Mission Arts Council turns 40 next Thursday

The community arts group was founded in 1972 by Lorna Adair.

The Mission Arts Centre

The Mission Arts Centre

The Mission Arts Council (MAC) will be celebrating 40 years of representing the arts community next Thursday with festivities and speeches taking place at the centre between 1-4 p.m.

The MAC began in 1972 with Lorna Adair, before being carried on by Peggy Staber, with Perry Cleven’s help.

Local artist Doris Paterson joined 20 years ago when she first moved to Mission. She said prior to the MAC acquiring a rented house for an art gallery, she had to rotate her art shows between downtown businesses, municipal hall and the library.

But since the arts centre was opened 12 years ago, it has changed the lives of many artists.

“Well, it put me on the map,” she said, adding solo shows enable artists to display their work more professionally.

“Nobody in Mission or Abbotsford at that time knew anything about abstract art,” she said, but now people have come to appreciate it.

Marilyn Davidson, past-president of the MAC, started working with them 12 years ago during a Japanese exhibition. She had some kimonos so she offered to help.

“I really love the arts council. I love the programs that they run,” she said, alluding to community events such as the annual Children’s Festival, Halloween haunted house and other activities.

“[The MAC] really raised the profile of arts in the community, it’s made a huge difference.”

Another past-president, Myrna Matthews, also became involved in the MAC a dozen years ago by helping to secure the centre’s present location.

“The Arts Council are a very active part of the culture in Mission and they’ve done an awful lot to promote artists in this town, which I think is the biggest thing they could’ve done.”

Matthews said the MAC is one of the biggest economic drivers in Mission, which she doesn’t think is adequately recognized.

The ability to display local artists is very important to attracting new artists to Mission, she said, adding that’s probably the reason the MAC has remained strong over 40 years and hasn’t faded away like some other community organizations.

On Feb. 9, visit the arts centre at 1 p.m. for coffee and tea, followed by speeches by Mayor Ted Adlem and president Mady Pechler, and an announcement by executive director Nancy Arcand.

Correction — The print edition of the Mission Record erroneously reported the anniversary as taking place on Monday. In fact, the celebration takes place on Thursday, Feb. 9. The error was due to a calender mixup between Jan. 9 and Feb. 9, where the former fell on Monday. The Record regrets the error and apologizes for any inconvenience.