The Turret Arts Space

Preserving the Khyber Building as a place for
Artists, the Arts, Culture, and Community.

About the Project

Keeping Art and Artists Downtown

The Turret Arts Space will be a place where artists connect and thrive! We are renovating the Khyber Building (1588 Barrington Street) to create an accessible multipurpose arts building. The Turret Arts Space will be home to The Khyber artist-run centre and other arts and LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations.

Our project builds on a storied history of space-making by queer people and experimental artists. Our name honours the building’s LGBTQ+ history as the home of The Turret Club and Gay Alliance of Equality in the 1970s. Our activities and vision continue an inspiring history as a landmark building that fosters emergent artistic talent in downtown Halifax.

Accessibility is a primary focus of the development of the Turret Arts Space. Our city needs more physically accessible arts infrastructure so that we can all participate equitably. Our plan adds an elevator and additional accessible washrooms, as well as gender-neutral washrooms.

Our project addresses gaps in Halifax’s current arts infrastructure. The Turret Arts Space will have a multipurpose room and board room which will be open to the community to book for a wide variety of activities across disciplines. Our operating model creates sustainable lower-than-market rates for non-profit tenants by including market-rate retail tenants in the attractive street-level spaces of the building.

With your help, we can build a space to gather artistic communities together!

Help us create the Turret Arts Space! Please consider volunteering to be part of our Board of Directors.

Nomination Form

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About the Society

Meet the Board of Directors

Emily Davidson
Emily Davidson is a visual artist, musician, and graphic designer (BFA NSCAD, 2009). She is a founding member of Friends of the Khyber and has been involved with the Khyber Arts Society as an exhibiting artist, patron of over ten years, and volunteer. She has previously served board terms for several not-for-profit organizations including the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (Chair), Anchor Archive Zine Library, Inkstorm Screenprinting Collective, and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group. She is also a past president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Students’ Union (SUNSCAD).
Michael Erwin
Michael Erwin has been making a career out of theatre for the past 20 years, starting as the rental technician in his high school auditorium. He has earned a diploma in Technical Theatre Production from Sheridan College, and a Masters Certificate of Project Management from Schulich School of Business. Currently, Michael is the Production Manager at Neptune Theatre, and is an active member of the Greater Halifax Arts Coalition.
Justin Reitzel
Justin Reitzel is Senior Accountant at Lyle Tilley Davidson Chartered Professional Accountants in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has been with the firm since 2012. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and has successfully completed the CPA Canada Common Final Examination. Justin has a wide range of experience in providing assurance services to many different clients including a number of not-for-profit organizations. Lyle Tilley Davidson has a long history with the theatre and arts community in Nova Scotia including an extensive history with the East Coast Music Awards, Music Nova Scotia and Eastern Front Theatre. The Firm has also sponsored and supported a number of arts productions in the Halifax area.
Sobaz Benjamin
Sobaz Benjamin was born in London, England and has also lived in Toronto, Ontario; Caribbean Island of Grenada; and currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He studied political science and mass communications (BA, honours 1997) and film and video production (BFA, 2001) at York University. He is an independent documentary film writer, director, producer and picture editor and Vice President of Sankofa Films. He is the founder, and Executive Director of an innovative arts based youth engagement, empowerment, and reintegration program called In My Own Voice (iMOVe) a partnership with the Community Justice Society and Funded by the Federal Justice Department. For over eighteen years Sobaz has used video and audio production as tools of identity and community development in diverse educational and community settings.
Craig Leonard
Craig Leonard is an artist and musician living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has exhibited work nationally and internationally. Craig was included in the Oh Canada exhibition which was launched at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA. His band Catbag (with Mitchell Wiebe and Dave Ewenson) has released three albums since 2007, while his project Guilt (with Matthew Grimson) was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Khyber Arts Society. He has taught Intermedia at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design since 2006.
Julie Nicholson

Julie Nix is a local emerging artist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They graduated from NSCAD University where they obtained a BFA (’18). While at NSCAD they held various roles such as President of the Print Club, and Fine Art’s Representative as well as Vice President Finance on the Student Union. As V.P. Finance they sat on NSCAD’s Board of Governors.

Having long been a member of the local arts community they are interested in using the arts as a means to engage community, and to create and facilitate alternative and third spaces. Currently they are an active volunteer at Radstorm in Halifax, where they host open hours and teach screen printing workshops.

Jake Ivany

Jake Ivany is a filmmaker and producer with a specific focus on queer space,
documentary and youth facilitation. He is currently Arts and Culture Manager at reachability Association and Festival Director for the Bluenose Ability Arts & Film Festival in Halifax. Jake also runs a First-Time Filmmakers Program for at risk youth. He is co-founder of Asterix Media which is dedicated to amplifying stories and voices of marginalized communities through filmmaking and other artistic practices.

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Do you have memories of the Khyber Building to share? Want to get involved or show your support? We'd love to hear from you!

Contact Info

1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society
PO Box 36155
Halifax, NS
B3J 3S9