HALIFAX – Take a wander past the long-vacant, burnt-out NFB building these days and you’ll noticed a new addition to Barrington’s fractured landscape. At Saturday’s 4FUNDS event — hosted by the Pepsi Refresh Project, DreamNow, and the Hub Halifax — a small team of Haligonians, challenged with the task of doing good in the community using only $100 and 100 minutes, alloted their time and money towards the creation of a participatory community board. With dry-erase supplies mounted to the door, and thought-provoking questions strategically posed, the community board invites downtown passersby to step into the enigmatic doorway and voice their reflections, ideas, and musings about Halifax.
The unique event, which was piloted in Vancouver on last Thursday, pooled each participant’s $20 registration fee (with Pepsi Refresh kicking in an extra $20) to provide a collective project budget of $100 per team. Each team had to come to consensus as to the best and most creative use of their budget and then execute this idea in just 100 minutes.
As discussed on CBC’s Information Morning on Monday, the idea for a community board sprung from the collective desire to do something engaging and community-oriented that would inspire people to think and converse about their city. It was well placed on the restoration-desperate NFB building, whose façade masks an expansive skeletal frame, gutted by a 1991 fire. Nevertheless, the Hollywood-inspired portraits which decorate the façade’s windows have rooted the building as a kind of beacon of public art in the downtown.
In addition to the community board, a second team decided to use their funds to support local art, purchasing five pieces from Argyle Fine Art, and then distributing them among unsuspecting strangers. They roamed the downtown, asking those they came across to offer “advice” as to which piece would make the best gift for a friend. Upon choosing one of these Halifax originals, the helpful advice-giver would discover that they themselves would be the friendly recipient of their selected piece. A left-over sum was then put towards a gift certificate to The Jade W bookstore, given to the attendant at the Ferry Terminal, a hesitant ally in the team’s activities.
photos by Kianoosh Yazdani