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 400 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 2023, 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.


Overview of Strategic Plan

The Oceanside Community Arts Council (OCAC) has outlined a strategic plan for 2023-2028, crafted with input from various stakeholders including funders, artists, community leaders, and indigenous communities. This plan is dynamic and will evolve to meet the artistic and cultural needs of the Oceanside community.

Who We Are:

OCAC is a regional community arts organisation in Vancouver Island, covering the area from Lantzville to Bowser. It's governed by a volunteer board and operates primarily through the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC). OCAC has over 360 members and is committed to elevating Oceanside's culture and history, including indigenous artistic heritage.

Vision and Core Values:

The strategic plan is built on principles of equity, diversity, accessibility, and reconciliation. It aims to foster a vibrant arts and culture environment through initiatives such as artistic development, indigenous engagement, community participation, and fair governance.

Key Goals and Strategies:

1. Sustain the McMillan Arts Centre: Enhance MAC as the hub for artistic activities and community engagement, including art exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies, and community events.

2. Lead through Collaboration and Partnerships: Forge partnerships with stakeholders including indigenous communities, local businesses, and government entities to enhance the arts and culture scene.

3. Provide Communications and Promotions: Utilise various channels to promote local artists and cultural events, expanding the OCAC website and organising regional arts initiatives.

4. Engage the Oceanside Community: Develop inclusive programs and events, focusing on arts education and outreach, particularly for children, seniors, and marginalised groups.

5. Engage the Indigenous Community: Strengthen collaboration with indigenous artists and communities, acknowledging their contributions to arts and culture.

6. Engage Marginalised Groups: Work with local government and community groups to support diverse and inclusive arts initiatives.

7. Provide Strong and Fair Governance: Ensure ethical and transparent operations, continuously evaluating and adapting the strategic plan as needed.

This comprehensive plan reflects OCAC's commitment to creating a dynamic, inclusive arts environment that recognises the diverse cultural fabric of the Oceanside community.