Opinion: A New Space For Artists

By Sian Last

Toronto is a music sweet spot where new and developed artists can team up in novel ways to share their craft with fans. However, this is relatively difficult for many, given the financial obstacles that often inhibit the production and creation of music. This is especially true for independent musicians, who may hope to remain free from the influence of corporate sponsors. Fortunately, in the past decade there has been renewed social interest in the sustenance of independent music. With services such as Kickstarter, which allows anyone to finance a project through online support collected from friends and fans, it is now easier for musicians and fans to create and support the music they love, therefore making it slightly easier for independent musicians to get their work heard.

In the Toronto area, an organization has developed called Supportindependentmusic.org which follows this trend of independent support. This organization aims to support the city’s local and independent music scene. The project is intended to create a space in which members of all fields of the independent music industry can meet and access resources at a kind of crossroads. According to Taymore Balba, a professor of design at Ryerson University and SIM.org’s campaign leader, the project is “not [to create] a new centre but a necessary shelter to house what already exists.” The ideal designs for this new space show venues, teaching, networking, and research areas all intended to be housed in reoccupied space.

The movement is currently spearheaded by an organization called StudioFeed, which is defined by three main components: technology, events, and media.  That is to say that the organization works with a variety of other groups. These groups include the Stephen Lewis foundation to create media awareness regarding HIV/AIDS in Uganda and the Montreal-based media company Mutech to create and facilitate projects in all three of these categories. Other partners in the project are Atelier3am, which designed the concept space for the headquarters of SIM.org, along with University of the Ontario College of Art and Design, which is developing technologies related to tactile sound.

This is a grassroots movement; it is not championed by wealthy, corporate sponsors, but it is instead supported by the people who will benefit the most from the fruits of this project. SIM.org is a community of volunteers bringing forward their individual experiences and fields of expertise to create a place of acceptance and connection for Toronto’s musicians. As such, for the movement to succeed, it is in the hands of passionate individuals. Getting involved is as simple as joining the internet community at supportindependentmusic.org, attending the organization’s planning meeting held every few weeks, or making an effort to buy the music of local artists. At the end of the day, Balba states, “We feel this message is universal to all demographics. In the end we are trying to find a communal way to deliver this message…[the] critical mass of people interested in music here in Toronto deserves better.”

One Response to “Opinion: A New Space For Artists”
  1. Rob Moses says:

    Nice! Love the movement!

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