Kristin Murray

Summer art school sees many returnees to Metchosin

Artist retreat set to inspire and re-inspire in rural setting

If the popularity of the Metchosin International Summer School for the Arts is any indication, the arts community on the West Shore is alive and well.

The retreat-style school, known locally by its acronym ‘MISSA,’ returns to Pearson International College for a 31st year starting this weekend (June 20) and once again offers numerous creative options for artists at various levels.

“MISSA is really a joyful home place for artists who want to stretch and celebrate their individuality in a place that is truly supportive,” said school co-ordinator Cindy Moyer. “That is the big takeaway for people – they feel like they are among friends.”

Of the hundreds of artists who descend upon the idyllic college overlooking Pedder Inlet, for everything from two-day workshops to two-week residencies, many are returning participants, giving proof the experience is as much about the network as the artwork, she said.

“The exchanges that happen at break times are at times as important as what happens in the classroom,” said Moyer, who also runs the Coast Collective Arts Centre in Colwood.

“It is relationship building. It’s two weeks of magic and is really something to behold. Beautiful things are being created, people are joyful, resourceful, working with their hands and developing (art). You can see (its) evidence when they are in the studio or relaxing outside while enjoying the amazing views.”

An introduction to graphic novels is one of the many art forms to be explored, and instructor Renee Nault sports an impressive resume. The Belmont graduate, who grew up in Colwood, is an internationally commissioned artist who is in the midst of a partnership with renowned author Margaret Atwood, creating a 200-page graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.

“I think comics are such a great medium for reaching people because you don’t need a lot of money or other people to make them. You can make them on your own for free and get your story out to people totally unfiltered,” said Nault, who will offer a slightly different take on traditional comic book adaptations. “Historically, they have been focused on action comics for guys, mostly super heroes with few other perspectives … but I would like to see more voices coming into comics.”

Her two-day workshop is one of the shorter courses at MISSA, a situation she finds somewhat fortuitous.

After seeing the lineup of workshop instructors, Nault said she’s just as interested in taking classes as she is teaching her own.

The two-week retreat, which runs to July 3, features other topnotch teachers and courses, ranging from studio residencies with interdisciplinary artist Suzanne Northcott, to drawing with Alain Costaz and mould-making with Victoria sculptor Samantha Dickie.

“MISSA is many things,” Moyer said. “First and foremost it represents a remarkable place for learning about the arts, whether you are just discovering your artful self, an artist mid-career, a teacher who teaches arts or someone who works professionally. If you are looking to be inspired or re-inspired by art in a beautiful sense of space, without the trappings of modern society, this is the place.”

For more information on classes and instructors visit missa.ca.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Most Read