and winning widespread recognition for excellence in his field. His works have been exhibited at more than 70 galleries across Canada and the United States and as far afield as the United Kingdom, Italy, Ukraine, China, Japan, and Korea. His work has been featured in more than thirty publications, and he has been the recipient of more than twenty prestigious honours, including the Strathbutler Award for excellence in the arts, and election, in 2011, to the Royal Canadian Academy for the Arts.

Nominations and eligibility

Candidates may be nominated in any one of four categories:

  1. Literary Arts - eminent writers of poetry, novels, short stories, essays, dramas and screenplays, distinguished works of non-fiction and serious journalism.
  2. Performing Arts - outstanding musicians, actors, dancers, and other performing artists.
  3. Visual Arts - artists who have achieved distinction in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film and other visual media.
  4. Arts Builders - individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the artistic life and cultural development of the community as champions, supporters, patrons, administrators, teachers and mentors.

To be considered for selection to the Sackville Arts Wall, candidates must meet the following criteria of nomination:

  1. Residency: The candidate shall have resided in Sackville or the immediate surrounding area for a significant portion of his/her formative years and/or working life.
  2. Achievement: The candidate shall have achieved a sustained level of excellence and recognition in his/her chosen category of endeavour.

The next induction ceremony will be held in fall of 2023. To nominate an artist, please download our  2025 Nomination Form and submit by May 9, 2025. If you have any questions about the Sackville Arts Wall, please contact Community and Corporate Services at 364-4930.

Current Arts Wall Board Members:
Linda Dornan
Kellie Mattatall
Rachel Thornton

Staff Liaison:
Angela Hastie

Ron Kelly-Spurles