Low cost LAMBAC loans now available to artists

ALGOMA-MANITOULIN—Exciting news for artists in the Manitoulin or LaCloche area has come out of the LAMBAC offices with the launch of the Artist Investment Program (AIP). The program is open to individuals, a for-profit business (sole proprietorship or partnership), an incorporated not for profit or an unincorporated organization (special conditions apply).

“This was a project started by my predecessor Mary Nelder,” said LAMBAC General Manager Mike Addison. “She and Alex Baran had discussions when the Manitoulin Arts and Cultural Council (MACC) was starting up. LAMBAC already had a micro loan program for small business and we worked with the arts community to put together a special interest rate for the arts community.”

Under the new AIP microloan program artists can access small loans up to $5,000 for materials or upgrading their skills to further their artistic abilities. The key to the program is focussed on artists making a living from their work, however.

“Projects should be entrepreneurial in nature, they should generate revenue directly and/or contribute to the applicant’s skills and they should enhance the applicant’s ability to earn income from their cultural activity,” said Mr. Addison.

“The program is open to all of the arts, all arts,” he stressed. “That includes not only paint, but writing, producing books, a whole range of activities qualify.”

The criteria for the program include artistic development (how will the loan enhance skills, technique and/or productivity), business development (how will this strengthen, improve the ability to compete, sell and market the product and/or operate your business more effectively and sustainably), local community (will there be job creation, volunteer development, partnership creation, increased income, local spending and event creation) and marketplace (will there be increased consumer choice, product development, stimulated competitiveness, development of new methods of promotion, marketing and sales).

The interest rate for the microloans is set at prime plus a quarter percentage point and approval is by the general manager based on the recommendation of a panel of three cultural advisors selected from the community for loans up to $5,000, while the LAMBAC board will approve loans up to a maximum of $10,000. The loan term will be from three to five years with a flexible repayment schedule.

The program is being offered as a three-year pilot project and will be reviewed in 2017 by the LAMBAC board.