When the pandemic shut down venues like restaurants and theaters, it also affected artists, who suddenly had nowhere to show their work. And LGBTQ+ artists suffered disproportionately.
To support Canada’s LGBTQ+ art community, Vizzy Hard Seltzer has named “Canada’s Queen,” drag star Queen Priyanka, its community impact director. Together they are launching Vizzy’s first national campaign, the #Vizzybility Project, which will provide grants and mentorship to four Canadian LGBTQ+ artists, part of a $1 million investment in LGBTQ+ support and visibility.
“Queen Priyanka embodies what Vizzy represents: It’s a brand built on celebrating its own difference, the acerola cherry. Queen Priyanka, similarly, is all about embracing her differences and celebrating them,” says Maddie Gillmeister, brand manager for Vizzy in Canada.
For Queen Priyanka, a national LGBTQ+ icon and winner of “Canada’s Drag Race,” the role is more than that of a spokesperson.
“I know first-hand what it feels like to be under-represented and have my art not as easily supported as others,” says Queen Priyanka. “As Vizzy’s community impact director, we’re going to expose the fabulous talents of the LGBTQ+ artist community, and I’m especially looking forward to working personally with the grant recipients to elevate and be proud of their art.”
The #Vizzybility Project will award one artist from each Canadian region with grants valued at $35,000, which includes one-on-one mentorship with Queen Priyanka and national visibility for their work. To apply, artists can visit Vizzy’s website and upload a 90-second video, explaining who they are, what their art is about and how they would use the grant to finish a project. The deadline for applications is June 14.
Vizzy, which launched in Canada in March, is off to a hot start, breaking distribution records and notching impressive sales numbers at retailers across the country, Gillmeister says. Vizzy and Coors Seltzer are the twin pillars of Molson Coors Beverage Company’s new strategy focusing on hard seltzers in Canada, where the company recently announced it was quadrupling its hard seltzer production capacity.
In both Canada and the United States, Vizzy has supported the LGBTQ+ community. Working with Queen Priyanka and the nonprofit Queer Collective, Vizzy will invest over $1 million this year to support and provide visibility to under-represented artists in various ways. In the U.S., its work has included a $1 million donation to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in the country.
“We’re proud to support the LGBTQ+ community from a grassroots perspective,” Gillmeister says. “Together, with Queen Priyanka and the Queer Collective, we can’t wait to bring more visibility to exciting underrepresented artists across Canada.”