Snow Lake was a special place for musician Jaime Payne. “It was a cherished family meeting place and the name of my grandmother’s family camp on the edge of Algonquin Park. It was a safe space where friends and family came together to teach their children how to fish, cook, make a fire, ruin clothing and simply grow up,” she recalls. “The spirit of Snow Lake was encouragement, support, and kindness.”
That spirit is what inspired her to name her latest creative endeavour The Snow Lake Initiative. It’s a funding program for Canadian artists across all disciplines, like singers, musicians, songwriters, fine artists, dancers, and sculptors.
Payne recently announced the soft launch of the initiative after several years of research and development.
There are three different programs for artists in The Snow Lake Initiative: a Micro-Grant Program, a Mentorship Program and a Grant-Writing Program.
“The basic idea is to provide limited funding for artists in many fields through prearranged sponsorships. There is absolutely no cost to becoming a member, all one needs to do is go to our website and sign up,” says Payne. Each program is outlined at thesnowlakeinitiative.ca.
Payne is a singer-songwriter who grew up in Huntsville. She relocated to Toronto in 2013 where she gained critical behind-the-scenes work experience with several high-profile creative businesses specializing in the music industry. Her ventures have included commercial work for television, successful applications for provincial grants (grossing more than $500,000), business management for some of Canada’s multi-million-dollar export artists, and a cherished stint with CIRAA (The Canadian Independent Recording Artists’ Association) as their Director of Member Services before the association dissolved in 2016.
“I have taken what I learned at CIRAA and used it to develop my own model of Micro-Granting,” explains Payne. “The goal is to aid Canadian artists in their creative endeavours and help them eliminate obstacles, without defining their obstacles for them. This is done through inclusive guidelines and a deep, personal, understanding that artists know their own creative business best.”
The goal of the soft launch is to increase membership and sponsorships over the next year. “We want to continue to grow our membership which will hopefully also increase our sponsorships,” says Payne.
There are three types of sponsorships available at varying prices for individuals and businesses who want to support the initiative: a Lottery Grant, a Performance Grant and a Mentorship Grant.
Through the initiative, Payne hopes to carry on the encouraging, supportive and kind spirit of Snow Lake. “This is what I hope will be passed on to the artists who we will work with,” she says. “I hope everyone will check it out and sign up.”
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