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By Marna Lynn Smith (YR 15/1990, Canada-YT)

It is that time of year again and this one will be a big one! In 2019, MISSA will be celebrating its 35th Summer Session! Every summer since 1984, the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) has been bringing together a mix of creative adults, attracting both emerging and established artists, to share the beautiful campus of Pearson College UWC and to create and explore in an artistic immersion nestled next to Pedder Bay on the Salish Sea.

What started out as five art classes and 50 students has blossomed into more than 40 workshops being offered each summer to over 400 local, national and international art students. It was two of Pearson’s early art instructors, the late Robin Hopper and the late Flemming Jorgensen, along with a few of their fellow artist friends that decided to take advantage of a beautiful campus setting and offer art classes to adults for a few weeks every summer.

By late June, the campus transforms into a buzzing adult art camp, and that includes sleeping in dorm rooms, just like Pearson students do! The dining hall becomes the center of all things MISSA with a registration desk, a mini-store and the place where daily meals are shared together. Snack breaks fuel artistic inspiration! Ondaatje Hall becomes the hub of ceramics with late-night clay throwing and fire-breathing soda kilns.

The common room, with its ocean vista, is the perfect space for creative inspiration. The academic building hosts printmaking, drawing, needle-felting and jewelry making courses. The Max Bell becomes a hub for workshops with a direct view of the forest (and exercise with all those stairs!) and spread throughout the campus, pairs of artists work in their Mentored Residency studio spaces. The library is used for workshops like creative writing and the Marine Sciences building becomes a “floating studio” for printmaking and encaustics with – no surprise – literally, the most waterfront view on campus!

Every year, MISSA attracts high-caliber, practicing artists as instructors and this year is no exception. Just some of the 46 instructors teaching this year include: Canadian painter, Don Farrell as the Mentor for the 9-day Mentored Residency; Sunshine Cobb from California sharing her unique hand building techniques; Terri Bibby from Salt Spring Island will be bringing her looms for SAORI weaving; Mario A. Robinson from New Jersey will be teaching watercolour portraiture using a real life model and Miles Lowry, a multidisciplinary artist from Victoria will be sharing his “Language of the Trees,” a workshop inspired by his annual pilgrimages to Ireland.

MISSA runs from June 22 – July 5, 2019. Many workshops are sold out but there are still a few spaces left if you would like to experience “MISSA Magic” as we celebrate 35 years of residency on the beautiful Pearson campus. For more information on courses and the history of one of the West Coast’s most interesting arts immersion experiences, check MISSA’s website and social media pages.