MISSA is all about the magic that happens when like-spirited folks who love art and the creative process gather together. View the calendar below for workshop dates, times and special events where students and faculty have the opportunity to connect, make art and socialize over the 2 weeks.

Every year, the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) has recognized a member of the arts community who, through the calibre of their work and commitment, have made a significant difference to the growth and development of arts and culture in British Columbia.

2017 Ambassador Recipient, Gary Karr, acclaimed as “the world’s leading solo bassist” (Time Magazine), is, in fact, the first solo doublebassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career. It is a career that adds new lustre to his already lustrous 1611 Amati doublebass which was given to him by the widow of Serge Koussevitzky.

Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1962,  Gary    has performed as a soloist on six continents with orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Caracas, Venezuela), Jerusalem Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and with all the major orchestras of Australia.

Karr’s career has been characterized by many things but in particular,his career-long interest in children — their pleasure and growth as listeners. Another is the sense of humor typified by puns in his promotional materials, and some stand-up comedy during certain kinds of performances. The third is his musical ecumenism: he has been as natural playing Christmas melodies and non-classical music (a CD of spirituals and Stephen Foster, for example) as he is in re-creating Bach’s Cello Suites.

In addition to many master classes, for the past twenty years Gary has presided for four weeks annually at Karr Kamp, an intensive month-long summer course for bassists held at the University of Victoria which has attracted bass players of all ages and levels from throughout the world. Karr has produced numerous educational method books and videos on the technical aspects of playing the bass, and has written articles for musical journals. He established an eponymous Foundation in 1983 to preserve a collection of fine instruments for use without cost by gifted young musicians. Furthermore, he has commissioned more than 50 works, both concertos and solo concert pieces, from composers including Paul Ramsier, Hans Werner Henze, John Downey, Gunther Schuller, Lalo Schifrin, and Robert Rodriguez.

At his farewell concert in Indianapolis, he was presented with a gift from more than 200 of his colleagues and fans: a newly developed rose named in his honour. Gary became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1997, and received an honorary Doctorate of Music from UVic in 2005. He has served on the board of the Victoria Symphony, and continues to serve on the board of the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

MISSA is proud to be honoring Gary Karr for the musical and educational work he has done over the years as an Ambassador of the Arts.


The following have been recognized in the past as Ambassadors of the Arts: 

Jack Shadbolt | Myfanwy Pavelic | Jack Wise | Murray Adaskin | Carole Sabiston, O.B.C. | Rosita Tovell | Mavor Moore | Colin Graham | Fran Willis | PK Page | Bill West | Pat Martin-Bates | Walter Dexter | Lorna Crozier, O.C. | Patrick Lane | Norman Yates | The Newman Family: Victor, Edith, Marion and Carey | Martin Segger | Valdy | Robin Hopper | Shelagh Rogers | William Zuk

Silent Auction

This silent auction of faculty artwork is the biggest fundraising event during MISSA and each year it produces a range of beautiful and unique art pieces! Past and present MISSA faculty generously donate their art and contribute to a display table in the dining hall that grows over the two weeks. The auction culminates on the final evening of MISSA and there have been bidding wars known to happen over coveted pieces. What better way to take away a piece of art from your favourite art teacher and support MISSA at the same time.

Student Art

This is an opportunity to take home a piece of your fellow participants’ artwork. MISSA students generously donate a piece of their own artwork and a draw is made at the end of each week. Tickets are available by donation.


A highlight every year is to pick up your very own “MISSA mug” to enjoy a beverage while you are on campus. There are so many sizes and designs to choose from!  The mugs are a great memento of your time at MISSA and they make wonderful gifts too. The mugs are donated by past and present students and the money raised goes directly to the MISSA Ceramics Program.


There is a merchandise table that operates during MISSA that offers a range of items for sale including aprons, tote bags, t-shirts, zip- hoodies and sweatshirts. A sign will be posted with store hours.