Marilyn Lyon stands in her studio in Harrison, surrounded by paintings created in her community art classes in Agassiz. Lyon wants to “awaken the artist in all of us” and is excited to see the local art program growing in popularity. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

Agassiz Harrison art teacher hopes to awaken the artist in us all

Marilyn Lyon and students work on display at Dec. 12 show

Marilyn Lyon had decided to leave behind her busy life when she moved to Harrison Hot Springs from Delta in 2014.

The custom art framer, commission artist, art promoter and community art advocate had planned to retire, but soon realized she couldn’t sit idle and ignore her creative side.

Art is Lyon’s lifelong passion.

“As far as I can remember going back, once I left high school I was always involved in art…” she said. “And that’s where my mind is always. Even when I’m doing a normal job, I’m focusing on, how can I make that more creative?”

Now Lyon leads adult and children’s art classes two to three times a week at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre (CRCC) and teaches regular classes at the Agassiz Seniors Community and Glenwood Seniors Community.

Marilyn Lyon’s recent ‘Meet the Artist’ gallery evening celebrated work she and her students created in the art classes she teaches at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre. (Submitted)

“Some of [the CRCC students] have been with me for three years, painting. They’ve really advanced their skills and it’s amazing to watch them develop over the last while,” Lyon told the Observer. “There’s such a variety of subject matter that we touch on – light and water and clouds and sunlight. There’s a lot to be learned.”

And Lyon’s weekend “Paint Parties” help participants create stunning art pieces in just a few hours.

Most of all, Lyon loves watching people – young and old – discover their creative side.

“Many of them have never picked up a pencil or brush in their lives. Some of them are surprised at their skills,” she said. “My mission is to awaken every single artist in all of us. Because once you awake that part of you, you realize there are things you haven’t done…that you can do.”

A gallery evening at the CRCC Dec. 12 brought attention to the work created in Lyon’s classes. The holiday social celebrated past seasons of the program and featured work from Lyon and her students.

The art instructor hopes even more people will learn that the CRCC offers art classes.

“A lot of people don’t even know the building is back there, until they come to a class and go, ‘I didn’t know this was here!‘“she said. “Every year we grow in numbers. That shows that the demand is there and people are excited about it.”

CRCC Recreation programmer Kristen Patrice is glad the centre has Lyon to help people find their inner artist and get excited about creativity.

“Marilyn certainly has a way with the participants. It’s her warmth and her rapport in building the programs and building the artists and connecting with the individuals,” Patrice said. “Certainly she goes above and beyond and she takes a lot of pride in her work [and] in putting these classes and programs together. I think it shows in the artistry and I know the participants themselves are quite proud of what they can accomplish.”

The program is set up for all levels and provides plenty of guidance for beginners.

“We go slow enough and we do a real step by step process so it’s not too hard to keep up,” Lyon said.

With the current leisure guide running until Dec. 31, now is the perfect time to start thinking about joining an art class in the new year. For more information check out the CRCC guide online or call (604) 796-8891.

Related: Local talent to be displayed at 57th Anniversary Art Show

Related: Art exhibit mines secrets of Agassiz and area locals

Related: Canada-wide collection featured at Harrison Art Show this weekend



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

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