Oceanside Community Arts Council


The Oceanside Community Arts Council (OCAC) is a non-profit, charity organization chartered in 1976 by the British Columbia Arts Council. The OCAC’s community (area of responsibility) extends across 120 square kilometers and includes Nanoose Bay, Coombs, Errington, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Deep Bay and Bowser (coincident with the boundaries of School District 69 on central Vancouver Island). The local geographic name for this area is “Oceanside”. The population is 25,000 and rapidly growing.

Since its inception, the OCAC has striven to be the focus of creative arts in the Oceanside region by creating opportunities for community enjoyment and participation in artistic experiences, encouraging local governments and businesses to consider the arts in planning and development, supporting our members in their creative pursuits and showcasing Oceanside as a vibrant artistic destination.

The OCAC has been averaging between 160-200 members with an additional 275 subscribers to the Oceanside Classical Concerts music series, which the OCAC initiated in 2015 and has since established itself as a separate non-profit organization. The OCAC has a Board of Directors made up of 7 individuals from diverse professional, business and community volunteer backgrounds.

OCAC owns the upper half of the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC) in Parksville, its centre of operations and, therefore, has the advantage of having its own venue for many of its visual and performing arts programs. The MAC Is a 1913 heritage building and the operational core of the OCAC, offering arts programming, music and events and playing host to over 500 visitors each month who participate in our programs, attend concerts, visit our galleries and hold community seminars and meetings. The OCAC has 70 volunteers who support all art and music activities and some administrative duties in the building. MAC operations are now overseen by an Executive Director with a diverse background in community arts planning and programming.

The OCAC has gratefully received BC Arts Council operating programs funding for many years, along with annual operating grants from the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The OCAC continues to work towards becoming a partner of choice for art organizations, groups and individuals when called upon for its knowledge and expertise, collaborative consultation, and willingness to take on new initiatives and opportunities beneficial to the Oceanside region. Recognizing that investing in the arts contributes to economic development, job creation, social well-being, and community building, the OCAC remains committed to bringing focus to the arts and continuing to develop Oceanside as a vibrant and inclusive artistic community through our exhibitions, concerts and outreach initiatives.

In 2020, the OCAC completed the final year of its five year strategic plan which aimed to establish the OCAC as a driving force in positioning creative arts as central to the quality of life in the Oceanside region. A central focus of the strategic plan implementation has been to raise awareness of the MAC as the focus of arts and cultural initiatives in Parksville and the neighbouring communities of Nanoose, Errington and Coombs and as the centre for leadership in integrating the arts into the political, business and personal lives of the community. We have been particularly successful with the City of Parksville with one Councillor being assigned as the person responsible for arts and culture and attending our monthly board meeting as an ex-officio member. As a result of Covid-19, the OCAC has had to reduce its development plans but is now actively engaged in developing and implementing a new five year strategic plan to build upon achievements to date and to further develop its role in positioning the arts as an integral driver of the economy and diversity of the Oceanside region.

We believe that our endeavours over the five years of our strategic plan has both strengthened the sustainability of the MAC and enhanced the Council’s capacity to accomplish the next stage of our strategic goals to:

  • Lead through collaboration,
  • Showcase Oceanside as a vibrant artistic community,
  • Engage the Oceanside community in the arts,
  • Sustain the MAC as a central Oceanside’s regional arts centre,
  • Direct OCAC with integrity and accountability.