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City agrees to PRISMA funding

Three-year deal continues support for arts and culture

City of Powell River Council unanimously supported a motion to provide three years of financial and in-kind support for Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA).

Council voted on the motion at its meeting on Thursday, April 16. The city will provide $15,000 cash for each of the next three years as well as in-kind use of Powell River Recreation Complex, Willingdon Beach for the outdoor concert, city transit busses during the two weeks for student travel and use of the complex’s fitness equipment. PRISMA organizers will be required to submit financial statements at the end of each festival to the city’s financial department for review.

“These are the kind of things that isolated communities do to bring people and have our own culture and enjoyment,” said Mayor Dave Formosa to council.

PRISMA is a two-week summer orchestral music festival that brings some of the world’s top faculty to Powell River to instruct students seeking a career with symphony orchestras. In addition to the education component, a number of community events are also organized such as the Celebration of the Senses, an outdoor community concert on Willingdon Beach.

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman, who holds the arts and culture portfolio, said this year PRISMA organizers have heard an additional 240 people will be attending from Vancouver, and using a catamaran to get here. Plus, as in previous years, several hundred will be attending the festival from Vancouver Island.

Leishman added that the event brings in about $650,000 in direct and indirect economic activity to local businesses annually and is helps promote Powell River’s arts and culture not only throughout the province but the world.

Michelle Hignell is PRISMA’s executive director. She was sitting in the gallery at the council meeting to hear council’s decision over funding. “We are very elated about the results,” Hignell said.