How to Navigate the Canada Council for...

How to Navigate the Canada Council for the Arts

by Laura Sciarpelletti
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

It is difficult not to find a single artist or professor at any given university who has not at least applied for a Canada Council for the Arts grant. Known to be extremely supportive of the Canadian artists, the government is its main affiliate. Created to promote the study of art and support the steady production of works in the arts, the council funds Canadian artists and organizations. After university, it is common for students to be worried about debt and funding their projects. Taking on a substantial project like a novel, or an exhibition, or a film can require not only a lot of money for equipment and research, but a great deal of time. Holding an unrelated job can severely get in the way of the growth and quality of a project. And that is where the Canada Council for the Arts can come in.

Your first step is to create an account and register your profile for validation; this could be a personal profile or a company profile—whether it is visual arts or writing, you will be assessed based on your experience, the strength of your application and project, and your credentials. Once you have gone through the registration steps your profile will be reviewed by Canada Council staff and validated. After this process, you can apply to different grant components.

Every year the council receives around 16,000 grant requests; these are reviewed by panels of artists. In the past, the council has awarded nearly 5,000 grants to organizations and artists that totalled in more than $150 million. While this is a great deal of money, the sheer volume of applications means that your application needs to stand out.

Know the assessment criteria

Visit the website and make sure you follow the guidelines directly. Know what the assessors are looking for in your particular field and how much attention to focus on each point like budget estimates, time estimates and travel needs.

Research and be prepared

Be sure to include thorough facts to demonstrate the intended impact of your proposed project. It is extremely important to edit multiple times for grammatical and spelling errors. Having a second pair of eyes to check over it always helps. Provide detailed background information on your field of practice and past work. Be straight to the point and express that your project is well planned and that it can be carried our smoothly. You are representing Canadian artists when you win a grant, and so the council chooses these winners with a lot of serious consideration.


Be careful not to claim bad health, financial need or other personal issues as reasons for requesting Canada Council financial support. The idea is to focus on the positive impact that your project will provide to the public. You are not pitching yourself, but rather the talents careful creative efforts that can spawn a project that will touch people.

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