Project Grant Program – Individuals and Collectives: Info Session Video

Graphic for the Project Grant Program Info Session

Project Grant Program – Individuals and Collectives: Info Session Video

Applying to the Project Grant Program for Individuals and Collectives? You can find more information and advice in this online and on-demand information session.

This grant program is intended to provide one-time project funding to individual artists and artist collectives in Calgary (known as Mohkinsstsis in Blackfoot) working in any artistic discipline who pursue a professional practice.

The purpose of this session is to provide more context about the Project Grant Program for Individuals and Collectives, and the specific goals and criteria. It will also provide some approaches, examples and questions that might be helpful to consider when determining if you will apply and how best to do so.

Be sure to read the full program guidelines before you apply. The deadline is 4:30pm MT on May 1, 2024.

Taylor Poitras: Welcome everyone to the information session for the Calgary Arts Development 2024 Project Grant Program for individual artists and artists collectives. The purpose of this session is to share about the Project Grant Program in a more auditory and visual way with ASL for folks who prefer to take in information that way.  

And it will also include some added context, a couple program updates, and a few examples and approaches that might be helpful when considering if and how best to apply to this program. I’ll also demonstrate how to login to the CADA online grant platform and briefly walk you through the application.  

That said, a lot of what I will be sharing today is also in the program guidelines on our website, as well as the FAQ. So, our investment program FAQ, all of that is linked online. So, whether you watch this whole session or not, please make sure to review the guidelines and FAQ and reach out if you have any questions or need clarity before you apply.  

I’ll do another intro again. My name is Taylor Poitras. I use she/her pronouns, and I’m currently the Specialist for Individual and Collective programs at Calgary Arts Development. I’m also the primary contact for this specific program. And while I will probably have some support from the rest of the Community Investment team, I can be the main contact, so you’re welcome to reach out to me directly if you have questions or need help applying, and I can always triage you to other folks if needed.  

Van Chu, our Grants Coordinator, is also available to help with any general or technical support questions regarding the online grant platform, or any of our other grant programs. Van monitors our general email address, which is a great go-to if you aren’t sure who to contact.  

Van is also responsible for things like administering grant payments and investment agreements and T4As come tax time, so she connects a lot with applicants and grantees and is a good person to have added to your email list, so you don’t miss any emails from them.   

All right so before we jump into learning about the Project Grant Program, it’s important to acknowledge that systems like granting and public funding are usually designed in a one-size-fits-all way, meaning that they’re designed for the dominant culture, and are rooted in colonial, Western European academic systems, which creates barriers to access for many artists in our communities who are seeking and deserving of support. So one really obvious example of this at CADA is that we currently share our programs and accept applications primarily in an online written format in English, and that alone creates many technological, linguistic, communication and cultural barriers, just to name a few.  

As an organization, we acknowledge that our actions — both conscious and unconscious, past and present — have benefited some communities, while limiting opportunities and outcomes for others, including but not limited to Indigenous communities, Black communities, persons of colour, persons with disabilities, Deaf communities, as well as Two Spirit, LGBTQIA+ and gender diverse individuals.  

As a public funder, we have a responsibility to Calgarians to ensure equitable access to public funding. So CADA is committed to the process of addressing and working to eliminate institutional inequities and barriers in our programs, policies and practices by centring the creativity and leadership of those communities most impacted by structural inequities.   

While we have been continuing to expand and improve and experiment with our programs, processes, and policies around equity and accessibility, it is certainly an ongoing learning and unlearning journey and commitment. We aim to continue building relationships and learning from our communities about the specific challenges that exist in granting and working to create more equitable systems for everyone.   

We have also identified equity priority groups and adopted a specific equity measure that we apply to some of our programs, including this one, which I’ll speak more about later on.  

So, how does CADA’s Commitment to Equity translate or apply to you as artists or potential applicants with our programs?  When applying to public grant programs like this one, we ask artists to consider concepts like ‘nothing about us without us’. That’s a concept and a value that has been around for a very long time now, but I believe it really grew in the 1990s from Disability rights activists. In this context, it’s the idea that if you’re creating work about or for a specific community, that community needs to be actively engaged, ideally from the beginning, and there needs to be a thoughtful, intentional, and reciprocal relationship, with clear permission, benefit, and value for those direct communities.  

We really value and honor lived experience and the intersectional identities and unique perspectives of different people and communities. So, when you’re applying to grant programs, it can be really helpful to pause and ask yourself, Why this? Why now? And why me? Be mindful about the projects that you choose to undertake and apply with and how you go about undertaking them and engaging with others.  

Connected to this concept is also something that probably doesn’t need to be mentioned, but I’ll mention it anyway. There are things that CADA won’t tolerate, such as hate speech, cultural appropriation, or active exclusionary behaviour. So please be aware that any applications that contain that will not be supported.  

When it comes to evaluating applications, this is something that we also ask our peer committees to consider. Are applicants being thoughtful and considerate of the work that they make, who they make it with and for, how they make it and why? I’ll expand on all of that a little bit more when we actually talk about the program considerations for this grant, but I just wanted to introduce this as a concept from the start.  

In recognition of some of the barriers that I previously mentioned, we’ll work one-on-one with applicants to develop accommodations or approaches that better suit their specific abilities and situations.  

Some examples of accommodation are: the translation of written materials into other languages, including ASL; transcription of verbal meetings or audio video recordings into a written document; language interpretation for phone video or in person meetings; video or audio applications — so this is something that is available that a lot of folks actually maybe aren’t aware of or don’t take us up on — but this means that if you would like or prefer to answer application questions verbally, you can submit an audio or video recording of yourself, or staff can help make that recording and record your responses over a platform like Zoom. You can get a friend to help you with that as well if you’d rather write it and have someone else read it, there’s lots of ways to kind of get around this barrier of writing online in English. We also have grant writing assistance, which I’m going to touch more on in the next slide.  

In addition to all of this, staff like myself will do our best to provide support or share feedback with you over the phone, or email, in person when possible, or through audio video platforms like Zoom or Teams. Just remember to reach out to us early.  We can only really guarantee feedback on your draft application up to 10 business days before a program deadline. And that could actually vary, depending on the volume of requests that we receive, so reach out early.  

To help with managing that volume, as I mentioned, I’m also hosting four virtual open office Q+A sessions throughout the month of April. There will be one 90-minute open office period online every week leading right up until the deadline. These virtual open offices are offered on different days of the week and at different times of the day just to help accommodate different schedules. Please take advantage of these if questions arise throughout the process of applying.  

In these 90-minute sessions, I’ll basically be hanging out in a Zoom room, answering questions about the Project Grant, and providing artists with support. I piloted these open office sessions last year, and they were quite well received. Some artists hung out the entire time and listened to other people’s questions, just simply to learn, and some folks popped in and out just to ask their very specific question and then head out. The registration links for those are on the website in the same place that you registered for this info session. If you can’t find it, just email and I’ll send you the direct links.   

Alright, so, Application Assistance. As staff we recognize that our program staff may not always have the necessary skills, relationships, or capacity to fully support all applicant needs, especially applicants who may identify as d/Deaf or hard of hearing, or living with a cognitive, developmental, or physical disability, applicants living with mental illness or facing a language, geographic, or cultural barrier.  

If you are an applicant that experiences these, or any other barriers that make it difficult to fairly access our programs, you may wish to seek out individualized, one-to-one assistance from somebody else outside of CADA staff, to help with the application process. So if this is something that you need, CADA may be able to directly pay that other person (that external support person) for the hours that they spend assisting you with your application.   

We also acknowledge that there may be additional barriers, not in this list — things like technological barriers related to having limited internet or computer access, for example. So, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions, or if you have different types of barriers and challenges that you’re experiencing. 

Who can you get assistance from? Well, we might be able to offer some recommendations for professional service providers, but it’s ultimately up to you. It’s your responsibility to select the support person or the service that you wish to use. We want you to have trust and comfort with whoever it is that you choose to work with and have supporting you. Some folks will get support from artistic peers, so somebody else in the community who maybe has a lot of experience with grant writing or within your same discipline or doing a similar type of project. So, it could be a peer, it could also be a friend or a family member, or it could be a professional service provider, so if you need like a professional translator. 

What services can they assist you with? Well, the list is probably longer than this, but some examples would be with language translation, general transcription or editing, application development, so maybe assisting with framing your ideas and concepts and organizing your support material.  

And really this type of assistance can be made available at any part of the application process. So whether that’s, at the point of you reviewing the guidelines online and deciding if you actually want to apply or not; the actual submission, like preparing and submitting your grant application; or you might need support when you get the results. So, say you’ve been successfully funded, and you need some support with reading over and understanding the notification email, or your investment agreement, or completing a direct deposit form. And then lastly, of course, if you were funded and you did your project, we could also offer Application Assistance when it comes to preparing and submitting a final report.  

What is the maximum amount CADA will contribute? Depending on the type of service or assistance that you’re requesting and the program that you’re applying to, CADA has outlined a schedule of maximum amounts that we’re able to provide towards this Application Assistance. Those are outlined in the policy online. That policy is being redeveloped. I don’t know quite when it will be launched but keep your eyes out for changes in that, but I’d always recommend looking at whatever the most recent policy is.  

To be able to request this, or get approved for it, so to speak, all you have to do is call or email us (one of the program staff) before you apply, and just let us know that you’re interested in requesting approval for this paid Application Assistance. You don’t need to disclose any specifics or details about the barriers that you experience unless you wish to. For example, you don’t have to share about your diagnosis or any specifics that are private. All we really need to know is that you are experiencing an accessibility-related barrier and you’re interested in accessing this kind of support.  

This is not available for folks or artists who simply hire or work with grant writers for professional reasons or time saving reasons. It does really have to be currently around accessibility-related reasons.  

Staff will chat with you briefly just to ensure that you’re eligible for the program that you want to apply to. We want to make sure you’re not wasting your time. So first, we’ll make sure that you’re eligible for the program, and then we’ll make a note on your file to ensure that you don’t have to keep requesting or getting approved for Application Assistance, it’ll just be a one-time thing and any program you apply to will be able to see that you’ve already had that conversation. 

The person who helps you, so after you’ve received support and put in your application for example, that person would then send an invoice to CADA, just to the general grants email. They’ll want to outline the number of hours that they assisted you, as well as their contact information, the program name, and your name, and we will pay them directly. So we don’t pay you, we pay the support person directly via direct deposit.  

I wanted to make a note here as well that all of these supports, whether they’re from CADA staff or from someone external, they’re not mutually exclusive. In fact, it can be really helpful for you and your support person to connect with a program staff person like myself, to ask questions and ensure that you both really understand the program goals, requirements, criteria and process to apply. Reach out early if you have any questions. And yeah, I think that’s it.   

So, the Project Grant. We’ll finally actually talk about the program. This program is intended to provide one time project funding for a specific project, activity, or initiative. It’s specifically intended to support individual artists and artist collectives.  

While projects do not have to take place in Calgary, applicants must be Calgary-based. We also accept applications from Treaty 7 Nation members living within Treaty 7, which is Southern Alberta if they can demonstrate a clear connection to Mohkinsstsis or Calgary. If you’re not Calgary-based, or maybe, for example, temporarily away for school or working on another project, just contact us first to discuss before applying. We have a more fulsome description of what it means to be Calgary-based in our FAQ as well, but if you’re in doubt, just reach out ahead of applying and we can make sure that you’re eligible.   

We acknowledge that there are many artists who are new or returning to the city of Calgary and may not be familiar with grant programs or the local arts community. They may still be developing relationships and connections and that is okay. If you’re a newcomer, immigrant, refugee or a re-emerging Calgary artist and you have questions or concerns about eligibility or navigating this process, just know that our staff are available to help guide and support you, and it’s also helpful to know that you do not need to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to receive a CADA grant, but you do need to be able to report on the grant to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency).   

Eligible applicants must pursue a professional practice, but we welcome applications from artists at any stage of career or practice. So, we don’t have standard definitions for “emerging”, “mid-career”, or “established” artists. Those definitions can vary greatly based on discipline, type of practice, and individual experience. I will share a definition for individual in a moment.   

We welcome applications from those working in all artistic disciplines and their various cultural forms, including, but not limited to: circus arts, craft arts, community and social practice, curation, dance, d/Deaf arts, digital arts, disability arts, film, Indigenous arts, literature, media, multidisciplinary practices, music and sound, performance, theatre, and visual art. And that’s not an exhaustive list, so if you’re unsure about if your practice fits in, please reach out.   

I’ll quickly go over the definitions for who is eligible.  

The first one being an individual artist. We consider a professional artist to be an artist who is actively pursuing a career in the arts and who has invested in the development of their artistic skills, voice, and goals. Artists may have formal or informal training. Artists have shared or are actively striving to share their work publicly and be compensated for their work. Artists have a relationship with their artistic communities and peers. And they do not necessarily need to be working professionally in the arts full-time. I would say the vast majority of artists I know have other jobs, but just to give you a bit of an idea of what we mean when we say an individual artist.  

What we wouldn’t fund would be like an amateur or hobby artist, somebody who’s doing it not as a profession or in a professional pursuit. If you’re making work in your basement, never to show anyone, that’s probably not something that we’d be able to support with our taxpayer dollars.   

Artist collectives. We consider an artist collective to be two or more individual artists who have a shared artistic practice. That shared practice is distinct from their own individual practices. For example, a band could be considered a collective or a visual art duo or a theatre collective, or co-writers. Basically, two or more folks that are working together, either in an ongoing basis (so making work regularly together), or it could be on an ad-hoc basis, so coming together around a particular project.  

Collectives. if you’re applying as a collective, you need to define your collective practice, vision and goals and processes and really make sure to demonstrate that all collective members have equal and shared ownership and accountability for the success and completion of the project. A majority of the collective members must be Calgary-based artists, so that means at least 50 percent or more.  

The difference between that and a collaboration — so you could be an individual artist applying for a project and you plan on collaborating with folks and hiring folks to join your project, you’re still the primary person who has full ownership and accountability and holds the vision for that project, but you can still collaborate and pay folks and bring them on board, but you might change your mind about who you’re hiring to collaborate with you or to do certain tasks, whereas a collective has that shared practice, and those collective members aren’t really changing. They co-own and make the decisions for the project together.  

In recent years, we’ve also added the following two eligible types of applicants to this program as well. The first is Collaborations with Artists. At the discretion of CADA staff, we will consider applications from individuals working in the arts and culture sector who don’t necessarily meet the definition of an individual artist themselves, so long as they can demonstrate that artists are core collaborators or participants in the planning, development and implementation of the project, and the project and budget provide financial and non-financial support to artists, and that they have a demonstrated history of working with artists and the art sector. I can give examples of that, but I maybe I’ll hold off. But if you have questions about that, please reach out.   

Cultural Workers is the other eligible type of applicant. This means we will consider applications from cultural workers for their own professional development and learning or for independent projects where they’re the lead artist for the creative process. So, the project should be focused on their own artistic practice, vision, and goals.  

And what do we mean when we say cultural worker? For CADA, for the purposes of our programs, a cultural worker refers to an individual who makes their living in the arts and culture sector, and they contribute to the success of an artist or an organization’s work in a creative or technical capacity, but they’re not necessarily usually the ones leading the vision for the work that’s being created. So that might include production team members like a costume designer or cutter, sound designer, sound operator, set designer, lighting designer, those types of production roles that definitely contribute to the work but aren’t necessarily leading the vision. They get hired by other artists or by organizations to assist with that project. But we will consider applications from them if they’re leading their own project or developing their own skills and learning to better support their practices. 

A quick note: This program is not open to applications from arts administrators. You can be an arts administrator on the side, but we’re not funding projects directly tied to your arts administrator role. We cannot fund agents or managers, production companies, for-profit corporations or businesses, or registered not-for-profit organizations. We have other programs available for non-profit arts organizations. If you have questions about those, you’re welcome to reach out as well.   

Applicants may apply to this program for one project, or one distinct phase of a project. Try to ensure that you’re really clear about what phase of the work you are applying for, especially for a project that is maybe larger or longer term and might have multiple phases or stages. If you have questions about how to phase projects or know, what works, just reach out. Basically, any project should have a clear start date, end date, a specific set of activities, processes, and goals.  

Total funding available for this program is $2.5 million, which is an increase of $500,000 compared to last year. Yay! Individual artists may apply for up to $20,000, and artist collectives may apply for up to $25,000 towards their projects. These maximum request amounts were also increased by $5,000 this year. So last year it was $15,000 and $20,000 and this year it’s $20,000 and $25,000. These maximum request amounts were increased in recognition of inflation and higher costs year-over-year, and our desire to invest in artists with more meaningful grant amounts.  

Not all projects will require the maximum request amount, and I’ll talk about the best way to approach developing a project budget later on. That said, if everyone who applied to this program did request the maximum amounts, we would be able to fund a minimum of 100 to 125 applications. That number is very likely to be higher given that request amounts from folks will vary.   

While we have no idea how many applications we will receive this year. I can say the volume has been increasing steadily over the past few years, even doubling in certain years. So, without having a crystal ball, it’s a little bit difficult to say, but my best guess would be that it will be at least 500 applications that we receive this year. 

We got just over 500, 509, eligible applications last year, requesting just over $7 million, and we were able to support 163 projects to a total of $2.3 million. So that was about a 32 percent success rate. The original pool that we had available was $2 million, but we did receive some supplementary funding from Calgary Arts Foundation, so that was why it was increased. But just to give you a little bit of context for success rates, they can vary quite a bit at CADA depending on the program and the year. But I would say around 25 to 35% is a good average for this program.   

Eligibility. This is just general eligibility. It’s a little bit of a tedious slide, so I apologize, but I’ll just try to explain things as clearly as I can. Eligibility does vary from program to program, so always read the guidelines to make sure. Some important rules I think to highlight for this program are listed here. 

The first being that applicants may submit only one application per program deadline. So that means if you’re an individual artist, you can be involved in more than one application, either as a participant in someone else’s application or as a member of an artist collective, but if you’re involved in more than maybe two or three, I would say reach out just to ensure that you’re eligible and, you know, keeping in mind that you are technically competing with yourself if you’re part of many applications.  

But all that to say an individual artist can apply to the program for an individual project, and you could also be a part of a collective who’s applying for a separate project. Just make sure to apply from the correct grant account. So, you have to have a separate account for your individual practice and a separate distinct account for your collective. They use different email addresses in the grant platform so that they’re unique.  

The second one: a project may only be submitted by one applicant per program deadline. So, if a project is being undertaken by a group of individuals, or say, in partnership with an organization, only one application can be submitted for that project. Multiple members cannot submit to this grant for the same project to the same program deadline.  

Third: CADA cannot fund the same project, or phase of project, more than once regardless of calendar year. So please ensure that you’re planning larger projects ahead of time and clearly outlining the phase of work that you’re applying for.  As long as you have applied for distinct phases of a project, you may apply for a future CADA grant to support the next phase of the work.  

For example, say you have a really expensive, long-term film project. Film is very expensive. You might apply this year to the Project Grant for all the pre-production and production elements. And then next year you could apply for the post-production elements or maybe, you know, touring to festivals and things like that. So, you can break it up into phases and as long as you’ve done that, you can get more than one CADA grant. But if you say, applied to do an exhibition this year and you got the funding for it, and then you were like “crap, it’s costing way more than I thought and it’s taking me longer,” you couldn’t apply for those same activities and expenses again. Hopefully that’s clear. 

Applicants must be in good standing in order to apply. So primarily that means that you can’t have any late, overdue final reports for a previous grant that you haven’t received an extension for. If you do need an extension, reach out, discuss it, if you get approved, great. Otherwise, if you have an overdue report, and we haven’t heard from you, we don’t know if you’re able to finish it or when you might be submitting your report, then we wouldn’t accept a new application for you for another project.  

As of January (this one’s important, it’s new). As of January 2024, this year, you may not have more than two open grants with Calgary Arts Development. This includes grants for which a deadline extension has been approved. So, if you have an open active grant that you haven’t finished the project and you haven’t done your final report, if you have two or more, you won’t be able to apply for extra funding.  

The shift to limiting applicants to holding two open grants was in response to a number of challenges that have either arisen or been exacerbated over the past couple years. Adjusting this limit helps to ensure that we can continue to address that really large increase in volume, especially to our individual and collective programs, and it helps to increase the diversity of applicants being awarded funding and invest money to the widest possible community. It also helps to encourage applicants to complete their projects and final reports in a timely manner before taking on the management and responsibility of additional projects, activities, and public funds.  

This I should clarify too, there’s a full Open Grant Policy that you can read all the details about, but just to clarify, we’re talking about the Community Investment Programs. This is separate from Public Art Programs, so there’s no limit between the two, it’s just for the Project Grant, Microgrant, and other CI programs that we run. You can always reach out if you’re like, where am I at? What can I apply for?  

Another point here, you may receive more than one CADA grant in a year if they’re from different programs, for different projects. For example, an applicant might receive both a Microgrant and a Project Grant from CADA in the same year, so long as they’re for different projects and they have not already been funded by CADA through another grant program, and so long as it meets the Open Grant Policy that I just discussed a moment ago.  

And lastly, you may reapply for the same project if a previous application was unsuccessful, so long as it still meets the program eligibility, you can reapply.   

This is an overview of the program timeline this year. The program was officially announced on January 29, along with all of our 2024 programs. The full program guidelines were published on the website on March 4, and applications opened in the online grant platform on March 20.   

Applications are being accepted up until the application deadline of May 1, 2024, by 4:30pm MST. Take note of the time. CADA so far, since I joined seven years ago, has always had 4:30pm deadlines. Some funders have midnight deadlines. Our reason for doing 4:30 is so that we’re actually working and in the office and available for any last-minute questions or issues. So just make sure you’re putting that in your calendar: It’s 4:30pm MST.  

We are expecting many applications to the program. Late applications will not be accepted. If you have something come up, please review the Deadline Extension Policy to make sure that you are eligible for an extension. The server does get really busy on the day of a deadline, so try to submit early and try not to wait until the very last minute or even the last day if you can help it. It’s always safer to submit in advance of the deadline in case you have a technical issue, or something comes up like you get sick or have to deal with an emergency. I am certainly a procrastinator and do things last minute, but if you can do your best, it will just cause you less stress. So maybe pretend the deadline is earlier if you’re able to.  

There’s no ‘auto-save’ feature in the grant portal, so please save your work often just to help prevent losing any information. Many artists I know will write their written responses, or work on their application outside of the portal as well, and then copy-paste it in once they’re ready.   

All applications to the program will be peer assessed between May and August, so over a period of about four months. That assessment period allows staff time to review applications for completeness before assigning them over to the committees and it gives ample time for the assessors to read through the applications, score them online and meet multiple times with their committees in order to make final recommendations. I’ll share a little bit more about peer assessment in a few slides.   

Notifications of the grant results will be sent over email by the end of August, letting applicants know if they were successful or not, and confirming grant amounts.  I always recommend adding (that email address) to your email contacts, as well as my own, just to ensure that any emails from us aren’t ending up in your junk or your spam folder by mistake. That said, if you don’t see an email by the last day of August or first day of September, just reach out.  

Successful applicants will also receive an investment agreement outlining the terms of the grant, which they’ll need to review, sign, and return. As we receive investment agreements, funds are then released via direct deposit. The processing time for payments can take a few weeks, so most grant payments will be occurring throughout the month of September.   

And that timeline is really important to consider if your project is fully reliant on receiving this grant. If cash flow is a concern for you, please consider applying for something that occurs after September of this year, because we can’t guarantee that you’ll get the grant or that the funds will be distributed any earlier than September.   

Also, please keep in mind that we are unable to fund fully retroactive projects, which basically means that your project can already be underway before you submit on May 1, or before you receive the grant results in late August, but you cannot apply for a project that will be fully complete before the May 1 deadline, so just keep that in mind when you’re thinking about timelines. Projects that we do fund through the program must be complete by the end of next year, December 31, 2025.  

Successful grantees will be required to complete a brief final report just to share updates on how their project went, what they learned, and how it maybe benefited their practice or their communities. Final reports will also include a place to share an updated budget with actuals, so it’s important to keep track of receipts and where the grant money is spent. Final reports are due 60 days after your project ends.   

If any significant changes to this program timeline have to occur, you’ll be notified as soon as possible. The only thing I can imagine is if we get a thousand applications this year, we may need to give ourselves a bit more time, but we’ll reach out if anything changes.  

What can you apply for? As mentioned, applicants may apply to this program for one project or one phase of a larger project. A project may include any of the following activities, and these activities can take place online or in person, locally, nationally, or internationally.   

For example, research. You could apply with a research project, to inform your artwork, your processes, your approaches, etc. It could be for creation or production of work, so that could be the creation and development of new work, adaptations of previous work, experimentation, things like that. You could apply for professional development and learning, so maybe participating in a course, class, workshop, residency, training, mentorship, apprenticeship, internship (all the ships!) It could be a networking or industry event or a conference.   

You could apply for presenting or sharing work with the public, so that might be sharing, distributing, or selling your work through exhibitions, installations, events, presentations, performances, touring, releases, publishing, etc. 

And lastly, you could also apply for marketing and promotion, so activities that are related to publicity and outreach, branding, promotion, or marketing, whether it be about your work or your overall practice. It could also include networking and industry events.  

If you have questions about other potential project activities, please contact us to chat before applying. There’s also a list of activities that we will not fund through the program, and that’s in the guidelines, so please read through those as well.  

And here I also wanted to make a note about program streams. In the past years of this Project Grant, we have asked applicants to apply to one of two program streams: they were ‘Create and Develop’ and ‘Program and Present’. And this year we’ve gotten rid of those two streams and that method of grouping applications together.  

You will instead be asked to indicate a ‘primary project focus area’. So that just means you’ll select a primary focus area that best describes the core activities or goal of the project that you’re applying for. The focus area choices are actually these five categories on the slide. You can also pick a secondary project focus area if needed. So, the first one’s mandatory and the second one’s optional.   

For example, if you’re applying to create a new body of work and exhibit it at a gallery, all within one grant application, then you could select ‘creation and production of work’ as your primary focus area, and then ‘presenting or sharing work with the public’ as your secondary focus area.  

Another example: if your project was solely just to market and promote a new album that you released and that you produced, then perhaps you only select ‘marketing and promotion’ as your primary focus area and you don’t need a second one.  

Knowing these focus areas for your project will help staff to organize more similar applications together and assign them and organize them with the committees that way. So, you don’t have to make a choice around stream, you can just pick what are the primary focuses, which hopefully eases the stress of having to decide which stream to apply to.   

All right. Eligible expenses: Funds from this program may go towards almost any expense that’s directly related to your project. There’s a full list (quite a long list) of eligible expenses in the program guidelines that are all relatively straightforward, but I am going to highlight a couple specific things here.  

The first is a reminder that we want to see artists paid for their work, which includes yourself. Depending on your project, it might also include compensating consultants, participants, knowledge keepers, mentors, collaborators, and more. Things like artist fees, professional fees, per diems, honorariums and subsistence are all eligible expenses through this program. So, when it comes to paying yourself or paying others through a grant, you may want to frame those things differently and the amounts might vary.  

Unlike some funders, we don’t have a maximum set cap on those expenses since we believe it can vary quite greatly depending on the project, your own circumstances, the type of work that’s being done, the scope, the location, the length of time, etc. So, if you have questions about artist fees or subsistence or per diems or honorariums, please feel free to read the FAQs. It’s super helpful if you look at those. We define every term within the glossary and we also have a write up about how best to frame or calculate artist fees versus subsistence requests and a way to negotiate when to ask for either.  

You can also lean on other artists in the community and do your research to ensure that you’re paying people equitably, and that rates and amounts are mutually agreed upon and well supported. And honestly, I would say from experience the past few years if you have room in your budget and you can pay above the minimum standard fee schedule or rate, it is a minimum recommended amount, so please feel free to consider going higher if you have the space and ability to do that in your project budget.  

The second piece I would like to highlight is that in past years, we’ve always had a cap on how much of your CADA grant could go towards the purchase of equipment, which is, you know, buying equipment is considered a ‘capital expense’ or an ‘asset’ because you own it, and it lives or lasts well beyond the length of just the project, and it depreciates over time.  

In past years, we have steadily increased the amount that you can use of the grant on equipment purchases. I think it got up to $2,500 last year. However, this year, we’re doing a bit of an experiment, and we’ve made the decision to remove the cap altogether. So, there’s no limit, technically, on how much you can request for purchasing equipment. That said, there are some important asterisks that I want to emphasize.  

First off, removing that cap is an experiment this year, so it could change in the future, depending on how this goes and the feedback that we get from artists and assessors, but what I would say with great emphasis is that this does not mean that you can or should apply for $20k in equipment purchases. I’d say you’re very unlikely to be successful in a grant if the majority of the grant is equipping yourself with expensive equipment. As it states in the guidelines, any equipment that you do request must be specific and directly related to the completion and success of the project, so not just your overall practice, but directly related to the project.  

This means that similarly to any expense in your budget, you’ll want to make a clear case for how the equipment is directly related, necessary, or relevant to the success of the project. There will clearly be long term benefits to owning equipment, which we also love, in terms of, you know, supporting your overall practice and supporting future projects and any kind of ongoing learning and development that comes when you own a piece of equipment.  

Oh, but just be sure to also speak, so regardless of the long-term, overall impact, just be sure to speak to how this specific equipment will impact the project that you’re proposing. For example, will the equipment improve the quality of the work that you’re creating for this project? Will it improve the efficiency or reduce the time it takes you to undertake the work?  Does it help you to meet a minimum standard within your discipline or industry in order to achieve a specific goal? Those are just a few examples.  

If it’s relevant, you might also speak to the rationale for purchasing rather than renting that equipment. Looking at, you know, the scope and length of your project and the goals that you have, or looking at the availability or unavailability of rentals, and looking at the overall cost of what it is to rent versus purchase. That could be a good thing to bring in just to make the case for why purchasing might be a better deal than renting for this project. 

Please keep in mind, too, that it might also be important to consider if you have the knowledge and experience to be purchasing a specific piece of equipment at this time. What is your level of readiness and commitment to owning that equipment? Have you ever used it before? How do you know it’s the correct equipment or that it will meet your project needs?  

For example, if you’re brand new to filmmaking and you’re attempting to include the purchase of an expensive camera in your project budget, assessors might have questions like have you ever operated this camera before? Have you done the research around this camera? Is this available for rent during the shoot days? And can you rent it first in order to build up your knowledge and skills around that piece of equipment before you choose to own it? So just even thinking about readiness and where you’re at in your practice and familiarity with the equipment you’re requesting. 

The final piece I wanted to highlight here is that while course fees are eligible, this refers to individual courses or continuing educational courses that don’t count towards a credit, diploma or degree granting program. That just means we can’t pay for your diploma or degree, so if you’re taking courses in pursuit of that, or you’re making artwork related to that, we can’t cover the costs associated with those projects. If you have any questions about expenses, please reach out.  

All right, we’re maybe one slide away from a break.  

This one is all about peer assessment. As I mentioned, applications will be evaluated by committees made up of individual artists and art workers with experience and knowledge from a variety of disciplines and practices, all of whom actively participate in, experience, and advocate for the work of the arts community.  

Assessment committees are chosen to represent the broad diversity of Calgary and its artistic communities. So that includes things like artistic discipline, gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, nation, physical and neurological identities. The membership of the peer committees will be chosen through public nominations and staff expertise, so anyone can ask to participate on a CADA assessment committee. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in assessing any of our programs, whether they be the community investment grants or the public art programs, there are nomination forms on the website, or you can simply send us an email and we’ll get an idea of what your practice is, and your experience is, and we’ll add you to our pool.  

Peer assessment committees help ensure that we’re fairly and responsibly distributing public dollars to artists on behalf of the citizens of Calgary. The committees for our programs have the same guidelines and program considerations as you do. There is no hidden criteria. I just like to say that for folks.   

This program will have four to six member committees and the volume of applications that we receive will help determine the number and size of committees that we need to assess the full program.  

Assessors are kept confidential and anonymous until next year when a full list of assessors will be posted as part of our annual accountability report. The report from last year is already out, so you can see who assessed last year.   

Assessors are required to declare Conflicts of Interest according to the policy that we have, which means that they won’t evaluate their own application if they applied, or any other application that they may have a real or perceived conflict of interest with. Assessors are also held to our Confidentiality Agreement, Commitment to Equity, and our Group Agreements.   

We pay assessors an honorarium to serve on any of our committees. This honorarium has been increased from past years and is outlined in the Terms of Reference for the program. Those are linked within the program guidelines. They change for each program. So just make sure to read the Terms of Reference if you want to better understand the responsibilities and expectations that assessors are asked to commit to.   

Alright, so next slide, so let’s jump back in. 

How to apply? 

We accept applications to this program through our online grant platform, which is called Smart Simple. There are a few areas of the new website (our new website just launched on Friday), there’s a few areas that link to the grant platform and I’ll actually maybe pause sharing my screen and demonstrate. This is the part where I’ll actually show you where to login and what the application looks like. But just to give an overview, you would apply online through the platform and you would complete or update your profile, which has things like your resume, artist practice and contact info, and then you’d also complete the application form, which has, you know, the actual application questions, a budget, timeline and support material.  

So, I’m going to stop sharing just so I can swap. I’ll share my browser so I can walk you all through it.   

(demoing platform online in the video)  

Can you all see the website?  Yeah, I’ll assume yes, alright. 

Grant investment programs. I mean, this is the homepage, I’ll go to the homepage. This is what our new website looks like. The grant investments you can get to from a couple different places. This is one, so you could go here. There’s ‘overview’ ‘grant programs’, ‘grant announcements’, if you clicked there, ‘how to apply’ is right here, so, you could click that button. Or if you’re working on the left-hand side, there’s a button here that says, ‘Apply for grants, artist calls and funding’ so, you could click that, and it also has the link for ‘how to apply’. So when you click ‘how to apply’, you’ll see that it talks about the platform and there is an area to ‘Login’. So this is how you would access it right now. You can also find it within all of the program guidelines, so if you were to go to our ‘grant programs’ and you were to find the ones for ‘artists and collectives’, and the Project Grant. So, say you’re actually reading the full guidelines here, there’s lots of links for how to apply right within here, so you can click it here as well. All of these things will take you to the grant platform. So, I’ve clicked that, and it looks like this.  

If you are new to the system, you’ll want to register an account here. If you have logged in before, you can do so here. If you forget your password at any point, you can always click this. So, I’m going to log in with just a test account, just to demonstrate.  

Once you’ve logged in, this is what the homepage looks like for you. It will look slightly different if you are a collective. Collectives will have ‘my profile’ and they’ll also have something that says ‘my organizational profile’ – that just means your collective profile. We couldn’t change the language because we also fund organizations, but you’d want to update both if you’re a collective. But this is an individual account so all we see is just ‘my profile’.  

If you click this, it has general information that you need to fill out. The red asterisk means mandatory, or required fields. The rest is optional. You can include your pronouns, title, first and last name, how to pronounce your name, email, phone number. Some of this will be submitted when you actually create an account, but if there’s anything that wasn’t, you can fill it out. 

Years of practice is how many years you would consider yourself practicing in a serious or full time or professional way. 

You select the disciplines that you’ve actively been working in over the past 12 months. You can select multiple or just one. It’s totally up to you. There’s a long list. This is just the ones that I’ve selected for this fake account.  

There’s a question here if you’re interested in being considered as an assessor. So sometimes we might go through to see who said yes if we’re seeking additional folks and we’ll reach out and invite you. But the best way to show interest is to fill out that form I was mentioning or send us an email.   

The two main parts of your profile are the resume (your artist resume) and your artistic practice statement. So this is an uploaded field and this is a written one. I’m going to talk about these in more depth later on in the presentation, but basically you would enter in information for both of those. There’s options to include links to social media as well.  

And then there would be a button to ‘save’ or ‘submit my profile’. You can click here to make edits at any time or update it, but this is what you would do first, is your profile.  

Then you can go back to the home page, and then under here in ‘open opportunities’ is where you’ll find the actual grant programs that are available. There’s a lot of awards and things that are showing up here because it’s a test account, but you might only see one or two. The one that we’re looking at is the ‘Project Grant for Individuals and Collectives’. There’s a brief description, the deadline, and you can view the guidelines as a PDF here if you click it, but really, you’ll just want to hit ‘Apply’. And to begin your application, you click here. It just says make sure you’re saving.   

So ‘begin application’, that opens up the actual application form. Please read all these information text boxes. They have lots of great info and make it really easy for you to navigate, so read those. As you scroll down, you’ll see there’s four tabs: there’s ‘contact info’, ‘voluntary self-identification’, ‘project overview’, and ‘planning’. So, these are the four tabs that you see as an, as an applicant. 

Again, read the instructions. This basically is letting you know that all the information below is actually going to be ported over from your profile. So, the profile I just showed you where you’re entering your resume, your artist practice statement, your disciplines, that will (because I filled that out) it’s is automatically porting it over. It’s saying I’m an individual. Here’s my resume. Here are the disciplines I work in. This many years of practice. And this is my artist statement. So, you can’t edit directly here, you have to go to your profile, make updates, and it pulls it over. And that’s because for a lot of folks, that stuff doesn’t change, so we don’t want you to have to redo it every time you apply to a grant, but you are welcome to update your profile at any time.   

The parts that you’ll actually fill out within the application are the ‘equity priority group’. This is basically an optional survey, which I’m going to talk about later, but you can decide if you’d like to opt into filling it out or not, and you can say how you identify if you like, and you can be as specific as you prefer as well. 

Then these two tabs are the main ones for the actual project. The first one is the ‘Project Overview’.  

You’ll be able to give a project name, a brief description (which is basically a 25-word summary of what you’re applying for — it just helps assessors really quickly understand and remember what this grant is about — so it’s an identifier).  You’ll put in the amount that you’re requesting (so up to $20,000 max for an individual). 

You’ll put in your project start date, which can be before May 1, but just remember, funds won’t be distributed until September, so if you need the money to do the project, make sure your start date is after September. The project end date – all projects have to be completed by the end of next year, and you can’t be done it before May 1, because that’s fully retroactive.  

Discipline: Select the artistic discipline that’s most relevant to this application. There’s options, including, you know, multidisciplinary if it really does touch on a few.  

And then the focus areas that I mentioned. So primary focus area, and secondary focus area if needed.  

And then the other three bulky written parts are here: your ‘Project Description’, ‘Artistic Impact’ and ‘Community Connection’. All three of these are 500 words max. I’m going to talk about them in more depth in the slideshow, but just so you see where they are.  

And then the last tab here is for ‘Planning’. This is where you’re doing budget, support materials for your budget, a timeline, and any kind of additional support material you want to include.  

I will demonstrate the budget here. Read the instructions, but in a nutshell, you can add expenses here. These are all eligible expenses, so for example, say you’re paying artist fees of $2,000. Describe in detail who is this for? What artists? How did you come up with that amount? Is it based on a quote from them? Is it a fee schedule? Is it an hourly rate? You could just give some context for how you calculated that. And if it’s one artist or if it’s three artists, break it down. I’m not going to do a whole bunch, but you could basically continue to add expenses and definitely utilize the notes. Put notes in there because it really helps us understand. What course is it? One course? What’s the length? Was this quoted? You know, that kind of thing. 

Then below you’ll do your revenues. So, you don’t have to have more than one revenue. You could just be asking for the grant, the CADA grant, to cover the full cost (so $3,000 and it’s obviously pending). You don’t really have to leave any notes. But say you had other revenues. So, you only need $2,000 from CADA and the other was… we could say in-kind service. I don’t know if that’s the right one, but say your course fees were covered by the program (you got a scholarship or something and it’s fully covered). You could type some details in about that. And so now we can see that our project expenses are $3,000. Our revenues are $3,000. It balances to zero.  

If it didn’t balance (so I’ll get rid of this one, oh, sorry, the captions are in my way, there we go) and you tried to save it, it would say your budget isn’t balanced. You have to put something in, so it has to be zero here. That would just let you know that your budget isn’t balanced, so, I’ll make it balance and then save.  Oh, please ensure the CADA request. Oh, yes, so this actually, this won’t work until I have to show you this other part. So, you can’t really work on your budget until you’ve entered in your project what you’re asking for. So, I would have had to say $3,000 here because the platform actually likes to check that that amount matches what’s in your budget. So just to show how it would actually work. So now if I put in my ‘CADA request amount’, it’s going to match what I just put in my ‘Project Overview’. Oops, save. So now it’ll save. It’ll say ‘save complete’ and then you can exit out and then you’ll notice that this whole area has been updated. Now I can see my budget in a summary right here. And you can go back in and edit it at any time. Just make sure that this grant request amount matches your funding request here. The system will always check those things for you, so it’ll never let you submit if things are incorrect.   

The budget support I’m going to talk about later, but you just upload these files here. Timeline is also a PDF file, so you upload it here.  

And then you’d select ‘written’ if you wanted to add PDF files you can, and you can describe them. If you have audio visual files, you can upload them here. It tells you the allowable file types. If you also had links that you wanted to include, you could include those here. So, there’s lots of options. You only need to do at least one. 

And then if you were to hit ‘save draft’ it will just save. If you were to go back to your home page, you no longer have to go here to find your draft. It’s now located here, so you can open it, open your draft that you’ve been working on and continue to edit it. 

If you wanted to see how you’re doing (if you’re missing any information), you would hit ‘save and validate’, and that’s going to check and say all of these things need to be done before you can submit. So, you can’t leave this question empty, you know, invalid date. It’s going to check everything. Once you correct all of those, you can hit submit.  When you hit ‘submit’, it’s also going to check these anyway, so even if you don’t ever do ‘save and validate’, the system will always check for these things before you’re able to submit. Yeah, so I think that’s it. I’ll go back to the slide so I can dig into some of this information in a little bit more detail.  

Stop share. Back to the slide show. All right.  

Oh, I forgot to demonstrate this but, on that registration, if you don’t have an account, you just have to set one up and you click new and ‘register here’. It’s a very simple form where you put in your contact info, and it’ll email you to set up a password and then you can log in just like I did. Just going to skip over my notes because I just demonstrated it all and talked about everything. 

Just to go over really quickly, this is the checklist. So, these are the things I just went through that are part of the application form, so I won’t repeat them, but now they’re on the slides if you ever need to see a summary again. 

I’ll make a note here. Those three written areas, the ‘Project Description’, ‘Artistic Impact’, and ‘Community Connection’ – those are the bulky written pieces. You saw that there is a maximum of 500 words. This was increased from last year. It was 450 last year, and we did that just based on feedback, but the word counts I want to point out are simply guides, and they don’t need to be considered a goal. You know, you don’t have to get to 500 words to have a strong application. If you don’t actually need to use up the full word count to make your case and to describe things in a clear way, then don’t feel compelled to just fill up space or repeat yourself over and over to get to that max.  

It is important, of course, to provide enough information so that assessors can clearly understand your practice and your project goals and activities. So do try to be thoughtful and clear and specific. Committees really do appreciate straightforward applications that they don’t have to do a lot of work in order to understand and connect the dots.  So don’t make it complicated, but also don’t be vague.  

The next four items there were all kind of related to planning. The things that really support your planning and feasibility are the support materials, the budget, and the timeline. We’ll dig into those in a moment.   

I’m going to start with the profile pieces.  

Your artist statement is basically an introduction to you and your overall practice and goals. The artist statement shouldn’t be overly long or difficult to understand. We usually say about 100 to 300 words max. It does not need to be a manifesto on your artistic practice, but really it should be a concise and helpful overview of your work and what’s most important to you. It should really demonstrate who you are, what you value, what kind of work you make, how you make it (for example, processes or approaches) and why it’s important to you. 

Your artist statement will likely change over time as you and your practice do. Just remember that context matters. The type of artist statement that you might submit to accompany a gallery show or as program notes, is going to look really different than the type of artist statement you would put to a grant committee, typically. You don’t want them to be full of jargon and inaccessible language. It should be really a straightforward, helpful overview of your practice.  

In a grant application this is probably one of the first things assessors will read, and it really helps provide the most significant context for how they understand you as an artist and your how your project connects to your practice. As I mentioned, this is located in the profile and once you’ve saved your profile, it gets automatically ported over to your application. So, make sure it’s correct before you hit ‘submit’.  

Another piece that’s in the profile is the resume or CV (curriculum vitae). An artistic resume is basically a clear list of experiences that are relevant to your art practice. A resume or CV can be a helpful tool for assessors to view alongside your artist’s practice statement. It really helps to give them a better understanding of your communities, your experience, and your history as an artist.   

There are many formats, and some may be discipline-specific. For the purposes of our programs, simplicity and readability are more important than fancy formatting. A beautiful resume is great, but we also want it to be really clear. Typically, we see a date list format from the most recent experience or activity, to the least recent, and it’s usually split into similar categories. Be sure to include information like dates, locations, maybe a brief description of each experience if it’s not really obvious by the title.  

Your resume might have headings or segments that are about your education, training, workshops, residencies you’ve attended, works that you’ve produced, commissions, awards or grants that you’ve already received. It depends on your discipline, but exhibitions, publications, past performances, engagement, it could have media, professional affiliations and all kinds of things.  

But all of that said, don’t let a resume intimidate you. There are many, many valuable experiences and entry points into a life and a career in the arts, and it’s okay to have gaps in your practice or times that maybe you weren’t creating or working in the arts for whatever reason. It also does not have to only include professional experiences. You can include anything that you think will help assessors understand how you got here. A little bio or a blurb at the beginning is okay too. And as a suggestion, you know, many artists have their resumes available on their websites, which could be a helpful way just to see the variety and types of resumes and how to format them for different disciplines. So, take a peek at others in your field.   

If you’re applying as a collective, include your collective resume or CV, which outlines the history of work that you’ve made together. If you’re a brand-new collective, you can also just include the individual resumes of each member in a single PDF.   

Project description. So this is that first written area in the overview. This is where you’re going to describe your project, including what will occur, when it will take place and where it will take place. It’s kind of like the nuts and bolts of the project.  

In the description, try to be clear, straightforward, and specific. Assessors should really clearly understand what you want to do with this grant after they read this section. This really sets the stage for how they understand the rest of your grant. You know, when they look at the budget or they look at the timeline, it should really connect to this project description.   

You may want to include some information or rationale for how you came to decide the ‘what, when, and where’ of your project. For example, you might speak to why the dates you’ve chosen are the most feasible, or how you came to decide on the location or venue for the project. You might also touch on who else is involved in the section, but there is a dedicated space later on to talk specifically about who else is impacted by the project or involved in the project in that ‘Community Connection’ section. 

Really, this this area should just be a helpful, relatively detailed description of the project. But keep in mind, you’ll have a chance to dig deeper into the who, the how, and the why in other sections of your application.  

All right, so the Artistic Impact section is the second written area. This is the section where you’ll describe your artistic goals for this project and what success will mean for you. Consider how this project might impact your artistic work, your artistic practice, or your artistic discipline(s). 

Depending on your project, you might talk about artistic goals that you have for the actual artwork itself, or around certain artistic processes, techniques, or approaches that you’ll be utilizing in the project.  How does this work connect to past work you’ve done or not?   

You might talk about professional development goals related to learning and growth within your artistic practice. Are you continuing to build, hone, and practice skills that you currently already have? Or is this a relatively new area for you in terms of learning, knowledge building, and skill development?   

You could talk about discipline specific goals and impacts that the project might have on the disciplines or the artistic communities that you’re a part of. What might this project be contributing to, or building off of, or exploring for the first time? How might it fit within the artistic discourse or milieu if that’s relevant?  

So those are just some examples. You don’t have to talk about all three, but it’s just a way to kind of break down how you might talk about the work itself, your practice and growth or the discipline(s) that you’re engaging in. There’s lots of examples and types of artistic impact. Be sure to tell assessors what is important to you and what and why it’s important when it comes to this project.  

Some things to think about when I talk about success. What will success mean for you? Think about how this project will allow you to achieve your artistic goals. How will you measure success, learnings, or impact? What is helpful and meaningful to capture given this project, your goals, and where you’re at in your practice right now? Consider how this project connects to your overall practice, and you can ask the question, why this, why now?   

This is really not about saying what you think the funder, or the assessors want to hear, but really about defining what success actually means and looks like to you as the artist. Think about what your artistic goals are, what you need to achieve them, and how you will know if you’ve achieved them. It’s a really good, or it’s good, to start thinking about this now. Developing your own systems of evaluation can be really beneficial to personal artistic growth and development and guiding your practice into the future.  

All right, and the last written section (the third one) is Community Connection. The specific questions in the application are on the slide here: Describe the people or communities that are connected to this project and why you’ve chosen them. What are the community related goals for this project and what will success mean for you? 

It’s similar to the last question, but now it’s about the community or other people involved. There’s also a special note in the application that says, if you are the only person involved in this project or this stage of the project, please speak to potential future connections or goals and who you generally make your work for and why. So, there is an opportunity for you to speak if it’s a very solitary part of the project.  

I find artists sometimes get hung up on this section or this is the one they probably have more questions about when compared to the other two, so I did try to add a definition for what we mean when we say community, because I think it’s just even the term ‘community connection’ that stumps people.  

For the purpose of our programs, we define community as those who view, participate, collaborate, engage, or benefit from your work. So depending on your project, that might include audiences, participants, students, artists, collaborators or partners, institutions or venues, mentors, teachers, neighborhoods, specific communities that are maybe aligned around a shared identity or goal. It could be discipline-specific communities, geographical, religious, cultural, folks that just share a similar interest, value, aesthetic, or curiosity. 

There’s all kinds of ways to define and talk about types of community and it can include many things, but it also doesn’t have to include all of those things. It’s really intentionally broad so that every artist can find a way to respond to this question regardless of the context of their project.  

There’s space to speak about how this project will impact your relationships, networks, or communities during the project or after the completion of your project. Your community-related goals could be about deepening and strengthening current relationships that you already have. It could be about forging or creating brand new relationships. Or working towards building future aspirational relationships later on. 

Depending on your project, or the phase that you’re applying for, you might answer this question really differently. Some projects might involve a lot of engagement and sharing with the public at this time, while others may only have a few collaborators or maybe a mentor involved, while others still may be quite solitary at this point in time, and all of those options are okay. We really deeply value how a project might allow you to better connect with your communities in the future, just as much as we care about a project that might immediately be involving, engaging, or impacting a community.  

For projects that involve actively working with, engaging, or sharing with other people, this is where you might describe those relationships. How they’ll be engaged or considered throughout the project or why this project is important to them (so not just to you, but to the communities and the people that you’re involving).  

The depth and quality of your relationships is just as important, if not more important, than the breadth or the quantity of your relationships. We don’t expect you to be everything to everyone, but we do want to know and see how you’re considering others in a thoughtful, respectful, and informed way.  

This is a reminder I’ll bring back from the earlier slide that if your proposed project intends to make work about, or for, a specific community, it will be essential to speak directly about your current relationships and connections to said community. For example, are you a part of that community? If not, how are you engaging that community? Are you including, valuing, and respecting those perspectives in a meaningful way? And are those involved being equitably compensated, and appreciated or engaged?   

For projects that are perhaps more solitary and don’t really engage or involve others at this point in time, or they don’t involve sharing the work publicly yet, this is where you might describe your general artistic relationships to different communities, or who you make your work for, how you consider your end audience or folks during the creation or research process. Or how this project might impact your ability or capacity to better connect and build relationships into the future, or a sense of community even.  

All right, like artistic impact, consider what your own measures of success might look like. Evaluating the success of your relationships or your community goals must be meaningful to you and those involved. While quantity and numbers can tell a really meaningful story, you might also be interested in qualitative measures like audience response, feedback that you receive from a mentor or a workshop participant, or the way you felt experimenting with a new form of engaging or sharing with public. Just consider what feels authentic and meaningful to you and define it.   

Project timeline. The project timeline should really clearly show the committee how you’re going to accomplish the project in more detail than what you shared in your project description. So, the project description gave that like intro to who, or sorry, where, when and what, but the project timeline is where you can dig in a little bit to the details. You’re going to try to outline all the important artistic or community related tasks, activities, events, milestones, deadlines, process periods – so having kind of like a work plan that shows all the tasks. Make sure to include dates or locations or who’s involved within the descriptions if it’s not apparent.  

Ensure you’re including enough detail to clearly demonstrate what needs to happen, when it needs to happen and the how sometimes. It might be helpful to include some thought around why this is the most reasonable timeline for you and for the project, particularly just to help assessors understand the feasibility, especially since not all of them may be familiar with your discipline or your own capacity or your approach to making this type of work.  

For example, you might want to say, I’m going to take a full year to do this project because I also am committed to a number of other projects, and I need the time and space to be able to manage multiple things, so, it’s a longer timeline than you might expect because of that. Or because of the way you operate, right? Maybe you are living with a disability, and you need to build in good amounts of space and rest time and flexibility within your timeline.  

Or if it’s really short, back up why and how you feel you’re going to be able to do that project in that short period of time. Lean on your past experiences, the supports that you have in place, the fact that you’re solely dedicated to this project and nothing else for that period, but kind of give some context for why the timeline looks the way it does, just to assuage any, you know,  doubt of “this is not enough time” or “that’s way too much time” when assessors are reading.  

You can also make note of things that are confirmed or pending wherever it’s necessary. If something important changes from pending to confirmed after you’ve already applied to the program, just reach out to me. We might be able to give an update to the assessors if they’re still reading and reviewing and making decisions. It might be nice to know, that a venue is actually confirmed, or those dates are now confirmed, or I got that other grant I applied for, so it’s no longer pending in my budget, it’s for sure, or I got accepted to that residency. You can send those updates to me and I’ll include them where I can.  

There’s no standard template for your timeline. You can use any kind of format that makes sense to you, as long as it’s in a PDF after, when you upload it. Depending on your project, it might make sense to use a calendar format. You can do a dated list format. So, for example, a list of all the things you need to do each month or each week. Or you might use some sort of chart or diagram. Just make sure that it’s really easy to see, and it’s clear and intuitive and easy on the eyes. I know some folks will use complex things like a Gant chart, and that can sometimes be hard to see in a PDF view. It can get really small or hard to actually see where things line up. So, make it really easy to view for the assessors.  

All right, the project budget. So, this is another area I think people go “Ahh!” so I’m going to spend a little time here. The budget template that you use is directly built into the application as you saw.  

The budget will ask for the list of all your relevant project expenses and a list of any relevant project revenues, including the amount that you’re asking for from CADA. So be sure to account for the entire scope of the project that you’re applying for.   

Your budget should balance to zero so that it’s clear how all of your expenses will be covered by revenues.  As you enter in dollar amounts in the template, you saw, it does the math for you so you can always, you know, there’s less room for human error. You can see what things are totaling up to as you enter them in.  

Each line item in your budget has a note section that we strongly recommend using. I would say if you have a blank note, you probably shouldn’t. I would have a note for almost every line item to really describe what it is that that expense includes, how it was estimated or calculated or any other helpful information. 

For example, you can indicate if something is purchased or rented. So, say you’ve included a piece of equipment or something — indicate if it’s purchased or rented. If you’re outlining fees for different artists or other professionals, include their names, the role, a breakdown of their payment. Like I said, if it’s a flat fee or an hourly rate, weekly rate, a quote based on a fee schedule like CARFAC, if you’re referencing a fee schedule but going a little bit higher, you can give context for why or just to kind of state that.   

If you request subsistence, which is coverage for, you know, your ongoing monthly expenses. For example, if you’re in a creative period of making a body of work or writing a novel for six months, and you’re looking for support for your monthly rent, utilities, food, childcare, things like that, that’s what subsistence is. So instead of paying yourself an artist fee, you’re covering off your living costs so that you can devote your time and energy to that project. So, when you are asking for subsistence, break it down. How many months is it covering? What does it include? You do not have to back it up in terms of like proof of what your utility bill is every month, but just break it down in the notes. 

In the revenue section, you’ll at the very least include what you’re asking for from CADA. If you have other revenues, you can include them as well and indicate if they’re confirmed or pending. That might be things like other grants, sponsorships, donations, in-kind support (which is basically like donating time or space or things for free), personal contributions, earned revenues like ticket sales, if applicable. So, say you’re actually hosting an event and charging folks for tickets, we would want to see your projected ticket sales reflected in the revenue, because that’s obviously going to go towards covering some of the project expenses, things like artist fees or space or whatever.  

Assessors often wish budgets had more clarity and detail provided, so don’t leave room for questions or confusion. Be really clear about every single line item.   

A common question that we get regarding budgeting is, should I apply for the maximum amount that the program offers, or will I have a better chance if I apply for less? We encourage applicants to apply for activities that fall within the general range of the program, and budget for what they realistically need to complete the activity. So, imagine how that activity would ideally run and then build your budget off of that, rather than starting at the maximum and building backwards. 

So, if you’re like, I know I need to or I want to do this show at this gallery space and I still need to finish up some work, start to build out what your expenses are. Okay, I need space. I need transportation of my materials. I need some additional materials. I need time to pay for myself for finishing the work and also exhibiting the work, food for the opening reception, maybe you want to hire another artist to perform at the opening of your exhibition. Just going through what is your ideal scenario and see how much it totals to, and then work from that.  

If you go over the maximum amount that you’re able to request through the program, then you can consider the scope of your activities. Maybe you limit the scope, change up some things to make the budget a little bit smaller, or you can think about phasing. Like I said, if it’s a really large budget, maybe you have to phase it out or apply to multiple grants for different costs or activities. And you can also think about where to find additional costs, so if it’s a little bit over budget, maybe you think about can I get some donations? Can I find some in-kind support? Is there another grant I could apply to, to help cover the whole budget?   

If your proposed budget costs more than the maximum amount, if that’s the case, you’ll need to show how you’ll fund the remaining expenses. Either through fundraising, other grants, sponsorships, your own contribution, earned revenue like sales, or in-kind donations.  

Just remember grants are only one option for supporting your project and its costs. It can be really great to diversify where you’re seeking resources and support for the project. That said, there’s not an expectation that you have to contribute your own finances. It doesn’t necessarily look better to only ask for $15k from CADA and throw in $5k from yourself because you think that the jury will appreciate it or view it in a better lens. I’ve heard that myth a lot. I can’t speak for other funders if they do prefer to see that, but for CADA, it is okay to have CADA’s project grant fund the entirety of that budget or you know that phase of your project. If you need to put in your own contribution or find other revenues, because it’s a larger budget, great. Or if you just want to invest in it for some reason or to offer some of your time in-kind because you know it’s going to be way too much to be able to include in this budget, that’s okay, too.  

If you’re applying for additional funding outside of the program, so say you’re applying to the AFA for a different grant for the same project, but different expenses, do your best to demonstrate that you’ve done your due diligence,  the proper planning, you’ve applied and then basically, what we do is coach the assessors to assume that you have as good of a chance as anyone else to get that other funding, even though it’s still pending and not confirmed yet. We’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt I guess it’s what I’m trying to say.  

So, if you have pending revenues, just make sure that you’ve actually met those deadlines, that you’ve given yourself enough time (if you’re trying to raise money for sponsorships, you’re not trying to do that within a really short time period – you’ve given yourself enough time) because that’s what we’re going to be looking at is: does it seem feasible or reasonable for them to get all of these other revenues that they’re projecting? 

Budget support material. So, there’s two different support material areas, as you saw. The first one, which is right below the budget, is a space where you can upload any budget related support material: things that will help back up or demonstrate your budget items and estimates. For example, you might include research, quotes, standard fee schedules, correspondence that confirms rates, past examples of revenues, screenshots, etc.  

The budget support material is optional, but highly recommended, especially for things like artist fees or anytime you’re paying someone, or larger budget items like flights, course fees, equipment purchases or rentals. For expenses like subsistence, you do not need to upload a PDF of your utility bill or your mortgage, like I said, and you don’t need to get super granular, so we do not expect you to take a screenshot of every tube of paint and paintbrush that you’re going to be buying. Those can just be sort of generally described in the budget notes.  

General support material. The other area, as I showed in the platform is where you can provide any additional material that will help support and strengthen your application and help assessors understand better about your practice, project, or planning. 

You might consider including things that demonstrate the quality of your work (examples of work, documentation of past projects, information about your process). You might include things to demonstrate your capacity (planning documents, support letters, mockups or drafts of the project if you have them). You might include things that demonstrate your research and planning around the project (such as contracts, letters of confirmation, planning documents, things like that). Or you might include things that demonstrate the partnerships or relationships that have that are related to the project (whether it be CVs or bios of your collaborators, letters of support from other people involved, correspondence that shows their interest if the project gets funded, they’re on board).   

The material you include should be relevant and meaningful to the application. And assessors really love to see examples of work so they can actually visualize what your artwork and practice is like.   

There will be a list of allowable file types, as I said. Be considerate of how much support you include. We only ask assessors to review up to 10 minutes of support for each applicant. They’ll be reading many applications, so try to direct their attention. If you’re including a 15-minute video, maybe direct them to watching these three minutes that are the most important, or if you have a full script that you’ve uploaded, maybe consider just including an excerpt or a synopsis or something that’s a little bit easier to digest.  

Okay, I know I am definitely taking more time than I had hoped, so I’m going to skip this break and try to just power through the rest of this. I don’t know that we’ll have time for questions. Obviously this project grant is a lot heftier than I thought it would be to go through, so please consider joining the Q&As later on or just emailing me and following up with questions. But hopefully I can get through the bulk of this.   

Program considerations and scoring. This is what your applications will be evaluated on. There are three considerations (or criteria): Artistic Impact, Community Connection and Planning.  

Based on the information you provide in the application, assessors are going to rate the level to which they agree or disagree with each of these three, which I’m going to describe in a second. Each program consideration will be weighted equally, and the scores that are assigned to each rating will be consistent. For example, strongly agree will always equal the same number of points on the back end. The assessors don’t know how many points they’re worth, they’re just sort of using the agreeance levels, but just so you know, there is math on the back end so that we can actually put things in a ranking order.   

Artistic impact is the first thing you’re being evaluated on.  This says, “the applicant shows a clear, in depth understanding of their practice, goals, and what success will mean for them”.   

How the assessors understand what artistic impact means and how you are meeting the program consideration, is based on what you tell us about what is important to you and your practice, what your goals are, and how this project will allow you to achieve them. So, ensure that you’ve provided enough information and context for the assessors to draw these connections. It might seem really obvious to you, but if you can provide rationale and context, it helps fill in the gaps, so assessors don’t need to make assumptions or guess why this project is important or what success looks like.   

You should be able to be honest and show awareness for where you’re at in your practice or your career, where and how you fit (or don’t fit) into the artistic communities or disciplines that you’re working in and what artistic quality, growth or success mean for you. Those are all super subjective things so really define it for yourself so that assessors can understand.  

Being able to recognize the challenges or barriers that you might face as an artist can actually help demonstrate potential, thoughtfulness and intentionality about the way that you undertake your work. It creates opportunity to see how an investment in your practice might in fact leverage you into finding solutions to your challenges. While I think it can be really tempting to paint a rosy picture to funders in a grant application, demonstrating that you actually have taken the time to think and reflect on how you undertake your work or challenge some of your own assumptions, really shows the committee that you’re well set up and ready to steward a public investment in an effective way.  

As you saw, there is a section in the application where you’re directly talking about your artistic impac, but keep in mind, assessors will be considering your application holistically, meaning that there might be other parts of your application that really speak to the artistic impact indirectly. Things like your artist statement, CV, or support materials.  

The second criteria is Community Connection. This one says, “the applicant shows a clear in depth understanding of the relationships and communities connected to the project, as well as their goals and what success will mean for them. This can include future relationships or connections as well as those occurring during the project itself.” 

While we know that many artists’ practices and projects might not necessarily put a primary focus on community engagement or relationship building, we do want to open a conversation for every applicant to say what community means to them, and how they think their art contributes to that community, whether it be directly or indirectly during the project or later on.   

It’s important to reflect on who your communities and relationships are or who you would like them to be, how you might either connect and engage, or simply consider them during the project. Defining your communities will allow you to better understand what it means to have an impactful relationship with them. Reflect on why your project is important to those you’ve identified, whether they’ll be a part of the project now or experiencing it later.  

If the project doesn’t involve creating or sharing work at all, then how does the project support or impact your ability to deepen and grow your relationships and connections to communities in the future? And again, this will be holistic.There’s an area for this to really dig into, but you might also see examples of this in your CV and support material.   

Planning: The last thing you’re being evaluated on. This one says “the applicant has included enough information to clearly show what they want to do and how they will do it. There’s an in-depth understanding of what it will take to carry out the project and meet their goals. This is demonstrated by a clear, achievable, well supported application.” For example, the applicant has enough relevant experience and or necessary support in place, a feasible timeline and budget, suitable partners, collaborators, and mentors, etc. 

So, while the application is holistic, the primary parts that will relate to this is your budget, timeline, and support. The planning pieces should clearly outline who you’ll work with and why, how you will work with them, what it will cost, how much time it will take and what tasks are required to meet your goals. 

You want to show that your project is achievable, well researched, and well supported. Especially when it comes to ensuring that those involved are well considered and taken care of in the planning elements, including yourself. Artists care about burnout, they want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and others.  

The application should have clear, detailed, thoughtful responses and include the relevant information required to create overwhelming trust and confidence that the project will be completed as described and the applicant will reach their goals. They should feel there’s a clear sense of readiness and awareness within the application. So, keep all three of these things in mind while you’re writing and preparing your application.   

The assessment process: That’s the four-month period, as I mentioned, where we are evaluating. The total pool of funding available is $2.5 million. Assessors are responsible for reading and scoring all the applications that are assigned to their committee, according to those three program considerations that we just talked about. So that’s what they’re evaluating and scoring. Committees will then meet to discuss applications together, make adjustments to their scores, and recommendations. The program staff are then responsible for facilitating the discussions and ensuring that the conversations are fair, appreciative, and that everyone is acting within the Group Agreements and the Program Guidelines. The committee’s final scores will result in a list of projects that are recommended for funding, and CADA staff will review these recommendations and finalize the list.  

Partial funding might be allocated, but it’s rare. We would only recommend partial funding for an applicant if there’s a specific expense that is ineligible within their budget, or if the majority of the committee recommended less for a specific reason, like a strong case was not made for a particular activity or expense, like equipment. If there’s no more funding left in the pool to, oh, sorry, another example would be as if we only have so much funding left, we might look for if we can still fund one more artist with a lesser amount, but we don’t want to hamstring that artist, so, we’ll usually try to find money to round it up and fund someone at a full rate, even if we’re at the last grant.  

A note about tie breakers: In the final ten percent of funding, if there are applications that are tied, but not enough funds in the grant pool to support all of those tied applications, the priority may be given to folks based on the following considerations: the first being projects proposed by artists that are belonging to an equity priority group, which I will review briefly on the next slide, and then second, we might also prioritize projects from artists who have not received a CADA grant before, or within the past two years.  

The equity priority groups (that was part of that voluntary demographic survey in the application that you can opt in or out of filling out). If you opt into filling it out and your part of an equity priority group, then you’ll be considered for this tie breaking measure. Responses to that survey are completely invisible to assessors. The only people who can see your responses to that are CADA staff, and we only look at it in terms of tie breaking scenarios, or if the research team is gathering aggregate data to see who we are funding, who we are not, and looking at gaps and trends and things. 

So, these are the equity priority groups identified for this program. Just for the sake of time, I’ll say there’s full descriptions on our website. This is just to acknowledge that there are many groups and communities that have been underfunded in the arts and in our granting programs, so this is one small measure to try to help address that, and it was borrowed from Toronto Arts Council’s equity framework. We adapted it from that, so we just want to do a shout out to them. 

And then grant tips! Remember that you’re not expected to be everything to everyone, and your application won’t benefit from trying to write or represent yourself in a way that you think assessors want to see. Be authentic to your actual work, practice, and goals – as well as where you’re at in your career. Like I said, having an appreciative sense of where your gaps or challenges or barriers are, and how you might work through those or use a grant to help address those, is a really positive thing. 

Using plain language rather than academic language or ‘artist speak’ is often much clearer and more concise. Assessors really appreciate being able to easily read an application and understand what it is and why it’s important. They don’t have to do a lot of work to really understand what it is you’re saying. They’re reading a lot, so straightforwardness is really, really helpful.   

Try to avoid jargon or technical language. Remembering that the assessment committee will be made up of people from multiple backgrounds, disciplines, and different experiences. So, if you’re speaking about something that’s really unique or specific to your discipline, like a theory or a school of thought or a methodology, just be sure to define it. And if you’re using technical, like a technical program or a tool, can you describe that in plain language so that everyone understands what it is?   

When it comes to language in general, I think that we as humans might interpret or understand concepts and words differently, or there could be multiple meanings. For example, if you’re talking about making your upcoming event accessible, what does accessible mean to you and for who? Really define that and don’t take for granted that we all think that means the same thing.   

Don’t assume that all assessors will understand or be familiar with your specific practice or your past work or your discipline. Really share your “whys” and “hows” throughout the application. That’s always what I think is lacking, is not the who, what, when, where (like those Coles Notes things are usually pretty clear), but it’s the “how”, the approach of your project and why you’re doing it that way. I think that context piece is usually the thing that really helps to expand on. Specificity also helps deter assessors from making their own assumptions because you’ve actually clearly defined things for yourself.   

Do your research. Make sure that you can back up what you’re stating in your application. So, I think of math class, where you’re encouraged to ‘show your work’ and how you got to a certain answer, especially when you’re thinking about numbers and budgets. So, show don’t tell.  

Using an outside eye. It can be really helpful to have someone who may not be familiar with your discipline or your work, read over your application. The questions that they may ask or uncover around the story that you’re telling, could reveal some assumptions or gaps. It can also be really helpful to have someone who is really well versed and familiar with your discipline or your work read over your application. They might be able to point out different kinds of gaps or red flags in the planning, or best practices that they would recommend including. So, getting a couple different perspectives is helpful. I’m available to do that if you reach out early. Just email or set up a time.  

And speaking of early, start the process early. Give yourself a lot of time to put your project into writing, to leave it and come back to it, to reflect on it with fresh eyes, to gather support material. When you’re reaching out for, say, letters of confirmation or support, give folks enough time to be able to give that to you before the deadline. We really want to ensure you’re putting in an application for the project that you’ve done the best planning for so start early, don’t rush, and submit early if you can. 

Oh, taxes. This is the last slide with info. So, what about taxes? It is really important to consider tax implications of receiving a grant. CADA is required to issue a T4A tax form to any successful grantees for the full grant amount that you receive during a calendar year. So, if you are successful and you get a $20,000 grant from the Project Grant and you don’t get anything else from CADA, you’ll get a T4A for $20,000 for this tax year. That includes the primary applicant that’s maybe receiving payment on behalf of a collective.  

Please note you must have a valid Canadian Social Insurance Number, or an Individual Tax Number, to receive a CADA grant and report on it to the CRA.  

When you’re filing your taxes, you should be able to deduct all reasonable grant expenses related to the production of the project from that total grant amount. This doesn’t include your own artist fee, which is considered taxable income. Other expenses like subsistence or living expenses, some things cannot be reimbursed or deducted.  

It’s your responsibility to document all expenses related to the project so that you can claim them against your grant amount. Keep receipts, invoices, correspondence, payments, track all of that so that if you’re ever audited, you can submit those and prove that that grant money went out the door and you didn’t keep it for yourself. CADA may ask for receipts too. It’s rate but you’ll also want to have that information ready for your final report.  

And yes, I should also just say that CADA is not technically allowed to give tax advice, so we always recommend reaching out to a tax professional, accountant, CRA, whenever you’re planning your grant applications or preparing your taxes each year.  Because everyone’s scenarios and situations are different, we don’t want to be giving any incorrect advice. There are resources in our FAQ around artist grants and taxes that you’re welcome to peruse.  

Contact info. I’ll just throw it up there again. Like I said, I’m available to answer questions. I’m so sorry this session went long, and we don’t have any time really for the Q& A, but I’ll stay on a little longer, but the ASL interpreters may have to head out. But just reach out. There’s lots of opportunities over the next month or so to connect, ask questions, to hear from other artists at those Q+A open office sessions, so don’t be shy, especially if it’s your first time applying. All right. Thanks, everyone. I’ll stop sharing and we’ll stop the recording and then do a little check in. 

If you have any questions or need any help completing an application, please contact Taylor Poitras, Program Specialist, at or 403.264.5330 ext.215.

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