Community Connections: St. Paul & District Arts Foundation

In challenging times, the arts are a lifeline. Find out how St. Paul & District Arts Foundation is making a difference with the help of Community Connections.

In challenging times especially, the arts are a lifeline. They give us an outlet to express ourselves and feel what connects us.

From Latin dancing and hip-hop to painting and musical theatre, the St. Paul & District Arts Foundation is a hub for creative inspiration. Since the pandemic began, the non-profit has embraced technology with open arms. With the help of our Community Connections internet donation, the St. Paul & District Arts Foundation has launched online classes and performances.

St. Paul & District Arts Foundation’s volunteer board members recently shared how they’re making a difference.

What’s your mission, purpose, and passion as an organization?

The St. Paul & District Arts Foundation connects residents to their creativity. We support high-quality education and performances in the visual, theatrical, dance, music, and literary arts.

How has MCSnet’s donation and complimentary internet connection left a positive impact on your organization?

We’ve immensely appreciated it. Many people connect to our internet, including our volunteer board members, employees, instructors, artists in residence, membership, and our online audience (virtual classes or streamed performances). This has allowed us to progress, transform, and move forward digitally.

Why are you enthusiastic about helping Albertans?

In our recent strategic framework project with the Hatlie Group, a top issue was: “Today, more than ever, the importance of culture and creativity for society is clear.”

We see ourselves as a bridge to the above finding. Given what we’ve learned during the pandemic, the arts are incredibly important for our mental health and wellbeing.

In what ways has the internet opened up opportunities for your organization?

The internet has been instrumental as we move forward. Our organization is evolving, so that we have the ability to take the steps to digitally transform, rather than be transformed by outside forces. The internet has given us opportunities to stay virtually connected with our arts community during the pandemic.

Can you tell us your favourite story about how you’re making a difference?

Our favourite story is how we’ve been able to virtually share major performances like The Nutcracker with grandparents and family throughout Canada. With the internet, distance is no longer a barrier for those who may be at higher risk during the pandemic. 

What does making real connections in your community mean to you?

Real connections mean making a difference in people’s lives. It’s about having the tools to pivot and still provide great experiences for people. It’s about leading in our community to make things happen, even when faced with turbulent times.

If you had one piece of advice for organizations looking to improve connectivity in rural Alberta, what would it be?

Search for the tools you need to reach that audience that you service. Be bold and brave. The pathway isn’t linear for anyone, but if you’re willing to learn and be flexible, you’ll get there.

What kind of future do you imagine for rural Alberta?

The pandemic has changed the way people function. For example, we continue to offer classes both in-person and virtually. But, it’s not only the pandemic—people join our classes online when there are snow days and they don’t want to travel up to 50 km to get to our class. The future is dynamic, and people are changing the ways they are staying connected.

Create a Thriving Alberta with Community Connections

It’s inspiring to see how technology has changed the way Albertans connect. If you’re a non-profit that needs access to the internet, we want to help! Find out how our Community Connections program works, and apply for funding today.

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