Garry Neill Kennedy was born in St Catharines, Ontario in 1935. He studied at the Ontario College of Art and then earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Buffalo. He then completed his Master of Fine Arts at Ohio University in 1965.
In 1967 until 1990 he was appointed the first president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. He transformed the conservative and traditional art school into an energetic internationally recognized centre. To this day he continues to teach at the College.
As conceptual artist Kennedy is best known for his paintings. His work a form of conceptualism, is a style of art common during the 1960s and 1970s that emphasized the ideas that generate the artwork, rather than the actual creation of art objects.
Kennedy exhibits regularly with Cold City Gallery, in Toronto, and a retrospective exhibition focused on his wall painting originated at the Owens Art Gallery in 1996. A retrospective of Kennedy's work was also presented in 2000 at the National galelry of Canada.
In 2004 he received a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, and the Order of Canada. He is also an academician of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.