VanGo: Jocelyn’s story

Oct 13, 2020

Portrait of MacLaren Art Centre volunteer Jocelyn Hay

“As a Barrie kid, I’ve grown up with the MacLaren Art Centre. I currently volunteer as Co-Chair of the Maclaren’s Black Tie Gala. In college, I took a volunteer placement at the Maclaren, writing a curriculum for Early Childhood Art Programs. In high school, I completed my community service hours at the centre, which later landed me my first job working in the Gallery Shop. Even before that, in elementary school, I remember the Maclaren’s VanGo program coming into my school and providing art classes.

Childhood photo of MacLaren Art Centre volunteer Jocelyn Hay

Looking back, I realize that my earliest learning of Indigenous culture was actually from the VanGo program. We learned how to use oil pastels and create our own renditions of Norval Morrisseau’s famous Canadian Indigenous artwork. The first time I learned about the Group of Seven was from the VanGo program teaching us to paint our own renditions. See my Grade 4 masterpiece inspired by Frederick Varley’s Stormy Weather on Georgian Bay.

VanGo art class painting by MacLaren Art Centre volunteer Jocelyn Hay

What I didn’t realize at the time, but have learned since, is that so much of my appreciation for arts, culture and community is thanks to the MacLaren Art Centre. The reason why I still volunteer is because I know how vital the VanGo program is in our community. With the support of community donors, this program is accessible to every child, regardless of financial or artistic ability. As we maneuver through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together, I am thrilled to see this program adapt with the continued help of our community.”

— Jocelyn Hay