Our Vision / Purpose / Mandate

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.


Our Values / Principles


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

Founding Members

It all 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), Carole Sabiston (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), ceramics

Flemming Jorgensen (1934 – 2009)Co-founding member, painting

Cheryl Samuel – First instructor, weaving

Carole Sabiston First instructor, textiles, Order of Canada (1992)

Rona Murray –  (1924 – 2002) – First Instructor, writing


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 set up an office 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.

For the first time since its inception, MISSA will be moving it’s Summer Program to a new location in Shawnigan Lake, BC. MISSA 2022 will take place on the beautiful 300 acre lake-side campus of Shawnigan Lake School, a 100 year old boarding school that has all of the amenities and more that MISSA needs for a successful and engaging program. This is the perfect opportunity to expand and grow. Since 1984, MISSA is still in operation despite a global pandemic that closed our summer program for two years. We are still here and ready to continue on our creative journey!

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.

Board Members

MISSA Board Members for 2024-2025 (AGM is held in March)

  • Board Member

  • Board Member

  • 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

  • Laura Feeleus, Treasurer. Laura is a founder and Treasurer for arc.hive artist run centre in Victoria.   She holds a CPA professional accounting designation and a Bachelor of Library Science.  She is also the Treasurer for the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association, with whom she exhibits annually.

    Laura worked for many years as a librarian and in business, and now devotes most of her time to art administration and an art practice of painting in all mediums as well as fibre based work.   She holds a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Vancouver Island School of Art and has been exhibiting in group and solo shows for over 25 years.

    Laura started attending MISSA in the early days at Pearson College, and credits the community and the strength of the program with her path to being a practising artist.

    Some of her work can be seen at www.laurafeeleus.ca.

  • 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.

  • R. Keith Jones, Director. Keith is energetic, engaging, attentive, facilitative, creative, hard-working, innovative, fun and ceaseless connector. He cherishes complex, multi-stakeholder, collaborative challenges in strategy, change, innovation, and transformation. These assignments include situation analyses, outcome mapping, logic modelling, strategic planning, business planning, business case development, gap analyses and performance measurement and management. They demand a full suite of knowledge and skills in listening, dialogue, synthesis, integration, and communication in oral, written, and graphical form. Art and graphics, always a hobby, are being used increasing to great advantage in his day-to-day consulting products. Keith has a BSc. and MSc. and is a Professional Biologist (PBiol.) and Certified Management Consultant (CMC). He primary focus currently is as a Master practitioner, Educator & Mentor for the Challenge Dialogue System® (CDS) – http://challengedialoguesystem.net

  • Kait Esplen, Secretary. Kait has been dabbling in various fibre arts for many years, but fell in love with needle felting two dimensional portraits while attending classes at MISSA in 2018 and 2019.  Kait began needle felting as a way to manage stress during law school and she continues to enjoy working with the natural and versatile qualities of fibre.

    Kait holds a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor, and practiced law in Victoria before moving to the public sector to work in taxation policy.

    Some of her work can be found on www.kaitfelts.com


Tech Volunteers

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.



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





  • 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 ed@missa.ca.