The Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts has been providing high caliber specialized workshops for artists, teachers and serious adult students since 1984. MISSA has a reputation for hosting  local, national and international  instructors who engage with students in an intense multidisciplinary environment. MISSA welcomes students from around the world to participate in an artistic immersion for two weeks every summer. Let the magic begin!




Artists from near and far have come together each summer to the Pearson College campus to share in spirited creative exchange. The school is positioned on the sheltered shores of Pedder Bay and looks out to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The campus setting provides a stimulating natural environment for artistic development and exploration. It’s easy to understand why so many return year after year to be part of the ‘MISSA Magic’!

The MISSA Mandate is to foster the arts in British Columbia by bringing together, in a fiscally responsible manner, in an environment rich in natural and artistic stimulation, acclaimed practicing artists to share their knowledge and inspire serious students and professionals to explore and develop their artistic fields in a multi-disciplinary milieu.

MISSA Aims and Objectives are to provide the maximum benefit to the individual student through an inspired analytical teaching approach with a small class size.

  1. to provide faculty of the highest calibre
  2. to provide cross-media interaction
  3. to offer artistic programs of variable length
  4. to operate on a break-even financial basis

It was in 1984 that a small group of dedicated artists had a shared vision to bring together established artists and adult students to learn together in a unique westcoast environment. On the campus of Pearson College UWC, in Metchosin, BC, the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) began. The first summer started with five courses and 53 participants and over the years has expanded to over 40 workshop offerings with more than 375 national and international students attending from as far away as Israel, South Africa and Mexico.

Through the years, MISSA has developed an excellent reputation for the calibre of its instructors, including local, national and international artists who form the foundation from which MISSA continues to operate year after year.

Since its inception, MISSA has adapted to meet the growing demand for resources and personnel. MISSA now has a permanent office address at Pearson College and since the early 90’s an Executive Director has been hired. The “Friends of MISSA” was established to build an on-going body of support and fundraising continues with the help of draws, auctions, grants and special events. These undertakings and activities have enabled MISSA to establish a bursary program that has allowed both established and emerging artists, to benefit from MISSA’s programs.

As a not for profit arts organization MISSA relies heavily on volunteer involvement and is ever-grateful for the large cadre of volunteers whose commitment and enormous support, in so many ways, has contributed immeasurably to MISSA’s success.

In 2017, MISSA celebrates its 33rd summer session that started with the seeds of a vision and fueled by the passion of a small group of dedicated artists.  That first summer in 1984 started with art instruction by, Robin Hopper (ceramics), Flemming Jorgensen (painting),  Cheryl Samuel (tapestry and First Nations Art), Carol Sabison (textiles) and Rona Murray (writing). Between them they offered five workshops to 53 participants. Over the years, MISSA has expanded to offering over 40 workshops to more than 400 national and international students.

Robin Hopper  (1939 – 2017) – Founding member, Order of Canada (2016)

Flemming Jorgensen (1934 – 2009)Co-founding member

Cheryl Samuel – First instructor

Carol Sabiston – First instructor

Rona Murray –  (1924 – 2002) – First Instructor

  • Marna Lynn Smith, Executive Director has always imagined what might bring her back to the beautiful setting of Pearson College on Pedder Bay. Marna is thrilled to be stepping into the role of Executive Director of the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts as of June 2016.

    Marna grew up in the Yukon but has called the West Coast home for many years now. Getting her creative inspiration from different sources; the vast northern landscape of her childhood to the beach treasures collected along the Pacific Ocean, she is especially inspired by nature. Her latest creative endeavour is making mixed media art dolls but is open to many avenues of creative expression. Marna has facilitated workshops and community events and has engaged a wide range of people in the creative process.

    Marna has spent the past 20 years working with various community agencies in various capacities as a teacher, facilitator and program coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria and is a Professional Art therapist with a Diploma in clinical Art Therapy from the BC School of Art Therapy. She is a graduate of Leadership Victoria’s Community Leadership Development Program and has been a volunteer on their Program Committee. She continues to be musically involved, playing her flute (and occasionally the ukulele) and singing in various capacities.

    Marna is delighted to be combining her passion for the arts with her leadership skills to join the creative team at MISSA. She can be reached at

  • Shana Watson, Executive Assistant has a love of art that can likely be traced back to her preschool years of finger painting with chocolate pudding. Her tastes in art and chocolate have developed since then and she can be fairly opinionated and passionate about both. The office would not run nearly as efficiently without Shana. Always cheerful and informative, Shana is a delight to talk to on the phone. She can be reached at

  • Jo-Ann Richards, President studied visual arts at Camosun College in Victoria and commercial photography at Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. Jo-Ann went on to assist in commercial studios in Vancouver and Los Angeles before opening her own business. As the owner of Works Photography she has been working as a commercial photographer since 1995. Jo-Ann has been a student at MISSA since 2009 and credits MISSA for rekindling a love for painting and printmaking.

  • Stephen Young, Vice-President has been a MISSA tech, volunteer and supporter for many years.

  • Meira Mathison, Ceramics Program Coordinator,  is an internationally recognized potter and teacher, maintaining the studio, Dancerwood Pottery in Victoria, BC for over 30 years. Meira served as the Executive Director of MISSA for over twenty years. Now a full time studio potter and instructor, Meira is noted for her high fire altered porcelain work that uses a variety of textures, colour additions, thick slips and multi-layered glazes. Her pots reflect her environment, the west coast rainforest and the deserts of Nevada, where she has worked and taught for many years.

  • Judy Scott, Secretary  has been a supporter of MISSA since its beginning.  Judy is a long-serving member and Past President of the MISSA Board.  Though not a hands-on artist, she describes herself as a life-long arts enthusiast.


  • Louise MacDonald, Director is a native of Victoria and graduated from the University of Victoria with a History in Art degree. She has more than 15 years’ experience in the art industry, serving as the director of a commercial art gallery and then as a corporate art consultant, both in Calgary. Since returning to Victoria Louise has maintained her connection to the arts and served on the Capital Regional District Arts Advisory Council, including six years as Chair. Her camera is her artistic outlet. Louise has been visiting Pearson College since the late 1970s and understands how this special place adds to the magic of MISSA. Louise works at the Victoria Foundation.

  • Tony Bounsall, Past President, Director has been working as a professional photographer for twenty-eight years and is a photo arts graduate (BAPA) from Ryerson Polytechnical University. He is a member of The Professional Photographers of British Columbia (PPABC) and The Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC).

    Tony currently teaches iPhoneography at Camosun College, Collage at University of Victoria Continuing Ed., Photo Based Mixed Media and Mixed Media Printmaking at The Vancouver Island School of Art. He also runs workshops in Collage, Encaustics and Mixed Media in BC And Alberta. Tony is one of the founding members of The Imagists (a Victoria based Arts collective). He exhibits and sells his own Fine art prints and mixed media work throughout North America.

    Tony has both taught and been a student at MISSA and loves the energy and sense of creative community that MISSA provides.

  • Sarah Leckie, Youth Advisory Council is an emerging ceramic artist, working with both functional and sculptural forms. Her work is highly decorated and uses techniques including transfers and sgraffito. She has a Bachelors degree from the University of Victoria in Anthropology, and has studied ceramics at various schools including the University of Victoria, the Kootenay School of the Arts, and North Island College.  She has worked extensively with wood and salt firing ceramicists on Vancouver Island, as well as building and firing atmospheric kilns during a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

    Her work has been included in a number of national and international juried exhibitions including the Banff Ceramic Residency Show ‘Coffee ‘til Dusk, Whisky ‘til Dawn’, ‘Cheers’ an international show of celebratory drinking vessels at Medalta Pottery Medicine Hat AB, and the Salt Spring Ceramic Awards.

    Between teaching courses at the Hands on Pottery Collective in Victoria and the Clay Hub in Cowichan Station, Sarah maintains a full time studio practice in Metchosin. Her work can be found in a number of stores and galleries on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and in the Kootenays.  

  • Director

  • MISSA would not be able to function without the help of its amazing volunteers but no other volunteers are as vital as the techs that return year after year. Techs hit the ground running helping to set up MISSA and are there at the very end helping to put everything away. There is a tech assigned to each class so that the instructors and class participants have everything they need and that everything runs safely and smoothly. These folks are the secret source of that “MISSA Magic.”

  • Keith Bacus, “Walla Walla” is a long time MISSA student who recently joined our tech team. He’s also responsible for bringing the Walla Walla sweet onions that make the excellent onion rings at Bodacious Gumbo Night. In “real life”, Keith is a BioMedical Electronics Technician, working for a hospital.



  • Barb Bergstrom, was first attracted to the tactile nature of pottery through the world of clay. She spent fifteen years in Ontario where she taught all ages at the community recreation centre, participated in numerous shows, attended many classes and workshops while managing her studio business and raising two children. On returning to Vancouver Island in 2000, Barb took a four-year hiatus and is now in the process of establishing her West Coast studio.


  • Dan Severance, is a long time MISSA student and supporter.




  • Peggy Elmes holds a degree in Art Education from the University of British Columbia. She has produced artwork in a variety of media, including printmaking and textile design. Ceramics is her main form of art. From her studio, River’s Edge Pottery in Sooke BC, she creates wheel thrown and hand built pieces which reflect the marine and rain forest environment of B.C.‘s West Coast. Her involvement with the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts has allowed her to continue her education through workshops taught by many of the most outstanding international ceramic artists. This has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation. Ceramics is good for you have you had your vitamin clay today?

  • Barb Lovick, a native of the Tofino West Coast, finds nature to be a foremost focus. When Les Manning counselled to always remember her roots she then had her light bulb moment! Betty Burroughs and Barb would often get together to study/discuss glaze recipes or to “pot”. Betty was a most encouraging, giving friend. Barb’s husband, Ed often refered to them as the ‘mad scientists’. Recently she was invited to join the inspiring Muddy Women pottery group. She loves this group of friends and learns so much from them. Their constructive criticism is a tremendous contribution to her pottery growth.

MISSA takes place every summer on the campus of Pearson College, while the students are away. Participants at MISSA can stay in college style dorms where internationals students have spent their school year. The college campus is designed in a West Coast Modern style and takes the from of a seaside village with buildings of native cedar clustered on 75 acres of old growth rainforest. The simple, low-slung structures are linked by footpaths and stand in harmony with the surrounding landscape.

Pearson College UWC is a two-year pre-university school (Grade 12 and Gap Year) for up to 200 students from over 100 countries who live, study and grow together at the edge of the western world. Pearson UWC believes that education is a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future and their education is transformational.

The College was named in honour of the work done by the late Canadian Prime Minister and Canada’s only Nobel Peace Laureate, Lester B. Pearson. Prime Minister Pearson initiated the work to found a United World College “of the Pacific” as a way of continuing the promotion of peace and understanding in the world.

Pearson College is one of 15 UWC schools and colleges worldwide.

MISSA has been sharing the campus with Pearson College since 1984.