Gallery director passes the torch

Peter Dykhuis named new director at Dal Art Gallery

- July 16, 2007

Peter Dykhuis with Sue Gibson Garvey
Peter Dykhuis and Susan Gibson Garvey contemplate Gemmaria Gemmosa hydroid, a mixed media artwork in DalhousieÕs permanent collection, by late Halifax artist and NSCAD instructor Nancy Edell (Nick Pearce photo)
Director/Curator Susan Gibson Garvey retires from the gallery next month, after 17 years of service to the university and visual arts communities. After investing so much of her life's work into the gallery, she's reassured to leave it under the capable and creative leadership of Peter Dykhuis, longtime director of Anna Leonowens Gallery at NSCAD University.

"I am delighted that Peter has accepted this position," she says. "We have worked together on projects in the past and I know he will do an excellent job."

Since moving to Halifax in 1991, Mr. Dykhuis has also been a major player in the artistic fabric of the city, through NSCAD and as an independent curator. In fact, Dalhousie helped inspire his move eastward from Ontario. While in Toronto, he worked for a number of galleries including the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he designed and installed nationally traveling exhibitions.

"My first visit to Halifax was to install a show here at the Dalhousie Art Gallery," he recalls.

He's very much looking forward to "continuing the profound conversations" offered by Halifax's oldest public gallery, with students and faculty of all academic disciplines, as well as the general public.

"Dalhousie is a community of creative people, and the gallery is the nerve centre for the visual arts," he says. "It is the intersections of visual art culture with other professional practices and lines of intellectual inquiry that make me very excited about working here."

Ms. Gibson Garvey has worked hard through the years to ensure the gallery's relevance to all staff and students, regardless of their area of research. "Students don't come to Dalhousie to study art, but they certainly have a hunger for art, no matter what they're studying," she says.  

Mr. Dykhuis is not at all new to the artistic dialogue at Dalhousie. Countless NSCAD faculty, staff and alumni are represented in the gallery's permanent collection, and have shown work here Ð including Mr. Dykhuis, an internationally recognized painter who had a solo exhibition here in 1997. He's also a founding member of the advisory committee for the Artist-in-Residence program at the Memory Clinic at Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.

Born in London, Ontario, Mr. Dykhuis has a BFA (1978) from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He begins his full-time duties at Dalhousie on August 20. His appointment was announced on July 13 by Dr. Alan Shaver, Vice President Academic and Provost.

"Peter brings nearly 30 years of experience in the Canadian gallery system to Dalhousie," said Dr. Shaver, adding Ms. Gibson Garvey "is a tough act to follow, but Peter really impressed the search committee with his creativity, energy and people skills. I'm sure he will be a great success and that the students and staff at Dalhousie, and members of the general public, will continue to find that the Dalhousie Art Gallery contributes greatly to their lives."


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