MacMillan Arts Centre executive director Jennifer Bate shows the lineup of creative summer camps taking place at the MAC this July and August. Registration is now open for the programming. — Adam Kveton

MAC offers expanded summer camp lineup

Parksville centre hopes to establish a creative school of art

Registration is open for what looks to be one of the most wide-ranging collection of creative summer camps that the MAC has produced, said the centre’s executive director, Jennifer Bate.

With programs from dance to theatre to graffiti letters offered in partnership with the Regional District of Nanaimo this year, Bate said she hopes to “firmly establish a creative school of art” at the MAC, and to operate it independent from the RDN in the future.

“We want to have a summer school set up, running in our own arts centre,” she said. “So, with that in mind, we came up with a ton of really great ideas (for this year).”

Traditionally, the MAC has offered a mixed media/visual arts component, as well as a music component, and those are offered through the Mixed Media Exploration for the Young Artist and Guitar and Rhythms programs, she said.

New last year were Kite Making Workshops ahead of the Parksville Kite Festival in July, and a Creative Photography class, which are back this year.

New classes include a Zentangle Explorations class, Youth Yoga and Creative Movement, a Graffiti Letters workshop and Readers Theatre Alive.

Having a background in theatre herself, Bate said she’s very excited for Readers Theatre Alive, which will have participants eight years old and older produce The Legend of Lightning Larry. Culminating in a show for friends and family, the class includes creating characters, assembling costumes, painting sets and using instruments to make sound effects and more.

Asked whether she had concerns about backlash over offering a graffiti workshop, Bate said, “Absolutely not. Graffiti is its own art form. I have two daughters that are really into world art and all that kind of stuff, and I think graffiti is an art form that’s unappreciated, actually.”

The idea is to offer as wide a range of programming as possible to spark creativity in young people, she said, adding that summer isn’t just about sports camps.

“I believe that there are kids out there that are looking for a creative outlet this summer, and so rather than getting put into a soccer camp, they are actually looking for something like this. That’s why (we have) our range of dance, music, visual arts and theatre.

The classes are being offered for particular age ranges, some as young as three years old to 14 and older.

Registration is open for the classes, which run in July and August.

For more program details or to register, go to