The NorVA Centre will have a new face running the place as of this summer. Mike Spencer, who has managed the gallery for the past decade, has stepped down from that spot.
Spencer, who has been the gallery manager for the NorVA Centre since 2012, has left his post - instead of managing the centre, bringing in new exhibitions and monitoring the space, Spencer has moved full-time into being an independent artist.
Spencer’s move away from being the gallery’s proprietor was first publicly announced at the Northern Juried Art Show earlier this month - Spencer, who served as a juror at the event along with his former professor and mentor Diana Thorneycroft, was presented with gifts from longtime NorVA member Karen Clark.
“[Spencer] is a multi-talented individual who has made contributions as a painter, a potter, a teacher, a musician, a carpenter, delved into the area of performing arts, digital, film, writing, making some amazing posters - but more importantly, he’s helped lead NorVA for the past 10 years,” reads a small speech given by Elly Spencer - an arts columnist for The Reminder and Mike’s mother - at the show in his honour.
“For the past 10 years, he was a catalyst for bringing new and innovative artists and exhibitions to Flin Flon and connecting them to our local artists. He's been able to make countless connections with the wider arts community as well beyond our area, which has been really hugely beneficial for our local arts community.”
The list of events or programs either held or overseen by Spencer is long - as gallery manager, Spencer was responsible for holding and organizing countless workshops, events and exhibitions for NorVA. He held several workshops on the art of raku pottery, a particular favourite medium of his, as well as taking the lead on projects such as Shrug, a multimedia theatre performance that hit the stage at Johnny’s Social Club and online earlier this year, coming up with grants, applications and fundraisers and organizing dozens of exhibits.
Spencer holds a master’s degree in fine arts, received from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. A Flin Flonner by birth, Spencer came back home after receiving that degree in 2011 to run the gallery.
“We've really appreciated his organizational writing and creative skills that he brought with him and developed over the years. He's definitely been a huge part of making NorVA the vibrant place that it is today - we will miss his presence around NorVA,” said Elly.
“We’ll miss his presence around NorVA, but we know he’s not leaving town and we know where he lives - we also have his phone number in most of our phones.”
“He has been the most patient of people as we invented what NorVA became over the last four years and he's been an integral part to creating the shape that the center has taken. We will be forever grateful for his input, his initiative, his risk taking,” said Clark.
In Spencer’s stead, the gallery’s new manager has been named. Megan Dupas, a former summer student at the centre, longtime collaborator and another Flin Flon-born artist, will take over the reins of managing the gallery.