Old Schoolhouse
Old Schoolhouse


Metchosin Arts News


Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre - An Update

Metchosin Muse - Allen Jones, September 10, 2019

MACCA directors at work

Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre - An Update
L-R: Gail Nash, secretary; Betty Hildreth, liaison; Chris Van de Water, vice president; Art Brendon, president
Allen Jones photo

The Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre Association (MACCA) is a non-profit organization, formed in 2007, to encourage local artists working in all mediums, performers, and instructors in the arts. Its current Board consists of President: Art Brendon; Vice-president: Chris Van de Water; Secretary: Gail Nash; Treasurer: Anne Richmond; and Liaison Director: Betty Hildreth.

Since its inception, MACCA has been making a positive contribution to the culture and heritage of Metchosin but for some time their focus has been on the former Metchosin Elementary School at 4495 Happy Valley Road, leased by MACCA from the District of Metchosin. Their primary purpose is to provide studio space for rental in the Centre. Vacancies are infrequent. This allows the Centre to be a hub for the arts and to foster creativity in the community.

Big changes to the old Elementary School were initiated by the acquisition of the property by Metchosin Council in April 2017, an action strongly urged by MACCA. MACCA directors were also at the forefront of a search for a viable use of the site. They were involved in a public meeting and consultations while also examining the state of dilapidation of the building.

The directors wish to note the work carried out by Councillor Sharie Epp and others on Metchosin Council in making progress toward the development of the site. This has led to funds of $20,000 being made available for the refurbishment of the building, together with the use of work hours of District employees (supplemented by volunteer labour).

In the last few months building work has been carried out on the ground floor offices. Partitions have been removed; floors have been cleaned up and carpet removed; walls and ceilings have been overhauled and painted; doors have been replaced; ironmongery has been updated; and new windows have been put in. Wi-Fi is now available throughout the building.

Currently work is being carried out to the exterior: leaking roofs are to be recovered; access is to be improved; and the whole building will get a shiny new paint job!

Within the building, the Seniors’ Re-source Centre has relocated to the old principal’s school office, conveniently accessed via the ramp and automatic door on the west side of the old school (watch for new directional signs coming soon). A ’New Horizons’ federal government grant, Metchosin trades-people, and volunteers have allowed for renovation, painting, a new vinyl covered, planked floor and LED lighting. A new kitchenette and a bathroom upgrade are also in the works.

The Board of MACCA is very excited with the prospects for the coming year and is hoping that the remainder of the building can also be upgraded, including the old school gymnasium that could become a wonderful community centre – now sadly used as a storage facility.

The Board has found that directions to the Centre involve telling people it is “opposite the Fire Hall” or go to “the Old School on Happy Valley Road”, which is confusing with two ‘old schools’ on the road. What they think it needs is a big sign and a memorable name to catch the eye and ping out on Google. You can be part of this venture by sending your suggestions (except possibly ‘Boaty McArts Place’) to The Muse.

The MACCA office is open from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm every Wednesday and shows and exhibitions will be announced in The Muse or on MACCA’s website: www.metchosinartcentre.ca and also on Facebook.

The last comment goes to Councillor Sharie Epp who chairs the Council Committee responsible for overseeing the project: “One thing I quickly discovered in these first few months as a councillor is that the real movers and shakers in Metchosin are the community’s amazing volunteers. The members of MACCA are no exception. They have been tireless in transforming the old school into an artsy showcase, and are now adding to their countless hours of unpaid labour by helping to rejuvenate the newer section of the school.”



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Background photo of Blinkhorn Mountain by Moralea Milne