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The magic of Maud Lewis brought to life in Yarmouth with projection show during March Fest

The side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of NS has been the screen for the Maud Lewis show. On March 28, the show switches over to a celebration of spring.
Tina Comeau · Multi-media journalist | Posted: March 22, 2023, 6:33 p.m. | Updated: March 22, 2023, 6:31 p.m. | 8 Min

A Maud Lewis show has been projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in downtown Yarmouth as part of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce March Fest. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

YARMOUTH, NS – Kaylyn Melanson never met her great-great-grandmother, who was long, long passed away before she was born.

But throughout Melanson’s life, there have been countless opportunities for her to get to know her great-great-grandmother Maud Lewis, including a special one that’s been underway in Yarmouth.

As part of March Fest activities organized by the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, a three-week projection show featuring the art of Maud Lewis has been adding a magical element to the downtown.

Projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth, the whimsical show has been creating a buzz in the town.

Melanson, 25, says it is so wonderful to see Maud’s work, and Maud herself, continuing to be celebrated.

“Her popularity has never diminished. It seems to keep growing and growing,” she says.

The oxen that Maud Lewis famously painted at projected onto the side of art gallery in Yarmouth as part of a projection show that’s been creating a buzz in the town. TINA COMEAU

Rick Allwright, executive director of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, says it’s been really exciting for the chamber to see how excited people are about the projection show as Maud Lewis’s art is brought to life in this new and vibrant way.

Allwright remembers first seeing the projection show in Halifax and wanting to do something similar in Yarmouth. It was decided by the Chamber that it would be a wonderful addition to its March Fest, which has included a month-long list of activities and events aimed at drawing people to businesses during what is traditionally a slow time of year.

People who have watched the Maud Lewis show say there’s a definite magical feel to it, which is meaningful feedback since a lot went into pulling it off.

The first logistic to overcome was what building to use as ‘the screen.’

Allwright says they needed a large flat building with minimal windows, or at least windows that could catch some color. The south side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia became the logical choice.

A Maud Lewis art show has been projected onto the side of the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia as part of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce’s March Fest. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

People can gather in Jim MacLeod Square (formerly Alma Square) to watch the show, which runs Tuesdays through to Sundays, starting at dusk each night. The show is on a loop and keeps replaying for two to three hours each night.

Allwright says the support from the art gallery and the adjacent Pharmasave has been great. The projector for the show is housed on the roof of the Pharmasave building, and the business has allowed for its power and internet to be used.

Allwright says the show’s creator, Nick Iwasko – of the company Wasko AV – was a huge help, along with the tech crews and contractors that set things up.

About Iwasko, Allwright says, “He’s the guy who coordinated all the production. He’s the artist that really put it together. So hats off to him. We knew it would come out great and it’s better than we thought.”

The show’s location is also symbolic in that over the years the art gallery has showcased the artwork of Maud Lewis, who was born in South Ohio, Yarmouth County in March 1903.

She later lived in her now-famous, tiny, art-inspired house in Marshalltown, Digby County with her husband Everett, from where she sold many of her modest paintings. She was born with birth defects and developed rheumatoid arthritis. This greatly reduced her mobility, particularly in her hands, yet she could still grasp and move her paintbrushes as she painted her cheerful art that mostly depicted animals, landscapes and flowers. Her art creations also covered the interior, and parts of the exterior, of her home.

She died in July 1970.

A steel structure in the dimensions and shape of Maud’s home is located off Route 1 in Marshalltown. On Digby Neck, retired Seabrook fisherman Murray Ross built a replica of her house that people can also visit.

There are many reasons, meanwhile, to take in the Yarmouth projection show more than once.

Maud Lewis is being celebrated through the show for the first three weeks. That began on March 7. A show celebrating St. Patrick’s Day was also added as part of the show for a few days. On March 28, a show celebrating spring begins its three-week run, which will go to April 18. There will also be an Easter component added to that show for part of the timeframe.

The art gallery building has proven to be a great screen for the project shows. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Asked if there’s been any thought to doing shows in the summer when tourists will also be in the area, Allwright says it would be nice to do. He notes the show is costly to execute and it requires partners coming together to make it happen.

“But if we can find the funding to do another show, we certainly will,” he says.

For now, people have been loving and enjoying the Maud Lewis shows, adding to the never-ending affection people have for the folk artist.

Kaylyn Melanson says in 2018, it was a special time when four generations of her family visited Maud Lewis’s Marshalltown house, which is on permanent display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Included in that visit were Melanson’s then two-year-old son, her father Paul Benoit (Maud’s great-grandson) and Melanson’s grandmother Marsha Benoit (who was Maud’s granddaughter). Marsha’s mother, Catherine Muise, was the daughter of Maud Lewis.

Kaylyn Melanson with her child stands in front of a photo her great-great-grandmother Maud Lewis during a visit years ago to Maud’s former Marshalltown home, which is on display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. CONTRIBUTED

Paul Benoit (Maud Lewis’s great-grandson) and Marsha Benoit (who was Maud’s granddaughter) during a 2018 visit to the Maud Lewis house at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. CONTRIBUTED

Born out of wedlock, Maud’s daughter Catherine had been put up for adoption. Maud, however, had been told her baby had died.

The family says Catherine and Maud never developed a relationship.

Still, the family is proud of its connection to Maud.

Melanson says her nanny Marsha died years ago. She says her nanny would have loved the projection show now happening in Yarmouth, much like Melanson loved visiting her great-great-grandmother’s house.

“I love the little house in the art gallery. It’s just amazing how many layers of paint she painted on that door,” she says. “It was so nice that we all got to do that together.”

Physician appreciation awards presented at ceremony in Yarmouth

Awards were nominated by colleagues and the community
SaltWire Network | Posted: March 23, 2023, 2:40 p.m. | Updated: March 23, 2023, 6:39 p.m. | 5 Min Read

Dr. Michelle Cain received the Family Medicine Physician of the Year, which was presented to her by Dr. Shelagh Leahey.

YARMOUTH, NS – A recent physician appreciation reception was held in Yarmouth to celebrate excellence in local physician services.

The event was sponsored by the Yarmouth Regional Medical Professional Recruitment Partnership and the Office of Health Professional Recruitment.

The event was attended by local doctors from Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby counties, their family members, and other stakeholders.

Twelve awards were handed out, which included 11 awards nominated by colleagues and one award nominated by the communities at large.

Dr. Tyler Green received the Making a Daily Difference Award, which was presented to him by Dr. Joe Gillis.

Dr. Brian Moses received the Life-Long Learner Award, which was presented to him by Dr. Peter Loveridge

“Despite the obvious challenges to health care at the moment, we have excellent care given locally by our physicians and it is important that we recognize that,” said Rebecca Cassidy, Community Navigator of Medical Professional Attraction, Recruitment, Retention.

“Our excellent collegial spirit here was obvious with great participation from physicians nominating their co-workers,” she said.

“It was also an opportunity to acknowledge the physicians who have retired since 2019 and those who have passed away.”

Dr. Joe Gillis received the Healthy Communities Leader Award, which was presented to him by Councillor Patti Durkee, Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, and Chair of the Municipal Doctor Recruitment and Retention Committee, who are members of the partnership. – Contributed

Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates received the Rising Star Award, which was presented by Dr. Michelle Dow.

The award recipients were:

• Outstanding Resident: Dr. Emma Crawley

• Rising Star: Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates

• Mentor Champion: Dr. Abir Hussein

• Dedicated Mental Health & Continuing Care Physician Award: Dr. Julie Chandler

• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate: Dr. Tessa Boudreau

• Making a Daily Difference: Dr. Tyler Green

• Distinguished Recruitment Partner: Dr. Michelle Dow

• Life-Long Learner: Dr. Brian Moses

• Family Medicine Physician of the Year: Dr. Michelle Cain

• Specialist of the Year: Dr. Elissa Cohen

• Healthy Communities Leader: Dr. Joe Gillis

• Healthcare Hero: Dr. Ashley McCormick. This was the award nominated by community members.

Dr. Emma Crawley received the Outstanding Resident Award, presented by Dr. Erica Lasher-Coates.

Dr. Courtney Mazeroll accepted the Healthcare Hero Award on behalf of Dr. Ashley McCormick. The award was presented by Mayor Pam Mood. – Contributed

COVID-19 Vulnerability Report

Released today, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s (APEC) latest report, commissioned by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC), reveals how differences in industry and demographic factors may shape the recovery for the 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada.

Travel-related, customer-facing and commodity-based industries are among the most negatively affected by COVID-19. Rural areas are typically more vulnerable to these economic impacts because of their greater dependence on these industries.

The Atlantic Industry Vulnerability Index used in this report measures the share of the labour force in industries that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19. There are large differences between counties ranging from 18% to 53%. Yarmouth came in at 41.3% which is high and due to a larger share of the labour force in at-risk industries. The greatest relative risk is its dependence upon the primary (fishing), manufacturing (seafood) and retail industries.


The report also contains dashboards and comparative tables for all counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada, identifying key variables that measure their vulnerability to COVID-19 including health, labour force and long-term structural indicators. When it comes to Yarmouth County the report identifies a number of concerns. 

Labour force vulnerability of the county is rated ‘yellow’, there is a large Indigenous population and median income is low. Both Indigenous and low-income workers are at greater risk from the employment impacts of COVID-19. Health vulnerability is rated ‘yellow’ because the county has a high share of seniors that have a greater health risk from COVID-19. Overall physical and mental health was relatively good pre-pandemic. Long-term economic vulnerability has been rated ‘red’ as a result that  income and education levels are relatively low, and population growth is slow which might impede future growth prospects.

This report is intended to help communities and governments as they develop informed strategies to support their recovery. Further, governments should consider the distinctive aspects of urban and rural areas in their plans to support the recovery of all regions.

Love Yarmouth – A Buy Local Campaign

Today, the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce is launching a new campaign to encourage businesses, government, organizations and citizens to do business locally.

We have all been affected by this pandemic and there is much uncertainty. But as we look to adapt to a new normal, one thing is very clear; the local economy will depend on all of us as a community to come together and show we LOVE YARMOUTH.

We are encouraging citizens to take the Love Yarmouth pledge, to learn more visit: www.loveyarmouth.com