My Big Day Downtown at Argyle Fine Art

Big Day DowntownThis summer I was thrilled to be selected, along some 30 other bloggers, to take part in Big Day Downtown, Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s clever new campaign.

I had $100 to spend any way I wanted in downtown Halifax, “as long as it’s legal” joked Executive Director Paul MacKinnon.

After some consideration, I picked Argyle Fine Art to slap down my VISA card.

I walked in, quickly cased the joint, then walked out.

Walked out!

Was I nuts?

Argyle Fine Art 012Let’s pause for a second. I resisted the urge to delight my taste buds with the $100 bucks, even passed up the Harbour Hopper (never been) and other fun stuff. Yup, Argyle Fine Art was my pick. So why did I walk out?

I don’t know.

It certainly wasn’t the friendly assistant (Crystal) who was very helpful and sweet. Even when I was trying to remember the name of an artist from Annapolis Valley (duh, like there is only one!) You see, I felt a bit awkward and decided to come back later.

So I went for a walk around Historic Properties,
passed the ferry terminal,
rounded the corner,
and made a bee line for Argyle Fine Art.

Round two.

Argyle Fine Art 009As soon as I walked through the door Crystal exclaimed excitedly “Ruth Marsh” Yes! That was the artist!

At this time owner Adriana Afford was in the gallery and brought up an email sent earlier from Ruth saying how she was stopping by the store that day to drop off new sketches. That was it. I had to have anything, something of Ruth’s in my possession.

Just as I was mulling over three encaustic tiles (hot bees wax paintings), in walks Ruth with her partner through the door. How awesome to meet this wonderful talent artist! However, things got complicated because Ruth brought the three sketches she mentioned in her email and now it was a toss up between the sparrow, the owl and the rose.

Argyle Fine Art 016Rock, paper, scissors…Peach Sparrow won (Egg Tempra, Gold Leaf and Encaustic
4″ x 6″).

As my purchase was being wrapped up, I asked Adriana about her 8 year experience as gallery owner and how she started on Argyle Street then moved to the present location in Historic Properties. This gallery has a lot of activity year round, anything from live music performances, short films to art exhibitions can be found here. With a variety of contemporary art by established and emerging Canadian artists, the walls and shelves make you think you should pay admission.

Argyle-Fine-Art-VISA-cardSome of you may be wondering if I went over the $100. Well, I only paid the $15 sales tax.

I learned that this gallery has hidden treasure troves everywhere. With prices ranging from $100 to 6K, tell them what you have in mind and they’ll open up a drawer somewhere and pull out fabulous pieces. Crystal explained that they just can’t display everything so it’s a good idea to give them an idea of what you are looking for and don’t think that what they have on display is only what they have.

I was pleased as punch with my new purchase and my first experience at Argyle Fine Art, topped off with talking to the artist about the meaning behind my painting. This place provides a warm and friendly environment for everyone to enjoy art, learn about art and acquire art.

I will walk in again.

Thanks Big Day Downtown!

Join their very active Facebook page: ARGYLE FINE ART: The ART ADDICTS CLUB

Gallery location:
1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax
902 425 9456 or

Artist info:
Argyle Fine Art 005Here’s a picture of Ruth holding Peach Sparrow. Ruth’s work imagines animals in an idealized form and in a sense of despair to motivate us into action to protect them. By portraying them as saints, they are appealing to us for help.

Read Ruth Marsh’s CV.

Princess born to king and queen of Shambhala at IWK

The Pop Culture Punch 10/08/2010