Maud Lewis's home inspires visitors at Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
She created art to create joy — and to pay the bills
When Shannon Parker was a girl growing up in Digby County, N.S., she and her mother often drove past Maud Lewis's home.
It was in the early 1980s and the tiny, art-strewn home stood in disrepair. Lewis, a renowned folk artist, died in 1970 and her husband Everett passed in 1979.
It didn't seem like the house — which Lewis had turned into a work of art — would survive.
But in 1984, the province of Nova Scotia bought the home. It was restored and now sits in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Today, Parker is the curator of collections at the gallery and sees the house more often than she did as a child.
Lewis's house is a work of art. Beautiful cheerful paintings cover the home.
She loved to paint — creating art created joy.
Lewis, born in South Ohio, N.S., in 1903, painted the seasons and traditions of Digby County. She spent much of her childhood alone — she suffered from birth defects and felt self-conscious around others.
Initially, Lewis painted Christmas cards. Later, people would visit her house in Marshalltown and buy her paintings. Her worsening arthritis prevented her from doing housework, so her husband did that while she earned money selling her paintings.
The little house had no electricity or plumbing, but it made up for that with art.
Parker says she enjoys talking with patrons who have met Lewis. They say she was shy, but had a beautiful smile. She is remembered for her joyful spirit and that lives on in her paintings
This vintage CBC clip features an interview with Lewis in 1965.