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Digital media hub launched in Prince George for artists struggling during pandemic

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 6 days ago CBC/Radio-Canada
a desktop computer sitting on top of a laptop: The Arts North Digital Studio will open in a few weeks to local artists and cultural groups needing access to digital production equipment. © Michael Kast The Arts North Digital Studio will open in a few weeks to local artists and cultural groups needing access to digital production equipment.

Artists and cultural groups in Prince George, B.C., will soon be able to rent spaces at affordable rates and learn skills for producing podcasts and live-streaming events in a new digital studio run by the city.

Arts North Digital Studio — a production hub that includes equipment for podcasting, live-streaming, graphic design and photography — will open in a few weeks. 

Group classes and workshops on digital production are expected to take place in September, after the COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings are lifted, says a news release from the Community Arts Council of Prince George.

"The potential for the new Arts North Digital Studio to positively impact the arts and non-profit sectors is tremendous, as we are all currently undertaking transformations to ensure viability in the immediate post-pandemic world," said Sean Farrell, the council's executive director.

"As COVID-19 financial supports disappear, and earned revenues and fundraising monies are slow to return to pre-pandemic levels, we want to be able to help those in these [arts and non-profit] sectors learn new technologies and access online channels to rebuild, or even re-imagine brands, messages and public offerings," Farrell wrote.

The digital media hub is the brainchild of local podcaster and photographer Michael Kast. As a podcast program host, he says he has talked to many artists who are struggling, and he wants to help by sharing his expertise.

"There's a misconception about giving away secrets or teaching people something that's going to have a negative impact on something I do," Kast said. "It's not cool."  

Kast says there's been a huge demand for podcasts and event live-streaming videos during the pandemic when people are at home most of the time, and he believes the trend will continue even post-pandemic.

"There's enough listeners out there, especially podcasts. People can listen to them any time," Kast said. "I want to teach people how to do that, how they can get that good message to others."

a man standing in front of a screen: Prince George podcaster and photographer Michael Kast says he wants to use the Arts North Digital Studio to share his expertise with other artists. © Andrew Kurjata/CBC Prince George podcaster and photographer Michael Kast says he wants to use the Arts North Digital Studio to share his expertise with other artists.

Membership with the Community Arts Council is required for using the Arts North Digital Studio.

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