DAWSON CREEK, B.C – A Dawson Creek performing arts organization is adding some flair to its website after receiving funding from the province.
The Kiwanis Arts Centre Society received $8,000 in April through the province’s Pivot Program, administered by the BC Arts Council.
The funding was made available to support B.C. arts and culture organizations that needed to find new ways to reach their audiences amid closures and restricted gathering sizes. Across the province, over 135 artists and 155 organizations have received a total of $6.6 million to adapt during the pandemic.
Johanna Martin, KPAC Executive Director, says the organization is looking to make the site more user friendly and less “informational and flat”.
“People will be able to go [on the website], they’ll be able to book their time that they want to come for lessons, they’ll be able to do payments and registration right online. It’ll also be a platform where we’ll be able to host our own recitals and performances.”
After being approved for several grants this year, the organization has been lucky and hasn’t seen a massive drop in students. The biggest issue the organization has dealt with is video performances being pulled off of social media platforms due to copyright policies.
“We still want our kiddos to be showcased. The parents and families still want to see all of this but using YouTube and Facebook has become a real problem because of the whole licensing of music, and the fact that they really don’t like these types of performances to go on,” says Martin.
Like most organizations forced to shut down last year, KPAC officials were unsure what the future would hold and how they’d be affected. Martin says the grant funding has made for a smooth transition to a virtual world.
The grants have allowed KPAC to purchase state of the art technology such as cameras, and studio production equipment.
“People can come in onto our stage, and we can film them in a professional manner. We’ve really transitioned a lot of what we’ve done to be able to still do things safely, but still, give that opportunity for people to be showcased.”
“We’ve just been going down this whole tech side, which is something that I don’t think we would have done if COVID hadn’t hit. So in some ways, it’s a blessing because it’s really pushed us forward in ways that we probably didn’t think we were gonna go for at least five years.”
KPAC has around 120 students in its dance program compared to 200 pre-pandemic, and its daycare has stayed relatively consistent, according to Martin. The music program is running near full capacity, and Martin says the program has expanded as the centre has acquired more teachers than years prior. The organization was also able to start a new karate program.
Last month, GFL Environmental Company and the Full Circle Project donated $10,000 towards expanding the KPAC daycare greenspace.
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