The Conseil des arts Prescott-Russell Arts Council (CAPRAC) is looking to grow in 2021 – offering ‘pay-what-you-can’ memberships, increasing its online profile and becoming more involved with the region’s live-music community.

Staff and volunteers at CAPRAC are extremely busy organizing the Canada PR 2021 event for Canada Day, July 1, which will feature dozens of artists from all of the municipalities throughout the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR). Canada PR 2021 will begin at 6:30 p.m., July 1 and can be viewed at the Facebook event page here , as well as on numerous other platforms.

Incorporated in 2014, The Prescott-Russell Arts Council’s mission is to support the development of artists, organizations and all those involved in arts, culture and heritage activities. Funded by the United Counties, CAPRAC has one full-time staff member, one part-time employee and adds a summer student for the peak season of the year. Revenue also comes from memberships and various events organized by CAPRAC.

“We are here to provide support to artists and art, culture and heritage organizations,” says Karine Lévesque-Noyes, Executive Coordinator of CAPRAC. “It’s not just for professional artists – we really are here to encourage cultural expression in our communities, activities and events.”

CAPRAC also has a focus on raising awareness of the vibrant art community in the United Counties.

“There are so many amazing attractions here in Prescott-Russell,” says Lévesque-Noyes, adding CAPRAC works to raise the profiles of municipalities as well. “We also provide support for the community in general, so if we receive promotions of activities or calls to artists, we are always happy to help.”

To help boost members in 2021, CAPRAC is introducing a new promotion as it launches its annual membership drive. Instead of the annual fee of $20, CAPRAC is asking anyone who wants to join to simply pay what they can.

“We’re really happy about this initiative, because we want to make sure our membership is accessible,” Lévesque-Noyes explains.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted events for more than a year the arts council shifted its focus to online programming, creating a community Facebook page to keep in touch with members and the community. The group has also hosted online panel discussions – ‘Creative Communities in Conversation’ – and provided spotlights on artists and galleries.

One of the most popular of its online creations is CAPRAC’s Art Gallery , which offers for sale the works of its member artists.

“The online art gallery is an important service we can offer to our members who are not able to tackle (hosting an online site),” Lévesque-Noyes says. “It can be a huge undertaking to host your own website online, so this is something we focused on this year in an effort to help our members during the pandemic.”

As it prepares to hopefully return to live events for 2021, CAPRAC is receiving a lot of practice in coordinating the performances of multiple artists from the eight municipalities in the UCPR for Canada PR 2021. The dozens of musical and entertainment acts must be organized and blended together for the three-hour event on July 1.

“It’s a challenge because we are coordinating the event, but it is really a joint effort with all of the municipalities as well,” Lévesque-Noyes notes. “The municipalities have been reaching out to find artists to represent them, the artists produce videos of their acts from home, and then we take all of that and produce the show itself.”

The Prescott-Russell Arts Council is in the middle of a big move, as the organization is moving this week from its current offices in Alfred College to the Creating Centre in Vankleek Hill.

“We’re really excited,” CAPRAC’s executive coordinator says of the move.

As it coordinates Canada PR 2021 and works with the entertainers involved, CAPRAC is also looking to become more involved in the music community of Prescott-Russell moving forward.

“Most of our membership is visual arts, but we know there is a big music scene here,” Lévesque-Noyes observes. “We’d like to be present in the community and I think being in Vankleek Hill and in a highly visual area will help with that.”

Anyone seeking more information on CAPRAC can visit the organization’s website at . The group can also be reached via email at [email protected] .