Lisa Gilliland-Viney was happy to be teaching art inside an air-conditioned Merced Multicultural Arts Center (MAC) last Sunday when it registered 106 degrees outside.
And it’s a little funny to her because that was the exact temperature Merced was experiencing when she first came to town with her husband nearly two decades ago. They were living in cool Scotland, but her husband, Professor Christopher Viney, had landed a job — a founding faculty position — at the new UC Merced.
When things settled down, Lisa began to use her artistic talent to teach drawing and painting classes at the MAC in downtown Merced, and art at local schools through the Merced County Arts Council’s ARTREE program.
Another thing Viney is happy about is being back in front of students, face-to-face. During the recent covid pandemic years, she helped out the MAC by teaching classes online through videos, which she admits, made her nervous.
“I like talking to people in person more than I like talking to a video camera,” she said with a laugh.
On Sunday, July 23, during Kids & Family Day at the MAC, she had plenty of people to meet and greet. Young children and older family members filled the workshop tables set up in the Black Box Theatre room on the main floor.
“We’re always looking for things to do,” said Lourdes Quintero, the mother of 7-year-old Alexia. “Sometimes you think there’s not a lot going on for young children, but when you start to look around, you find events like this that are fun and educational.”
The Kids & Family Day activities are happening every third Sunday of the month through Nov. 19. Viney is leading art workshops inspired by cultures from around the world. Last Sunday, the kids were creating paintings of Sea Turtles and the Great Barrier Reef. There are four more similar events to come, including one inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and taught by muralist Ruben Sanchez, on Oct. 22.
For more about Kids & Family Days, and other events at the MAC, go online to: artsmerced.org, or call the MAC at (209) 388-1090.