Tips for Applying to Canadian Arts Council Grants
Being an artist is often an up-hill climb. Not only does graduating with a Fine Arts degree mean a generally slow and difficult entry into the mainstream work force, but oftentimes early pay is very, very low. And what about those projects that you want to take on—knowing that they could be lucrative—but your day job and time will not allow it? Well luckily Canada has some free money floating around for creatives who mean business.
The Canadian Arts Council has a series of yearly grants that you could be in the running for depending on your previous area of study and current artistic focus. Many professors and other professionals apply for these when they wish to work on books or projects during sabbaticals etc., and these grants can provide temporary freedom from financial concern in order to make room for a complete focus on whatever you wish to accomplish. In a quest to nourish Canada’s writers, artists and filmmakers, the Canadian Arts Council provides grants ranging $3,000 to $25,000, with deadlines typically in April and October. Depending on the thoroughness, validity and exhibited talent in your application, you could have that dream project of yours completely funded.
What do they want in an application?
Style of project—I.E. poetry, oil painting, short film, novel etc.
Summary of the project—Make sure this is well thought out and detailed. The more thought they think you have put into your project the more likely you are to get the grant.
Themes—Get scholarly with this. Incorporate psychological and societal issues. A project that is academically researched can be imperative.
Models for the project—What spawned this project? What are your inspirations and reasons behind choosing the theme and medium?
How you are going to approach the project—Is it is writing? Is it autobiographical? In listical format? If it is a film, what are its structures? If it is painting or collaging for instance, what materials are you using?
Challenges—What are the obstacles you are expecting to come face to face with?
Relevant background—Brag! What have you achieved? Publications? Art gallery shows? Awards? Zines? Don’t leave anything out. Keep in mind that the more experience you have had the more likely you are to get the grant, so prepare accordingly in the year leading up to a grant proposal.
Budget and timeline—How long will this take you and how much do you expect to to live off of and to fund the project with? Consider materials, travel expenses for research, rent and utilities and living expenses. Grants enable you to live for a period of time without work allowing 100% focus on the project.
Subsistence—This is a breakdown of your expenses and their reasons.
Samples—A small portfolio. Include your best.
Specifics differ from grant to grant, so visit www.canadacouncil.ca for the details of your particular field. Happy hunting! Polish that application and take your sweet time; it might pay off…literally.