Kjipuktuk/Halifax - A collective of seven en-plain-air artists has created paintings and drawings of gorgeous spots in imperilled Sandy Lake Regional Park to raise awareness about the potential impact of suburban sprawl development at the expense of the endangered species, old growth forests and intact waterways of the area. The collective’s artwork will be on display in a show titled “Sanctuary – Save Sandy Lake Park” starting Thursday, July 13, at Secord Gallery in Halifax.
“The area that is under threat is tranquil, full of wildlife – a wonderful escape right in the city limits,” says Jeremy Vaughan, the artist who coordinated the collective’s work. “We have a golden opportunity to make an expanded park, and a stunning greenbelt for our rapidly expanding city.”
Sandy Lake Regional Park is a vital connection to the salmon-bearing Sackville River, and it serves as a wildlife corridor between the Halifax area and the rest of the province. However, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) park is next to an area for which planning for housing development is being fast-tracked by the province’s Housing Task Force for HRM.
"Sandy Lake is an extremely biodiverse area, but that exceptional biodiversity could be impacted if the proposed 6,000 housing units, and their roads and infrastructure, are placed in the headwaters of Sandy Lake," says Karen Robinson, co-chair of the Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park Coalition.
For nearly a year, the artists have been hiking, kayaking and swimming in and around Sandy Lake Regional Park. In addition to exploring the park, the artists have been painting on site, often together, and photographing favourite spots for inspiration to create work in their studios. The collective is showing their works at Secord Gallery (6301 Quinpool Road, Halifax), where the gallery is donating its space to this cause. The show launch is on Thursday, July 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the show will run for two weeks, during which gallery visitors can learn how to take action to save the Sandy Lake area.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings will support the advocacy work of the Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park Coalition, which is fighting for the future of this rare wilderness. The Coalition is calling for the lands and waters next to the park to be incorporated into Sandy Lake Regional Park in order to protect the outstanding natural features in the area. The group is supportive of more housing in HRM in places better suited to growth.
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