View this email in your browser
This months newsletter is a little different.  With the Annual General Meeting coming up March 21st, we thought it would be a great time to introduce you to the current board of directors and a few others who work behind the scenes at MERA.   
Midway through the newsletter you can find "All Things MERA" for the most up to date information on what's happening at the schoolhouse.
Call for Nominations to MERA’s Board of Directors
Dear members and friends of MERA.
The AGM is scheduled March 21, 2021 from 2-4 pm and will be held virtually and via telephone using Zoom.   More information will be sent out about Zoom in the coming weeks.
One important task of this meeting is to elect directors to MERA's board.  Please think about becoming a candidate yourself, or nominating a member of your MERA circle. If you are interested in supporting the life of this community as part of the team working backstage to set agendas and develop programs please put your name forward. Interest, enthusiasm and a 2021 MERA membership (paid as of February 19, 2021) are the only prerequisites to serve on the MERA board.  
Submit your nominations to by March 5th, 2021 so that all names may appear on the agenda which will be emailed no later than March 7th.   Nominations can be submitted to the secretary/administrator up to 10 days prior to the AGM, and must be done so via email.   Refer to the Bylaw for more information, but note that due to Covid some changes are in place.
We look forward to welcoming you to the team!
on behalf of the Nominations Committee
copy of email & letter mailed out February 3rd
Barry Russell - Chair
I am a retired high school science teacher. I am married to Helen Mogford and I have two adult daughters living east of Ottawa. My retirement hobby is refinishing antique furniture and making picture frames for local artists. I have been on the MERA board for four years and currently I am the acting chair of the board. I feel that MERA is an essential part of rural life, offering community and artistic events to all comers.

Helen Mogford - Secretary

When I retired from teaching elementary school 7 years ago, I was concerned that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself way out here near Watson’s Corners. Then I found MERA. I joined the Art Circle and began to paint. I joined the MERA Board of Directors and met great people. I started teaching recorder lessons and got to know more fine people. I loved the dinners, the community, the mission to support all kinds of people in all kinds of art. Now, I am loving my painting, and selling some. I have been the secretary of the Board for 5 years, and still enjoy it. The recorder group has grown and changed and is playing really beautiful music. 

My life outside MERA is wonderful as well. I am married to Barry Russell, also on the Board. I have three grown sons and six grandchildren, all living well, but far, far away. I play other musical instruments with other people. I love nature, our precious planet, our cabin in the woods. I love sharing with friends, learning, reading, understanding. Life is good

Peter Cochrane - treasurer & music director
On a whim, Peter and Rae Ann moved to Lanark County in 1977. Within a few short years their son Luke and daughter Caitlin were keeping things lively and Peter was busy evenings and weekends building their present home near Fallbrook. Peter has worked as a land survey technician since 1978 and currently works for McIntosh Perry Surveying Inc. It has taken Peter several decades to truly appreciate and embrace the effort and rewards of community participation, primarily through the vehicle of music. Peter is on the committee with the Stewart Park Festival and is now entering his 7th year on the board at MERA, this year as treasurer, along with involvement in the MERA
Wayne Stryde - director & art exhibition coordinator
I migrated to Lanark Co. from Newfoundland about 40 years ago. These days my wife Maryse and I are both retired and live very contentedly with our dog Lola on our two acres of rocky ground and apple trees on Rodger Rd., Highlands Township. Here we have so much natural beauty to celebrate and a vibrant community life to join in. MERA is an important part of that. MERA enlivens our world with many different artistic and recreational pursuits, wonderful music, and truly rich social occasions. I have been a Board director for going on five years, coordinating the monthly art shows, helping out with funding questions, planting trees and other odd jobs that crop up. I’m liking it a lot. 
Patti-Jo Wilson - director
Better known as PJ by friends and family is a life time resident of the area and even married the boy next door. Her craft work and interest started over 20 years ago with very simple with plastic tree ornaments and wreath decorations.  PJ now works with intricate wire, crystals and gem stones. At the moment she is making trees of life both large artistic form and as wearable pendants. She is part of the local farmers' market, and sits on the board for The McDonalds Corners Agricultural Society.   In the winter time she can be found in her studio creating wonderful forms of art and in the warmer months making pickles.    At MERA she can be found doing everything!   PJ lends a hand whenever needed, helps Dave keep things running smoothly, helps Trina with things like the Covid Committee and any other areas she can assist with.   
Elaine Wilson - director
I am thrilled to be part of the MERA community and now the newest member of the board. There’s so much to learn and do at MERA.
My husband, Peter, and I moved to Perth 4 years ago from near Barrie, Ontario. Originally from Montreal, we moved here when we retired to be closer to family and are so happy we did!
I love playing with pottery and, thanks to Lyndal and Jan,  I’m gradually getting better.  I'm looking forward to getting in the studio, and visiting other groups when we re-open.
Ankaret Dean
Having moved to a farm in McDonald’s Corners in 1992 I enrhusiastically joined a group to rescue the then defunct village schoolhouse., The community arts movement was just starting in Ontario and it seemed a perfect location for arts and recreation..
I somehow assumed the role as the arts director, and after many years on the board I continued in that role but not on the board. I still strongly believe in the strengths of a strong community, and I believe  arts and recreation is one of the best ways of learning to live happily together.  Now I live in the village just a stones throw away from the school house, I  feel it is my second home. Many happy times, silly times, wonderful friendships and music,music, music.
Trina Conboy - administration
Most of you know me by at least the emails & facebook posts and thankfully in my 3.5 years at MERA I have been able to meet many of you in person.   I am still amazed by this community and what we do in our little schoolhouse.
My life away from MERA is a busy one.  I am the mom of an amazing 14-year-old who’s going on 40 – if you’ve met him, you’ll understand my comment.   My husband and I are dairy farmers who operate his family farm, now in its 4th generation.   I also work at an amazing little shoppe in Perth that specializes in local artisans.   I am a potter, glass artist and I dabble in any other kinds of art I can get my hands on.   In my "spare" time I love to take online courses - I am currently studying with the Alzheimer's Society.

David Wilson - maintenance

A lifetime resident of McDonalds Corners, Dave Wilson has only left for four years when he attended Sheridan College. One year in Oakville for Art Fundamentals and then a three years course in Illustration majoring in Advertising and minoring in Book Arts in Brampton. Graduating in 1991 Dave came back home and was employed by Lindsay Duncan and Sons Sawmill/Farm for 18 years. Along the way he married Patti-Jo Williams and had three kids, Avery, Emily and Brady. Dave started working at MERA in 2011 and continues to freelance doing artwork, in particular airbrushing.  To pay the bills Dave delivers the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun and National Post newspapers around the area starting in Perth and travelling close to 200km six out seven nights a week.   At MERA Dave ensures everything is running smoothly, things are clean & safe and the grounds are lovely.   

Lyndal Neelin - past chair
Although Lyndal has had to step down as Chair person, trust me she & Michael are still very much part of the MERA community and continue to offer support and ideas to our schoolhouse.   
Every two years since 2009, the MERA Schoolhouse puts out a special call to all artists living in this area. This call is to apply for the very generous award of $1000 given to acknowledge a body of work demonstrating exceptional artistic skill, originality and quality. 
The application is open to artists working in fine arts and fine crafts. It is specifically open to local residents, those living in the Townships of Lanark Highlands, Tay Valley, Drummond/North Elmsley, Central Frontenac, North Frontenac, and the Town of Perth. Previous non-winners may apply again. 
The prize is funded in large part by the generous donation to the Perth and District Community Foundation (PDCF) made by Chris and David Dodge who conceived the Award. The Award is administered and given by MERA. 
Applications for the 2021 MERA Award of Excellence will be accepted up until April 30, 2021. 
For further information see MERA’s website: , email MERA at or write to MERA at:
McDonalds Corners/Elphin Recreation & Arts
974 Concession 9A Dalhousie
McDonalds Corners, ON K0G 1M0 
McDonalds Corners/Elphin Recreation & Arts (MERA) is a not-for profit charitable corporation dedicated to enriching the lives of members of its community of all ages by providing and encouraging a variety of opportunities for personal expression, instruction and appreciation of the visual and performing arts. MERA’s activities are based in a heritage schoolhouse in McDonalds Corners in the Township of Lanark.

Winter Speaker Series 

Brighten up your winter on Thursday evenings by listening and watching an exciting series of talks presented by MERA. 

They will be shown on ZOOM, so no danger of Covid or driving on icy roads.  The talks include world adventure, animal history, children’s outdoor education, and gardening.   We have tried to plan something for everyone.

 The series of six talks starts on January14 and runs until February 18 from 7 to 830 pm. The admission is by donation to MERA by sending an e transfer to

 Interested viewers need to subscribe to the series in order to receive the invitation to watch the talk, by emailing Helen at

 Visit to see the list of speakers and topics, as well as all the exciting things happening at the schoolhouse.

If you have any idea for future speakers please let Ankaret know.

February 11 - Scott Sigurdson from Indian Creek Orchards 

The Joys of Permaculture: the Good, the Bad and the Tasty.

February 18 - Joanna Dean

Unruly Nature, Troublesome Trees and Runaway Horses. Joanna Dean has been teaching courses on environmental and animal history at Carleton University for several years. She has uncovered some very interesting stories concerning animals and trees.

The Annual General Meeting will be held on March 21st from 2-4 pm using Zoom.   
Complete details will be emailed out closer to the time.
Friendly reminder that memberships were due December 31st.  The good news is they are still being accepted and its really easy to do!  Please click here to send in your information and payment information can also be found there.  For more information or assistance please email Trina at
Thank you so much for your continues support of MERA!
At the time of publication, MERA is still closed due to the 2 provincial rules that are in place until February 11th.   The best explanation we have found is here: As soon as we have an update it will be posted.
Even though our doors are temporarily closed several groups are making plans and special activities are being talked about.   As soon as we are given the go ahead it won't take long before you'll hear from me and your group coordinators to come on back and put the life back into our amazing schoolhouse!   Be sure to keep an eye on the Facebook page and our website
Copyright © 2021 MERA, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp