Story by TINA HENNIGAR
Photo by Béatrice Schuler-Mojon
When asked what brought Nicole and Bernd Krebes to Lunenburg County in 2002 from Germany, Bernd answers with a one word answer: adventure.
For years, the BernArt maze in Maitland that can be seen between exits 11 and 12 on the 103 highway was a vision in Bernd’s head - a dream really. Bernd is a ceramic tile installer, but more than that, he’s an artist.
“The idea wasn’t to create a space for kids, but for a fun, happy place for everyone,” Bernd said. The idea came long ago, 20 years ago, when Bernd was in Europe. “It turned out even better than what I had in my mind. Every once in a while, I’d take the plan out and add to it,” he shared with his signature smile. They’re happy to be here.
The maze is the product of many artists from all around the world who Nicole and Bernd invited to come and contribute. “We were open to all ideas with the exception of politics and violence. They paid to get here, that was it,” Bernd said of the artists. Bernd and Nicole supplied free accommodation and supplies.
People didn’t understand at first what was happening with the maze, but once people walk through it, Bernd and Nicole said people understand. It’s a little hard to describe, it’s out of the ordinary.
There are plans to expand the project into the woods, creating more of a labyrinth than a maze. It will be enclosed so children won’t get lost in the woods. “Since there is a tick problem in the woods, we’re going to adopt guinea hens and hope they help take care of some of them,” Nicole said. When asked what’s missing from Lunenburg County, Bernd is quick to point out that the only thing they are missing is German chocolate. “We get German sausage from the Farmers Market, and now we have really good bread from the bakery. Aside from that there is nothing missing.” Bernd pointed out that Nova Scotia is easily accessible to Europe when they want to go back home. But when they do, they can’t wait to return to Lunenburg County. “We love seeing our family, but this is our home now.”