Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Local businesses collaborate to bring positive content to the Cape Community

Friday, May 22, 2020
In an effort to bring positive social media content to Cape Girardeau, local businesses and organizations have joined forces through Elevate Cape.
Photo from Elevate Cape

Elevate Cape is Cape Girardeau’s newest way to reach the community through social media. In an effort to bring positivity during uncertain times, Elevate Cape’s collaborative online events are meant to uplift and unite the community.

Beginning with an idea that came from Cape Girardeau Arts Council gallery associate Kelly Downes, this project is designed to bring a fitness or mindfulness activity, a cultural event and an education-based activity to the Cape Girardeau area each day on Facebook.

Downes was inspired by a similar group called Lift Up Lou, designed for Louisville, Kentucky. She recognized businesses and groups throughout the Cape Girardeau area were establishing online activities with the community, but they were disconnected from one another. She then reached out to Old Town Cape, Fit Cape, the Arts Council, the Downtown Merchants Group, Top Talent, Shakti & Free Yoga, Yoga East and the Cape Girardeau Public Library for support. She brought them all together through a multimedia collaboration.

“Lift Up Lou was following a really practical plan, and while looking at their model, I knew the Arts Council worked with a lot of people that would be willing to work together for this new project,” Downes said.

Sue Nesler, owner of Yoga East Healing Arts Studio on Broadway, brings mindfulness exercise segments to the Elevate Cape collaboration. She jumped at the chance to work on the project with Downes.

“We’re trying to give people a 5-to 10-minute tool to help them manage stress and anxiety during this time, so they have some ways to cope with COVID-19 and anything else bringing them down,” Nesler said. “Our business goal is about being a place to get all your health needs: physical, mental and spiritual.”

After the recent fire at the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau, the Arts Council and yoga studios banded together, along with the rest of Elevate Cape to help raise money for the center through their GoFundMe and raise awareness about the celebration of all people.

On May 2, the Arts Council’s Facebook went live and broadcasted an all-levels yoga class, taking donations to help the Islamic Center’s recovery efforts. The GoFundMe for the Islamic Center has raised more than $163,000, a number that continues to grow.

Elevate Cape also wants to put forth different types of education.

“We want to be an ever-expanding collaboration,” Downes said. “We want anyone who has something to give to use Elevate Cape as an open door. People in Cape have skills and we want to show them off.”

The educational segments from Elevate Cape have been coming frequently from the Cape Girardeau Public Library in the form of story times, recipes and book talks. Due to COVID-19, many places, like the library, had to change their business model temporarily, so the library has been using this online content to continue to connect with their regular and new patrons.

Marketing Coordinator at the Cape Girardeau Public Library Whitney Burton said she is happy with the feedback segments are obtaining through Elevate Cape.

“We have been using the Elevate Cape events with the library to spread some education and entertainment and it has been a wonderful experience,” Burton said. “Story times and book talks have been giving people something to look forward to, and we are excited to continue it.”

To get involved with Elevate Cape, message Elevate Cape on Facebook or learn more through the Cape Arts Council at