Stefanie Dunn, executive director at Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment, attended June 7th's Rotary Club meeting to present the organization's history, goals and strategies for future success.

Dunn shares that during the meeting, there were candid discussions about COVID, not only the negatives, but positive outcomes as well.

The executive director says seeing the reaction of people who don't know just how much is under the umbrella of Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment is always humbling.

"I feel like there's still a lot of question marks out there about the organization, and we're always open to having those discussions. So, that's definitely a highlight that is continuing to educate the community on what we do and who we are. I am always really excited to share where we're going and how we plan to get there with people. That means making sure that we are inclusive, making sure that we are eliminating as many of those socioeconomic barriers as possible and discussing the direction and quality of programming that we continue to offer our community."

Dunn talks about a crossroads her organization faced right before the pandemic hit.

"Financially, the amalgamation (between the Glesby Centre and the Arts) had taken a harder hit on us than I think was anticipated. Also, I think there was general overwhelm with getting the two organizations on the same wavelength and continuing to funnel right down into 'What is our mission?' It's never easy to cut programming to raise prices, to change procedures, and unfortunately, that's what we've had to do over the last two years. We've really had to tighten up what Prairie Fusion does in order to remain financially sustainable."

Dunn stresses that she believes the arts community is really underrated.

"Even something as simple as your child sitting at the counter colouring after school, that's an outlet for so many people. In school, you have physical education, and you get to tap into different sports, athletic abilities and then you have the sciences or writing school. But unfortunately, our arts funding is very, very limited. I think that's where we come in, and we want to really maintain our place in the community because you never know who is out there struggling without a therapeutic outlet without a passion, and it's just our job to make sure that people have access to the arts."

Dunn notes that their fall registration is now open for visual arts and performing arts.