For this month, in honour of its tenth anniversary, WRAC would like to tell readers a bit about its establishment and ongoing activities. In March of 2009, interested individuals from Eastman met to figure out how to develop a regional arts council. After a few meetings, they decided that Winnipeg River corridor could benefit from an organization that would promote and enhance local visual, performing, and literary arts.
With help from Community Futures Winnipeg River, the group started work on this project. After months of consultation and presentations, the Towns of Powerview/ Pine Falls and Lac du Bonnet, Rural Municipalities of Lac du Bonnet and Alexander, and Local Government District of Pinawa agreed to support the concept and provide funding. A ten-member board was formed, composed of individuals from each municipality.
In July of 2011, Winnipeg River Arts Council was incorporated as a non-profit organization, created to raise awareness of arts events, services, partnerships, workshops, grants, and talent development opportunities, and to remind people about the economic, health, and social benefits of arts and culture.
The board of directors holds monthly meetings. After WRAC’s formation, they developed a constitution and organizational structures, conducted a regional arts inventory, set up a website and social media platforms, designed a logo, and hired a part-time employee. WRAC’S current administrator, Jennifer Hudson Stewart, works in the Winnipeg River Community Futures building in Lac du Bonnet, and can be found in her office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 until 12:00.
Membership is open to artists, all residents, arts organizations, and businesses. Forms are available on the website for anyone who wants to join. Privileges include a vote at the annual general meeting, consultations on grants applications, opportunities to run classes and workshops, event promotion and artist profiles, subscription to WRAC newsletter, and reduced rates for programs. Please note: if you buy a membership, you do not have to attend any regular monthly meetings.
Here are a few of the events, organizations, and programs WRAC has supported and promoted: 4P Festival, Fire &Water Festival, Eastman Judged Art Exhibits, Pinawa Players, Eastern Manitoba Concert Association, Whiteshell Winter Arts Festival, Boreal Shores Art Tour, Pinawa Art Gallery, Truck Stop Circus, photo exhibits, art shows and sales, library events and displays, school drama productions, concerts, workshops, author readings, and youth mentorships.
Since 2014, in partnership with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, WRAC has hosted six touring productions in Great Falls, Pinawa, and Lac du Bonnet. Every month, a WRAC artist or arts organizations is featured in local newspapers and the arts council’s newsletter, and on the website.
WRAC artists create quilts, books, paintings, fibre art, theatre, plays, videos, music, concerts, crafts, photography, wood carvings, sculpture, needlework, pottery, and much more. If you love the arts, please let WRAC know that you appreciate its ten years of hosting events, and celebrating all the talented artists and arts organizations in our region.
Happy tenth birthday, Winnipeg River Arts Council!