University of the Fraser Valley

Alumna ‘created’ a career of doing what she loves 

Alumna ‘created’ a career of doing what she loves 

Myrtle-Anne Rempel has long been a community leader in Abbotsford. She’s not the type who runs for office or heads a company–although she helped run her husband’s business ventures– rather, she’s the kind who shows up and is present, as an advocate for arts and culture, and charitable causes. 

Throughout her adult life, the UFV visual arts alumna has worked to make Abbotsford stronger. The artist, businesswoman, and philanthropist has donated significant amounts to the Crystal Gala, an event that raises funds to fight breast cancer. “I was one of the original board members of the Crystal Gala Foundation, which has become the premier fundraising event in Abbotsford,” Rempel says. “It became so big it had to move to the Tradex, and it’s raised over $4 million in the last 23 years.” 

Myrtle-Anne was also an original board member of The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford, which has grown into a world-class cultural centre. And in 2022, Myrtle-Anne received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal, recognizing her service to Canada and her community. 

Always a passionate advocate for the arts, her deep connection began when she came to Fraser Valley College in 1982. She developed an interest in painting after a car accident left her badly injured, as it was one of the few things she could do as she recovered. Her interest was nurtured by fine arts instructors Mircho and Janina Jakobow, who helped her develop an abstract style using light, shadows, and textures to create different moods. 

And she excelled in her career as an artist. Myrtle-Anne achieved signature status with three prestigious artist associations, a designation granted only to committed artists with consistent output and superior ability. Her art was featured through exhibits in several communities across BC, as well as in Ontario, Arizona, Australia, and Mexico. And her work is included in many private, corporate, and government collections in many countries.  

These days, she juries (evaluates) hundreds of works annually from aspiring artists hoping to have their pieces hung on The Reach Gallery Museum walls. “And I take that role very seriously because I was one of those artists starting out, trying to get my work into galleries, and I know how important it is.” 

Twice yearly, Myrtle-Anne helps the Federation of Canadian Artists evaluate artists for entry, associated, and signature status. And she always connects her love of art to her post-secondary experiences. “My time at Fraser Valley College was absolutely crucial for what I’ve achieved in art,” she says. “I was able to go to college because there was one in Abbotsford. Otherwise, I never would have gone. I loved the instructors, and I loved all the classes I took. I became so much more confident, and I’ve told so many people who want to go into fine art that they should start there.” 

For today’s UFV students, Myrtle-Anne offers simple advice. 

“Look at everything UFV has to offer, find something that tugs on your heart, and work hard at it. Have fun too, and remember that if you do what you love, the future will take care of itself.” 

More than 50,000 people have graduated from UFV since 1974. Over the next year, we’ll be introducing you to 50 Remarkable Alumni.