North End Business Association Announces Artist to Commemorate Viola Desmond
HALIFAX, July 6, 2022 – The North End Business Association (NEBA) and the Viola Desmond
Legacy Committee is pleased to announce that Marven Nelligan (Marvelous Design) has been
awarded the commission to create a lasting commemorative art piece to honour the late Viola
Desmond on Gottingen Street in the North End of Halifax.
Since the introduction of Desmond’s likeness on the $10 bill in 2018, NEBA has worked steadily
to commemorate Viola Desmond in the community in which she lived and grew her business.
“Marven has created a concept that will not only recognize Viola’s accomplishments and what
she means to the community but will also be fresh and forward-thinking in design and how
people interact with art” said Tracy Jackson, Executive Director of the North End Business
“It meant a lot to us to work with an artist that had previous connections with our local area, so
they would be able to genuinely represent our North End community.” said Tara Taylor, member
of the Viola Desmond Legacy Committee.
Marven Nelligan is a multi-talented artist from North Preston, raised in Uniacke Square in the
North End of Halifax. Some of his notable works include the Creighton Street Painting Project,
the Concrete Legacy installation, and the Preston Township three-part mural entitled “Our
Marven has been working in the tech industry as a programmer and designer for over 15 years.
He is the founder and director of Marvelous Design, a digital marketing company, and the Make
a Dream Endure Organization.
His concept for the Viola Desmond Legacy Art Project is to combine physical art with digital
technology; to create a unique, innovative, immersive and interactive experience. This
experience aims to tell the story of Viola Desmond in a fun and modern way that will preserve
her legacy for generations to come.
“I'm so honoured to have this opportunity to create such a meaningful exhibit within my
community, and I'm excited to be able to tell the story of Viola Desmond, and all her success, in
my own creative way. I'm hoping this will have a great impact on both her legacy and our city.”
said Marven Nelligan.
The commemorative art piece is set to be installed at 2300 Gottingen Street, across the street
from where Viola’s salon once stood in the 1940s. This comes off the heels of an extensive artist
selection process beginning with a public consultation on December 6, 2021. Three finalists
were selected from a pool of 16 applicants. Those finalists developed design proposals that
were presented to a jury composed of members of the Committee, community, and public art
The North End Business Association (NEBA) was established as an official Business Improvement
District (BID) in 2011, to help promote, support, and advocate for commercial development in
North End Halifax. It is one of nine BIDs in HRM, and represents more than 350 businesses
located in the North End of Halifax. NEBA’s vision is that “The North End is a diverse, iconic, and
complete neighbourhood with a thriving small businesses scene that embraces being genuinely
The Viola Desmond Legacy Committee was established in 2018 in order to see the late Viola
Desmond recognized in the city where her actions in business and civil rights have a lasting
impact. The committee is made up of Tracy Jackson (North End Business Association), Sylvia
Parris-Drumond (Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute), Bernadette Hamilton-Reid (African
Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition), Tara Taylor (The Braiding Lounge
Salon), Ross Cantwell (The Velo) and Lindell Smith (Councillor District 8)