The West Shore arts community is mourning the loss of one of its pioneers.
Arts advocate Betty Burroughs, who spent more than 25 years as a volunteer, board member and champion with the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts, passed away earlier this month at the age of 80.
“When students think MISSA, they immediately relate it to Betty,” the school’s first executive director, Meira Mathison, wrote in a tribute to her longtime friend. “She was MISSA’s biggest supporter and she absolutely loved every part of the school.”
Mathison, now an accomplished potter, remembers meeting Burroughs for the first time at a clay symposium at Malaspina College in Nanaimo. Burroughs introduced herself and welcomed the young Mathison. It was a kinship that lasted more than four decades and spoke to the camaraderie Burroughs brought to the community every day.
“I can’t remember Betty ever missing a meeting and she was always the first to support your ideas and the first to volunteer her time,” Mathison said.
Burroughs, a well-versed potter was later integral to the creation of Victoria’s Clay Guild, serving as a founding member.
Born Oct. 12, 1935, she leaves behind two children, Lynn and Neil Burroughs, who were by her side when she died peacefully at their home in Esquimalt on May 7.
“She made a point of getting to know you, caring about you and generous with her time and affection,” Mathison wrote. “Her friends, were friends for life.”