Lyn Lay pictured outside Surrey Arts Centre in 2017. That year, as one of the B.C. Culture Days ambassadors, Lay led a project celebrating the arts centre’s 50th anniversary. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

Lyn Lay calls it a day after 23 years of work at Surrey Arts Centre

‘I’ll still be working in the non-profit sector with the Youth Arts Council,’ she says

Surrey Arts Centre is losing a familiar face and voice.

After nearly a quarter-century of work there, in one job or another, Lyn Lay is calling it a career.

She’s retiring from the city’s arts services department, 23 years after finding work as a front-of-house usher at the Bear Creek Park facility.

Since then, Lay has performed a number of jobs including performance co-ordinator for the Millennium Children’s Festival (May 2000), work on the arts centre’s grand-reopening committee (2002), facility rentals co-ordinator (from 2000 to 2008), leader of Wandering Angels Lantern Festival workshops (2008), hospitality co-ordinator for Surrey International Children’s Festival (2009-2016) and volunteer co-ordinator for the arts centre’s calendar mailout (2009-2013). She’s also instructed art classes there since 2008.

“I was finding that I needed my days to be more flexible time-wise, and there are so many opportunities out there in the arts community,” Lay told the Now-Leader. “Once I had that in mind, I discussed it with my husband, Steve, and everything soon fell into place.

“I’ll still be working in the non-profit sector with the Youth Arts Council (Arts Council of Surrey), plus you might see me working in turn of the century clothing in the near future at the Historic Stewart Farm.”

Lyn’s last day of work is Feb. 28, and co-workers will help her celebrate her retirement during a couple of private events – one at the arts centre and another at Central City Brew Pub.

Lay started work with the City of Surrey in 1997, but had a deep association with various culture/arts organizations in the city prior to that, Kent Gallie, Performing Arts Manager, noted in an email inviting co-workers to celebrate Lay’s retirement.

“We will miss Lyn’s friendly welcomes and cheerful demeanor at the Surrey Arts Centre front desk and wish her all the best in her future endeavours – some likely arts related,” Gallie wrote.

At work, she’s known as Lyn Lay, but as artist/performer she prefers Lyn Verra-Lay, “because I was an artist before I got married. Using Verra is an homage to my parents who taught me art and performance,” she explained.

Lay, inspired by her musician dad and craft-savvy mom, has enjoyed being involved in Surrey’s performing and visual arts community for more than 40 years, as a musician, singer, community theatre production manager, actor, dancer and mixed-media and fabric artist.

• RELATED STORY, from 2017: Surrey’s Culture Days ambassador will celebrate 50th birthday of arts centre — a place she knows very well.

In 2017, Lay led a project to celebrate the arts centre’s 50th anniversary, in her role as one of seven Culture Days ambassadors in B.C.

“I’ve been hanging out in that area (of Surrey Arts Centre) since I was 14,” Lay said at the time. “I used to go there and scrape clay out of the creek and make things, and now I teach clay classes to kids at the arts centre, so it’s kind of a big full-circle thing for me.”

Arts and cultureSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 8: White Rock mulling relief options for its taxpayers, Peace Arch Provincial Park closed

SIMPSON: In taking care of its vulnerable, Surrey is showing what it’s made of

Stories about people helping others have overwhelmed the newsroom since COVID-19 hit community

White Rock council mulls financial impacts of pandemic

City is working with other municipalities to develop aligned strategies

Celebrating Easter in Surrey, during COVID-19

Surrey’s Christian churches rise to the occasion, despite Coronavirus challenges

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read

l -->