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

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

sign
‘Camp Covid’ for Halloween at Surrey home where decorator ponders trick-or-treat numbers

Dr. Henry: ‘This is not the year we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses’

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk in comfortable lead in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

Edgewood Elementary at 16666 23 Ave., behind the City of Surrey’s operations building, is to open in January 2021. (File photo)
New catchment areas for South Surrey elementaries

Changes to take effect as pair of new schools open, starting next week

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The family and friends of Abbotsford resident Kaitlyn Cassels have launched a GoFundMe for her after she suffered serious injuries following a bad fall on Thursday night. (Submitted)
GoFundMe created for Abbotsford woman after horrible fall

19-year-old Kaitlyn Cassels suffers many injuries after falling 27 feet off Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Most Read