In January 2019, two organizations became one. Portage Community Centre Inc. (who ran the William Glesby Centre) and Portage & District Arts Council (who ran Portage & District Arts Centre) amalgamated to become Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment.
Our name reflects our intent to create a centre of excellence for both the performing and visual arts in Portage la Prairie and surrounding districts. We want to be an exciting and vibrant hub that focuses on the arts. The word Prairie indicates our location and the community we serve. Fusion recognizes our history of amalgamation and the exciting programming that we are planning. Arts and Entertainment shows our intent to become the hub of excellence for the arts.
Our logo represents the vibrance and movement of performance art, and is in itself a piece of visual art. The arrow found within the logo points towards the exciting future we have planned.
Portage & District Arts Centre
From 1977 to 2019, the Portage & District Arts Council provided the citizens of Portage la Prairie and the surrounding area, opportunities to become involved in the artistic life of the community. The Portage & District Arts Centre provided a wide range of art activities for children, adults, and arts groups in the visual, expressive, and performing arts. The classes and workshops were geared to various levels of expertise and in some cases raising the level of our amateur artists to professional status. In turn, these artists became instructors and spread their creative energy to others. The vision of the Portage & District Arts Centre was to be recognized as a leading arts organization essential to our community. It was comprised primarily of volunteers dedicated to nurturing creativity and appreciation of arts and culture by providing a vibrant and sustainable environment for the residents and surrounding region of Portage la Prairie.
Thanks to Marguerite Ruddell, the Portage & District Arts Council has a record of its first 25 years in her book Portage Arts Centre 25 Years.
William Glesby Centre
The William Glesby Centre is the home of Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment. Originally, it was operated by Portage Community Centre Incorporated (PCCI).
In 1989, several community groups, businesses, and citizens of Portage la Prairie and the surrounding rural municipality made a financial commitment to fulfill a dream of creating a cultural and performing arts centre. They had three goals for this massive project:
To encourage Portage and District to work together to build a performing arts/multi-use facility that a variety of groups may use and be proud of including children, youth, teenagers, adults and seniors;
To ensure the facility will be self-sustaining; and
To make sound financial and operational decisions.
This wonderful facility was finally completed in 1998 and was named after Mr. William (Bill) Glesby because of his many community contributions and his generosity to the PCCI. Bill was a highly respected local businessman who dedicated a lifetime to the support of a variety of local endeavours. He came to Portage la Prairie in 1944, where he began work in the garment industry and later branched out to several other business ventures. Along with her husband Bill, Fimi Glesby also made many contributions to our community and the PCCI. Because of this, the theatre at the Centre was named the Fimi Glesby Theatre.
Thanks to funding from the city, rural municipality, province, federal government, community groups, businesses, and citizens of our community, and the hard work of staff and many volunteers, the Glesby Centre was established. Today, it continues to operate as a first-class, multiuse theatre.