Inspiring Art Galleries And Art Experiences In New Brunswick That You Won’t Want To Miss

Discover the immersive art scene in New Brunswick with our guide to the best galleries and art experiences in the province. From Fredericton’s historic charm to Saint John’s coastal allure, explore the diverse artistic expressions that make this Canadian province a cultural haven.

Art Galleries in New Brunswick
Photo credit: New Brunswick Tourism

Culture is strong within the borders of New Brunswick in the Canadian Maritimes. In the true, understated style of New Brunswick, this quiet province, known for its vast outdoors and magical coastlines, quietly stands as a haven for art enthusiasts, boasting a diverse array of galleries and immersive art experiences that captivate the senses.

From the historic charm of Fredericton to the coastal allure of Saint John, this province has a thriving arts scene, from New Brunswick art galleries to unique artistic gems that help the province’s cities stand out among the crowd.

First things first here, folks: I am definitely not what you would call an art aficionado. As a child of the 60s and 70s, great art to me was the illustrations in Mad magazine or album covers like the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, and David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

When people spoke of the likes of Michelangelo, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, I would more often than not feel intimidated or self-conscious about what I perceived to be my lack of culture.

What I have learned, however, is you don’t need to be an expert on something to enjoy it. In fact, the only way to know more about anything is to explore it and experience it, not be afraid of it.

James Boys Wind and Water on the Saint John Harbour Passage
James Boyd’s Wind and Water on the Saint John Harbour Passage – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

During my recent travels, I have seized the opportunity to explore various forms of art — from Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to more contemporary works at the Tate Modern in London and Remai Modern in Saskatoon.

I’ve also enjoyed learning more about Indigenous art at places like the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery in Tofino, from the works of James Simon Mishibinijima at his gallery in Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island and at Winnipeg’s Qaumajuq, which is home of the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

I’ve also discovered a love for public art — whether it be murals, sculptures, memorials, or whimsical displays of graffiti at a community skateboard park.

So, while on a recent visit to the Saint John/Fredericton area of New Brunswick to explore some of the province’s terrific bike trails — I also highly recommend doing that, by the way — I was pleasantly surprised to discover that New Brunswick boasts a vibrant arts community, with a diverse range of expressions found in galleries, museums, and public spaces.

From the historic charm of Saint John — designated a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2010 — to the picturesque landscapes that inspire local artists, New Brunswick’s art galleries and creative arts scene reflect its unique identity with Indigenous art, Acadian heritage, and maritime themes prominently featured and celebrating the region’s cultural heritage.

And with that, here are some of my favourite places to visit for those looking for great art in New Brunswick.

Art in Public Places Tour (Saint John)

This self-guided walking tour is a great way to explore the Uptown area of Saint John, which is rapidly becoming known as an artistic, eclectic community. A well-highlighted map — available for download or as a brochure at Visitor Information Centres — has 11 designated stops that explore installations by local, national, and international artists. A few of my favourites are:


Clementine mural in uptown Saint John, New Brunswick
Clementine mural in uptown Saint John, New Brunswick – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

Clementine: A gorgeous mural in a downtown parking lot, of all places, that was done in 2019 by French-born and Montreal-based artist Dodo Ose. The work was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and it shows a woman finding the first spaceship — named Clementine — that took a picture of the moon.

People Waiting

Located in the pedway of City Hall, this set of 11 surreal life-sized wood figures depicting people patiently waiting for something was made by renowned English-born Canadian sculptor John Hooper back in 1977. It originally stood in front of the Saint John post office for 30 years.

The sculptures were commissioned as part of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s plan to grace government buildings with public art, but the pieces eventually started to weather, and since Canada Post did not want to pay for their upkeep, the city paid $15,000 to have the statues restored and relocated to their current site.

There is also a set of Hooper’s pieces called “People Apart Moving Together” in the convention centre lobby.

Balloon Girl

Hanging from the ceiling in the atrium of Market Square, there’s no telling where Charlotte is floating off to, and the fact that its meaning is left to interpretation is what I like about it.


Situated in the plaza of the Saint John Arts Centre, this wonderful granite sculpture is a lovely representation of New Brunswick, the fiddlehead capital of Canada.

In case you didn’t know, fiddleheads are the curled, edible shoots of ostrich ferns, and they are harvested in early spring in woodland areas or along waterways across the province. They are highly nutritious, and in the culinary world, they have evolved from being considered a humble gutter grass to being revered as a gourmet treat.

There are a total of 35 works of art on this New Brunswick art tour, with the highest concentration of pieces in Market Square and along Harbour Passage.

Andre And His Market Mouse (Saint John)

Andre-Haines-studio in Saint John, New Brunswick
Andre-Haines-studio in Saint John, New Brunswick – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

After being recognized in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for 30 years of contributing to the arts sector and helping to teach the next generation of artists and musicians, celebrated Canadian artist Andre Haines packed up his tools and crossed the Bay of Fundy to accept an artist-in-residence position in Saint John.

He had long admired the arts scene in Canada’s oldest incorporated city and felt it was a perfect
place for a change of scenery during the Covid pandemic lockdowns.

During his six-month residence in 2021, Haines wrote a series of children’s books that chronicle the adventures of Heureux – The Market Mouse, and in July of 2023, he settled into what is likely the city’s smallest gallery, a 140-square-foot studio called ‘Andre’ inside Market Square.

Haines says the appetite for art in Saint John, New Brunswick, is unlike anywhere else.

“The city has this interesting acceptance of art,” he says. “It’s not a push here, people understand the intrinsic value. Art is not a frill here.”

“In 1900, there were 2,000 art students in Saint John — most of them women: and what they did is they instilled this love of art into the community here that remains to this day.”

Haines’s father, Alexander Gigeroff, who worked in the Pierre Trudeau government, was instrumental in the decriminalization of sexual laws, in particular homosexuality. Haines advocates for a number of causes, and along with being a talented artist, he is also known for writing the popular musical episode Brigadoon of the sci-fi cult series Lexx, which was created by his late brother Lex Gigeroff.

Haines is a gifted raconteur, so be sure to stop by his shop for a chat.

Saint John Arts Centre

Saint John Art Centre
Saint John Art Centre – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

Housed in one of Saint John’s many historic buildings, the arts centre offers a dynamic blend of visual and performing arts, fostering community engagement and artistic expression. Its galleries showcase diverse exhibitions, and it offers numerous classes for all ages — including specialty workshops in embroidery and weaving and a new program for seniors called Studio 65+.

Constructed in 1904 with funds provided by the American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it is one of more than 2,500 buildings that Carnegie gave to communities throughout the world to be used as free public libraries.

Many have been lost to urban renewal, and the Carnegie Building in Saint John is believed to be one of only a handful left in Canada outside of Ontario. Alterations to the interior of the building have been necessary over the years to provide a venue for visual art exhibits, but care has been taken to maintain its architectural beauty by preserving as much of the original carved oak woodwork and fixtures as possible. 

Saint John Art Galleries

The Saint John Art Club Ltd was established initially as a branch of the Women’s Art Association of Canada in 1896 and was later incorporated in 1912 by an Act of Parliament, inviting both men and women into membership.

It’s the oldest continuing art club in Canada, and as it aims to advance the knowledge and love of art and education, it’s not surprising there are so many fine galleries to explore in the port city.

Here are a few suggestions among the New Brunswick art galleries in Saint John:

Trinity Royal Preservation

Housed in a historic building built in 1878 on beautiful Germain Street in the Trinity Royal Preservation neighborhood, Trinity Galleries is Saint John’s oldest fine art gallery and is often voted one of the top places to visit in the city.

Featuring two levels of beautifully restored gallery space, the Trinity team, led by owner Beth McGloan-Asimakos, represents leading artists from the Maritimes and across Canada.

Handworks Gallery

Handworks Gallery on King Street represents over 100 Atlantic Canadian artists and specializes in artisan jewellery and small showings of New Brunswick art. It also has an extensive collection of pottery, woodwork, and high-end crafts.

Cobalt Art Gallery

Cobalt Art Gallery on historic Prince William Street is where owner Darren Hargrove has been showcasing a broad range of work from prominent Canadian and International artists for over 20 years. Cobalt also has a fine selection of Asian art and Persian rugs.

International Sculpture Trail (Saint John)

Starting in 2012 and wrapping up in 2022, Sculpture Saint John held a series of five international symposiums that brought sculptors from around the world to the province to carve New Brunswick granite into works of public art in a public setting.

The result is a 38 large-scale sculpture trail that is centred in the Greater Saint John Region but runs from St. Stephen, near the border with Maine, all the way to Moncton.

The New Brunswick initiative followed a similar series of events in Maine that started in 2007 when the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium held its first event at Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula, which resulted in seven sculptures being placed along coastal towns.

There are now 34 sculptures along the Maine coast and a combined 72 pieces of public art between Maine and New Brunswick.

Together, the two events have created an extensive art trail that extends more than 870 kilometres — 445 of those in New Brunswick.

Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton)

Willie O'Ree portrait at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
Willie O’Ree portrait at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

Prior to visiting, I had read that the best way to view Salvador Dali’s masterpiece Santiago El Grande at this impressive gallery in Fredericton was to lie on your back looking up at it. Many claim that the four-metre-high oil painting has become a 3D image.

Well, you know what they say: when in Rome — or this instance, Fredericton, New Brunswick… I will let you decide for yourself whether or not the monumental canvas looks three-dimensional from that vantage point, but it was a memorable and fun experience to be able to lie down like that in any museum. I’m not altogether sure you’d get away with it in Rome — or elsewhere!

Santiago El Grande — a triumphant rendering of Saint James the Great rising from the sea astride a white stallion and brandishing an oversized crucifix — is one of multiple paintings by the Spanish surrealist artist at the Beaverbrook Gallery.

This incredible New Brunswick art museum was established in 1959 with a gift of 300 works from Lord Beaverbrook. Its Permanent Collection has now grown to include over 5,000 objects, including several large-scale outdoor sculptures by national and international artists that are installed on the gallery grounds. 

As a longtime sports journalist, I particularly enjoyed one of the gallery’s most recent additions — a striking portrait that honours Willie O’Ree, one of New Brunswick’s finest citizens and the first Black player in the NHL.

Measuring five feet by five feet, the portrait shows O’Ree proudly wearing his Boston Bruins jersey while holding a hockey stick and sporting his Hockey Hall of Fame ring. It was unveiled on Jan. 18, 2023, the 65th anniversary of his first NHL game, and is mounted next to an equally impressive Andy Warhol portrait of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is also home to Grandfather Akwiten, who is believed to be the oldest birch barn canoe in the world.

Fredricton Capital Region Art Trail

As previously mentioned, New Brunswick has some fine cycling trails and perhaps none better than the ones in the capital region.

One such path is known to locals as ‘The Green,’ a five-kilometre route that runs along the Saint John River in the heart of downtown and is linked with over 120 kilometres of trails throughout the city. It’s a beautiful ride — or stroll — and showcases a number of fine works of art, including:

  • One of the city’s most popular artworks, Watermark, by sculptor Gerald Beaulieu. This series of 11 wooden posts, all at different heights, depict the flood levels of the Wolastoq (Saint John River) over the years.
  • One of the city’s most colourful public art pieces, a mural by Tobique First Nation artist Emma Hassencahl-Perley features a traditional design of Wabanaki double curves and warm, bright colours inspired by the sunrise.
  • The Fredericton Cenotaph, a memorial dedicated on November 11, 1923 to the 109 Fredericton soldiers who died in WWI. Lest we Forget. These are among some of the best places to visit in Fredericton.

Fredericton’s Queen Street

The Abbey art cafe in Fredericton, New Brunswick
The Abbey art cafe in Fredericton, New Brunswick – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

In the historic centre of Fredericton, Queen Street is a delightful place to walk, with an endless number of shops and galleries featuring locally produced products. Here are a few to be sure to check out:

  • Gallery 78: the oldest private art gallery, established in 1976, is housed in a beautiful Queen Anne Revival home on a historic lot at the corner of Church and Queen. The original owner of the lot at 796 Queen Street purchased the property in 1789, and a log cabin stood on the property for over 100 years until it burned down.
  • George Fry Gallery: the namesake of New Brunswick College of Craft and Design’s longtime director (1976-93) showcases the work of students, faculty, staff, and invited outside artists.
  • Isaac’s Way: Housed in the old historic York County Court House, the restaurant displays and auctions locally created original art pieces with proceeds going to help kids in need receive lessons in theatre, music, art, and dance. Over $320,000 has been raised since 2007.
  • The Abbey Cafe and Gallery: A sensory delight, the Abbey has over 20 rotating locally created original art pieces for sale and purchases to help support the Fredericton Food Bank. Food note: the avocado toast at this vegan restaurant might be the best I’ve ever had — a true work of art.

Hanson Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden (French Lake)

Located 40 kilometres south of Saint John in the scenic rural countryside area of French Lake, New Brunswick, is the one-of-a-kind Hanson Art Gallery & Sculpture Garden.

Robin Hanson has created a place for adults and kids to have fun and explore history through the world of art. The outdoor sculpture garden has around 100 sculptures, including a 27-foot T-REX dinosaur, an eight-foot Sasquatch, a replica of railroad engine 2929, and a giant chess set.

It also provides a peek into some key points in New Brunswick’s art history, including the province’s role in the War of 1812. A replica of Fort French Lake allows visitors to relive the days when both the French and British lived in the area.

Ballet By The Sea

A dancer at the Ballet by the Ocean dinner experience
Ballet by the Ocean – Photo credit: New Brunswick Tourism

Imagine yourself by the sea, basking in the open air while the award-winning Ballet Atlantique Canada performs on an outdoor stage overlooking the Northumberland Strait.

This is the monumental performance that is Ballet by the Ocean. The event was begun as a pilot project in 2020, at a time during Covid when Ballet Atlantique was “probably the only [professional] dance company in the world performing,” says their CEO Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, who, with her husband Andre, leased land on their property to the dance company for one dollar so that they could continue to perform.

Not only is Ballet by the Sea an incredible performance art experience in New Brunswick, its also one of the most unforgettable food experiences, as the performance is paired with a gourmet meal served outdoors in the splendour of the Northumberland Strait.

DIY Fredericton New Brunswick Art Experiences

Glass blowing artist Curtis Dionne
Glass-blowing artist Curtis Dionne – Photo credit: Steve Lyons

If seeing all these amazing art galleries and experiences in New Brunswick inspires you to give an art workshop a try, there are an increasing number of do-it-yourself-type venues sprouting up these days. Here are three you might want to visit:

Art Warehouse Cafe (Saint John)

The Art Warehouse Cafe is a licensed coffee house, gallery, and drop-in art studio offering organic fair-trade coffee in a relaxing and creative environment. The art studio is available without an appointment and stocked with acrylic paints, brushes, and easels.

There are three sizes of canvas to choose from, ranging in price from $10-$20. Grab a java, take a seat, and get creative. They make one heck of a well-crafted latte.

Glass Roots (Saint John)

Glass Roots is a dazzling gallery of blown glass art — I snagged a nifty little glass fiddlehead myself — and owner/artist Curtis Dionne also offers private glassblowing experiences.

During a two-hour, two-person class, he demonstrates how to make a long-stem flower, an optical paperweight, and a blown drinking glass! Take home what you make, plus the three demonstration pieces as his gift to you.

The Clay Cafe (Fredericton)

The Clay Cafe is a paint-your-own pottery studio in Fredericton where you pick a pottery piece — for example, a dinner plate, a vase, a fairy, or a frog — and then choose from over 100 colours to make your own unique work of art.

Your masterpiece will then be dipped in a clear glaze and fired in the kiln. Pickup is 2-5 days, but they can also ship it home to you.

Are You Ready To Explore More Art In New Brunswick??

I hope that these tips for where to find incredible art galleries and art experiences in New Brunswick has helped you to plan your visit. This is truly one of Canada’s most underrated provinces, and we at We Explore Canada are proud to encourage tourism in New Brunswick. The wonderfully unique culture and historic wonders of this Maritime gem make it one of the most unique places in Canada.

Do you have a favourite attraction or restaurant in Canada? Head over to the We Explore Canada Facebook Community and join the conversation! You’ll find an amazing group of people in Canada who are passionate about travel and love to share their local secrets.

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