The Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts has been providing high calibre 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 multi-disciplinary 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 Strait 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’!
OUR VISION :Expression and connection through the arts.
OUR PURPOSE :To provide a centre for study in the arts, that inspires, explores, and encourages artistic practice.
OUR MANDATE :To inspire serious students and professional artists – in a stimulating natural environment – through workshops, hands-on demonstrations, mentoring, and studio practice.
Community: colleagues creating and sharing artistic knowledge and practice.
Creativity: exploration and connection inspiring artists and serious students.
Diversity: programs representing varied artistic disciplines.
Environment: a secluded natural environment inspiring artistic expression.
Generosity: reciprocity between instructors and students.
Partnership: local, national and international relationships supporting art and creativity.
Accountability: frame financial, human resource and governance structures around best practices.
Excellence: bring together high-caliber instructors in a fiscally responsible manner.
Experiential: offer hands-on, process-based arts programs.
Relevance: pursue emerging artistic ideas, techniques and concepts.
Transparency: clearly communicate what we offer and what we expect.
* Updated from the MISSA 2019-2022 Strategic Plan
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 2020, MISSA celebrates its 36th 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 and maintained a high caliber of instruction from visiting instructors.
Robin Hopper (1939 – 2017) – Founding member, Order of Canada (2016)
Flemming Jorgensen (1934 – 2009) – Co-founding member
Cheryl Samuel – First instructor
Carole Sabiston – First instructor, Order of Canada (1992)
Rona Murray – (1924 – 2002) – First Instructor
Our valued MISSA Patrons will be listed shortly.
MISSA Board Members for 2020-2021
Daniel Casey, President. Daniel Casey has been working in clay for the past decade. He is inspired by the works of Harlan House, Judi Dyelle, Ann Sneath and traditionalJapanese and Chinese ceramic forms. By day he is a mild mannered Clinical Social Worker who uses art to work with children and adults who have experienced trauma. He has studied with local potters Muriel Sibley, Allison Gladwell and Judy Dyelle. He has participated in workshops at MISSA since 2011. Daniel is the past -president of the South Vancouver Island Potters Guild. His work can be viewed on his website: Daniel-Casey-Pottery.com
MaryLou Wakefield, Director. MaryLou is an abstract painter and printmaker working from her home studio in Victoria, B.C. and is a member of Victoria Society of Print Artists, and Zebra Art Collective. This, after a 30- year career as a writer and communications professional working across diverse industries including advertising and public relations agencies, the Royal BC Museum, Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, Royal Roads University and clients including writers and artists.
MaryLou has been an enthusiastic participant and supporter of MISSA among friends and fellow artists believing that the immersive MISSA experience can have long lasting effects. After an inspiring print workshop in 2019, her work was later accepted for exhibition at a gallery in New York.
Neil Burroughs, Vice President, Growing up in the Victoria area and as a child of a potter, for Neil, school holidays were always planned with visits to local potter’s studios, in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It was these early adventures that instilled a love for ceramics, the arts, and the joy of discovery that comes with finding new and creative works and ideas.
Neil first attended MISSA in 2001 and has been hooked ever since. He has been inspired by many excellent instructors and courses over the years in areas including photography, print-making, and ceramics. It is his aim to continue supporting MISSA, so that others can experience the special community and creative environment that it delivers.
Louise MacDonald, Secretary 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. She is currently a board member with the Victoria Visual Arts Legacy Society. 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.
Sarah Millard, Treasurer bio coming soon
Tony Bounsall, Director, Past President, has been working as a professional photographer for thirty years and is a photo arts graduate (BAPA) from Ryerson Polytechnical University. He has been teaching photography and various visual arts for the last 16 years. 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.
Marita Manson, Director. Marita Manson is an emerging artist in the field of ceramics. She holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Victoria, and studied ceramics at the University of Victoria, Kootenay School of the Arts and the Reykjavik School of Visual Arts in Iceland. Marita has taught ceramics locally at Hands on Pottery, and currently works as a ceramics technician at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. Recently Marita opened her own studio in Victoria, where she produces her own line of functional mid-range porcelain vessels, focused on the intersection of science and art. As a newcomer to MISSA, Marita is excited to experience her first summer of MISSA magic.
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.
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.”
Stephen Young has been a MISSA tech, volunteer and supporter for many years.
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, 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.
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 email@example.com.
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 18 UWC schools and colleges worldwide.
MISSA has been sharing the campus with Pearson College every summer since 1984.
Pearson College Newsletter
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Goldstream News Gazette