Project Grant Program – Individuals and Collectives

Grant Announcement Categories: Project Grant Program – Individuals and Collectives

Project Grant Program – Individuals and Collectives

Applying to the Project Grant Program for Individuals and Collectives? Calgary Arts Development is pleased to offer this online and on-demand information session.

This program is intended to provide one-time project funding to individual artists and artist collectives in Calgary (known as Mohkínsstsisi 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 guidelines and apply by 4:30pm MT on April 19, 2022.


Please note that Calgary Arts Development staff are continuing to work remotely. Contact Taylor Poitras, Specialist for Individuals & Collectives, at 403.264.5330 ext.215 or, with any questions.

Welcome to the online information session for the 2022 Project Grant Program for Individuals and Collectives.

The purpose of this session is to share some of the information that is already in the program guidelines and the FAQs online, but in a more visual and auditory way with some added context, examples and approaches that might be helpful when considering if you will apply and how best to do so. That being said, the most important information is in the guidelines and the FAQ so whether or not you watch this session, please read those documents before you apply.

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. This means that I’m the primary contact person for this program. Reach out to me directly if you have any questions about this program or if you need support applying.

Van Chu, who I introduced earlier, is our grants coordinator, and they’re also on the call today and available to help with any general or technical questions that you might have for the grants team. Van is responsible for monitoring our general email address which is a really good go-to email if you ever have any questions or curiosities about our programs and you aren’t sure who to reach out to.

Van and I are both currently living and working in Mohkínsstsisi, or Calgary, which is Treaty 7 territory. We want to take a moment to acknowledge that this is the traditional and ancestral territory of the Niitsitapi, or Blackfoot Nations – which include the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai; we acknowledge the Beaver people of the Tsuut’ina; the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley bands of the Stoney Nakoda First Nations; the Métis People of Region 3, and all Indigenous peoples who make the Treaty 7 region their home.

We feel it’s important to understand the long history that has brought each of us to reside on the land that we are currently on and seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a historical, past tense: colonialism is a current and ongoing process. We hope that when we pause to acknowledge the land and the original people and stewards, it inspires others to learn about the land they currently inhabit and their own relationships to that history, the people, and the place, and consider what actions you can take towards acknowledging truth, reconciliation and healing together. If you are ever seeking resources to begin that journey for yourself, please reach out and we will share anything that we have to offer with you.

I also want to take a moment to talk about our commitment to equity which is, and must be, an ongoing, never-ending commitment and learning journey.

It’s important to acknowledge that systems like granting and public funding, are usually designed in a one size fits all way, meaning they are designed for the dominant culture and are rooted in colonial, Western European, academic systems which create barriers to access for many artists in our communities who are seeking and deserving of support. One obvious example of this at CADA, is that we currently share our programs and accept applications primarily in an online, written format in English. This creates barriers; technological, linguistic, communication and cultural barriers just to name a few.

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 persons with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities.

As a public funder, we have a responsibility to ensure equitable access to public funding. We envision a city where all artists have the freedom, agency, and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures, and experiences: a city where Calgarians of all backgrounds can access, create and participate in art as part of their everyday lives.

To that end, we are dedicated to addressing and working to eliminate institutional inequity in our programs, policies, and practices. Our staff are accountable to ensuring that lines of communication are welcoming, clear, and open, and that our application and assessment processes are fair and deeply considerate.

While we have been continuing to expand and improve our processes and policies around equity, accessibility, and accommodation, we still have a long way to go. We aim to continue building relationships and learning from our communities, particularly those most directly affected, about the specific challenges that exist in granting and working to create more equitable systems.

We have also identified equity priority groups and adopted a specific equity measure for some of our programs which I will speak more about later on.

So, how do we hope this translates to you as artists and potential applicants?

When applying to programs like this, we ask artists to consider concepts like nothing about us without us – this is an idea that’s been around for a long time, but I believe really grew in the 1990s from disability rights activists. In this context, it’s the idea that if you are 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 benefit and value for those communities. We value and honor lived experience and the intersectional and unique perspectives of different people and communities. When applying to programs, it can be helpful to pause and ask yourself, why this, why now and why me?

Connected to this concept, there are things that CADA will not tolerate such as hate speech, cultural appropriation and active exclusionary behaviours so please be aware that any applications or projects that contain this will not be supported.

When it comes to evaluating applications, this is also something we ask peer committees to consider: Are artists thoughtful and considerate of the work that they make, who they make it with and for, and how they make it? I’ll expand on this more when we talk about program criteria.

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

Some examples of accommodations are the translation of written materials into other languages, including ASL, transcription of verbal meetings or audio and video recordings into a written document, language interpretation for phone or video meetings, video or audio applications (this means that if you if you would prefer to answer application questions verbally you can submit an audio or video recording of yourself or our staff can help record your responses using an online platform, such as Zoom) and grant writing assistance, which I’ll touch more on in the next slide.

In addition to this, I will be available to answer questions or provide feedback on draft applications before you submit. Just remember to reach out early. We can only guarantee feedback up to one week before a program deadline but that could really vary depending on volume. At this time, our staff are still working from home, as you can see, and may not be able or comfortable to meet in person yet but we will be available to provide support over the phone, through email, or through the use of online meeting tools.

While its often helpful to get feedback ahead of submitting, with this program we are also offering feedback from the assessment committees after the process has ended, which can be really valuable and helpful as well since it’s feedback from a variety of different perspectives within the community.

We also want to recognize the limitations of our staff to adequately support all applicant needs, so we have begun to formalize a process for applicants to request financial assistance to help alleviate some of the costs associated with preparing and submitting an application, a final report or receiving and accepting an investment.

Who can request this type of assistance? This is primarily for individuals, or the primary contact for a collective, who self-identify as an artist who is Deaf, hard of hearing, has a disability or is living with a mental illness, or an artist facing language, geographic or cultural barriers.

This assistance applies at any stage of the application process for activities such as reviewing program guidelines and deciding whether or not to apply, preparing and submitting a grant application, receiving and accepting a grant investment, or preparing and submitting a final report.

To request assistance, just email us at ideally two to four weeks before you plan to submit your application. For this program the deadline is April 19, so please try to request assistance two weeks beforehand, by April 5, if possible.

If you request assistance, you’ll need to provide the name and contact information of someone who can help you, along with their hourly rate. This could be a trusted friend, family member, artistic peer, or a professional service provider. We may be able to make recommendations for some service providers, depending on the service, but in most cases, we look to the applicant to make that choice. CADA has outlined the maximum amounts that we are currently able to provide based on the program. Once approved, those who provide you assistance will be asked to invoice us for the agreed upon amount and we will send them payment directly.

Ok now, let’s dive into the Project Grant Program. I’m sorry this slide is really wordy, but I wanted to start off by sharing the primary goals and purpose of the Project Grant.

This program seeks to support projects that align with any of the following three priority areas: (1) Projects that reflect and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of Calgary’s arts sector and create opportunities for Calgarians to access artistic experiences, (2) Projects that support individual artistic and career development, including creation, professional development, business development, research, and experimentation, (3) Arts-centred projects that encourage everyday creativity, including cross-sector collaboration, creative economy, and neighbourhood-level community initiatives.

The Project Grant Program is intended to provide one-time project funding to individual artists or artist collectives in Calgary, known as Mohkínsstsisi in Blackfoot.

Individual artists may apply for up to $15,000 to put towards their project, while an artist collective may apply for up to $20,000.

The total pool of funding available through the program this year is $1,600,000, which is $500,000 more than last year. Yay!

Before we move on, let’s take a moment to clarify some of these eligibility pieces.

While activities do not have to take place in Calgary, applicants must either be Calgary-based, or be able to demonstrate that the majority of their work is accessible to the citizens of Calgary, and that they have a meaningful and ongoing relationship with the city and its artistic communities. 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, connections, and opportunities and that is okay. If you are a newcomer, immigrant, refugee, or re-emerging Calgary artist and have questions or concerns about eligibility or navigating the grant process, please know that our program staff are available to help guide and support you.

Second, 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 arts, multidisciplinary practice, music and sound, performance, theatre, and visual arts.

We do not have standard definitions for emerging, mid-career or established artist. These definitions can be completely different based on artistic discipline, type of practice, and individual experiences. Our programs are open to any professional artist at any stage of their artistic career.

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. Professional artists may have formal or informal training; we value all ways of knowing, learning, and developing an artistic practice. Professional artists have shared, or are actively striving to share, their work publicly and be compensated. Professional artists have a relationship with their artistic communities and peers. Artists do not need to be working professionally in the arts full-time.

We consider an artist collective to be two or more individual artists who work together in an ongoing or sometimes ad hoc way, who have a shared artistic practice that is distinct from their own individual artistic practices. Collectives need to define their collective practice, vision, intention, goals, and process in order to demonstrate that collective members have equal and shared ownership and accountability for the vision, success and completion of their proposed project. A majority of collective members must be Calgary-based artists, so at least 50% or more. An artist collective does not include for-profit organizations or businesses, groups that are formally registered as a non-profit society, or those which intend to govern themselves like a non-profit society.

Lastly, I wanted to touch on a new eligibility piece that we added this year, primarily in response to projects that are not led by artists, but which collaborate with and primarily support artists. As somewhat of a test, we will consider applications from individuals working in the arts and culture sector who do not meet the definition of a professional artist or collective, so for example an event producer, so long as they can demonstrate that artists are core collaborators or participants in the planning, development, and implementation of the project, that the project and budget provide financial and non-financial support to artists, and that the applicant has a demonstrated history of working with artists and the arts sector. Those will be determined on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of staff.

Application eligibility varies by program, so always read the guidelines and the FAQs, but here are some general rules.

Applicants must be in good standing meaning they may not apply to any program if they have an overdue final or interim report for a previous grant. This specifically refers to late reports that have not been submitted or received an extension.

Beginning in January 2023, you may not have more than four open grants with CADA, including grants for which a deadline extension has been approved. A request for an exception to this eligibility requirement must be submitted in writing and in discussion with the program specialist. Applicants are encouraged to take this policy into consideration when planning their applications in 2022.

Applicants may submit only one application per program deadline. We will not accept more than one application from the same applicant in the grant interface. Individuals must apply through their individual accounts and artist collectives must apply through their collective accounts.

Individual artists may be involved in more than one application, either as a participant in another artist’s application, or as a member of an artist collective but if you are involved in more than two applications to this program, please reach out to me to discuss and ensure eligibility.

A project may only be submitted by one applicant per program deadline. For example, if a project is being undertaken by a group of artists, or in partnership with an organization, only one application can be submitted for that project. Multiple members of the group cannot submit for the same project to the same program deadline.

Projects, or a distinct phase of a project, may only receive one grant in total from Calgary Arts Development, regardless of calendar year. So, if you have a larger or longer-term project make sure that you phase it out clearly ahead of time, so that you will be eligible to apply in future years for future phases. An example might be that you apply this year for the pre-production and production phase of a piece of work. Next year if you want to apply you could apply for the post-production aspects of that project. If you applied for pre-production, production, and post-production in year one, and then you run out of money or realize you want to apply for other aspects of that work, you won’t be eligible because that phase and that project has already been funded by a CADA grant program.

You may receive more than one CADA grant in a year as long as they are from different programs and for different projects. For example, this year you could apply to and receive a Project Grant and an Artist Development Microgrant, which opens soon, but you wouldn’t be able to receive two grants from the same program in one calendar year.

Lastly, you may reapply for the same project if a previous application was unsuccessful. Sorry I know that was a mouthful!

Here is a quick overview of the program timeline.

Applications are being accepted up until the application deadline of Tuesday, April 19, 2022, before 4:30pm MST.

Please keep in mind this is directly after a long weekend and I will not be working on the holiday Monday so you can reach out and ask questions the week before. Van and I will be prioritizing urgent, technical questions on the day of the deadline so that applicants who are already ready to submit can successfully do so before 4:30pm.

As I mentioned, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to give feedback on applications the week before the deadline and I may not be able to get to any larger questions during that time. I will be trying to honor the order in which folks reach out. If you need to set up a phone or Zoom call to ask specific questions, please email me to schedule this in advance if you can.

We are expecting many applications to this program. Late submissions will not be accepted. Please review the Deadline Extension Policy on our website for information about extensions. Please submit your application as early as possible.

All applications to the program will be peer assessed, between late April to late June, so over a period of eight weeks. This allows me time to review applications for completeness before sending them over to the committees and it gives ample time for assessors to read applications, score them online and meet as a committee to make final recommendations. I will outline the assessment process in more detail later on and describe peer committees on the next slide.

Notifications will go out through email in late June, letting applicants know if they were successful or not and confirming grant amounts.

I always recommend adding the grants@ email address to your email contacts, as well as my own, to ensure that any emails from us aren’t ending up in your spam or junk folder by mistake because that does happen.

Successful applicants will also receive an investment agreement outlining the terms of the grant which they’ll need to review, sign and return. As investment agreements are received, funds are then released through direct deposit. This processing time can take a few weeks so most grant payments will occur throughout July.

This timeline is important to consider if your project is fully reliant on receiving this grant. If cashflow is a concern for you, consider applying for something that occurs after July of this year, because we cannot guarantee that funds will be distributed any earlier than that.

Activities funded through this program must be complete by the end of December, 2023, which gives applicants at least a year and a half after notifications go out to complete their projects.

Please keep in mind that we are unable to fund fully retroactive projects, which means that your project may already be underway before you submit an application or receive notification about the grant, but you cannot apply for a project that will already be fully complete before the program deadline of April 19, 2022.

If any significant changes regarding the program timeline need to shift, applicants will be notified as soon as possible.

As I mentioned, applications will be evaluated based on the program criteria, by a committee made up of artistic peers: individual artists and arts workers with experience and knowledge from a variety of artistic disciplines and practices.

Assessment committees are chosen to represent the broad diversity of Calgary and its artistic communities, including, but not limited to, artistic discipline, gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, nation, physical and neurological identities.

Peer assessment committees help ensure that we are fairly and responsibly distributing public dollars to artists on behalf of the citizens of Calgary. The assessment committees for our programs have the same guidelines and criteria as you do – there’s no hidden criteria.

This program will have five to seven-member committees and each program stream will be assessed by a different committee. I’ll talk about streams later on, but the volume of applications received will determine the number and size of committees required.

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 assessor Terms of Reference, which are linked within the guidelines. I would encourage you to read those terms to understand the responsibilities and expectations that assessors are asked to commit to.

Assessors are kept confidential and anonymous until next year, when a full list of assessors is posted as part of our annual report. Assessors are required to declare conflicts of interest according to the Conflict of Interest Policy which means they will not evaluate applications where there is a conflict.

The membership of the peer committees will be chosen through public nominations and staff expertise. If you or anyone you know is interested in assessing any of our programs, there’s a nomination form on our website, or you can send us an email.

So, what can you apply for?

Projects funded by this program may include research, creation, development, production, presentation, or dissemination of artistic work. They can include professional, business, or artistic career development activities. They can include experimentation or development of new or adapted approaches to practice, or cross-sector collaboration, creative economy, and neighborhood-level initiatives. So, as you can see these clearly tie to the priorities and goals of the program I mentioned earlier. Applicants may apply to this program for one project, or one distinct phase of a larger project. Projects should have a clear start and end date, with a specific set of activities and goals.

Funds from this program may go towards almost any expenses that are directly related to your project and its goals. There is a list of eligible expenses in the program guidelines that are relatively straightforward, but I will highlight a few specific things here.

The first is a reminder that we want to see artists paid for their work – which includes yourself. This might also include consultants, participants, knowledge keepers, mentors, collaborators, and more.

Artist fees, professional fees, per diems and subsistence are all eligible expenses through this program and when it comes to paying yourself and others through a grant, the way that you frame or quantify that could vary based on the type of project or the type of work being done. It’s likely that you will choose one method to pay yourself from the grant so if you have questions about how best to frame or calculate this please reach out and I can share some resources and approaches.

The second piece I would like to highlight is that we have increased the maximum cap on equipment purchases from $1,000 to $2,000 this year. This is in recognition of a number of things, but primarily the impact the pandemic has had on artists and their ability to make and share work in an online or digital way and the increased demand and limited availability to rent certain equipment within the community.

This means that while there is no limit on rental costs for equipment, you are able to request and use up to $2,000 of this grant towards the purchase of equipment, which also includes hardware and permanent software.

As with any expense in your budget you will want to make sure that you have made a clear case for how this equipment is directly related and necessary to the completion and success of this project. Be specific about how this equipment will impact the work, your practice, or your development. You might speak to your rationale for purchasing rather than renting, given the goals, scope or length of your project.

If your total equipment purchases exceed $2,000, you’ll need to clearly show how the remainder or difference will be covered by other revenues in your project budget.

The third thing I wanted to highlight is that while course fees are eligible, this refers to individual courses or continuing educational courses that do not count toward a credit, diploma or degree granting program – meaning that we can’t pay for your diploma or degree, so if you are taking courses in pursuit of this or making work related to this, we cannot cover the costs associated.

If you have any questions about eligible expenses, please reach out.

When you apply, you’ll need to select a program stream. You can apply to either Create & Develop, Program & Present or Grow & Adapt. You will want to apply to the stream that best fits the core goal and purpose of your project.

There are descriptions in the guidelines for each of these, which I’ll read.

Create and Develop is for the creation and development of artistic work. That means that this project is focused on the creation, development, or research of an artistic work. This project will not result in something that will be shared with an audience or the general public at this time. It may eventually be shared publicly, but it is not part of the project timeline and goals for this grant application. Some examples: a research project, creating or developing new work, adapting previous work, pre-production, or production processes, etc.

Program and Present is for the sharing of artistic work. This project is focused on sharing your artistic work with the public, or raising awareness of your work, including marketing, and selling. This could involve the creation and production of artistic work all the way through to presenting it to an audience. This project will result in something that will be shared with an audience or the general public, either online or in-person, as part of the project timeline and goals for this grant application. Examples might be exhibitions, presentations, performances, releases, touring, programming, curation, publishing, distribution, dissemination, marketing or selling, etc.

If you applied to the project grant in previous years, you’ll notice that the last stream is new.

Grow and Adapt is for adapting or developing your artistic practice and career. One of the reasons we created this stream was in response to seeing interesting adaptive or experimental projects that don’t necessarily have a tangible product or outcome, which can be difficult to compare or evaluate alongside projects that do. This project is focused on the experimentation or development of new or adapted approaches to your practice or large-scale professional development. This project may not have an artistic outcome or clear end result, but there should be clear reasoning with potential for learning and change in your practice and career. Projects in this stream may have fewer clear boundaries around the work. Some examples could be an experimental process, general research around your practice, business training, developing business practices, or large-scale professional development opportunities.

To give a couple more specific examples for this new stream: perhaps you want to experiment with different hybrid processes to share your work, but the goal isn’t necessarily about the work itself, but rather the platforms and approaches that you’re testing. Maybe you’re looking to adapt stage work for the screen and the goal is to have the time and space to figure out if it’s even possible or ideal for you, and the result could be that it’s not. Maybe you’re interested in setting up a long-term mentorship project with someone where the goal isn’t about making or sharing new work, but really about the development of certain skills, knowledge, or relationships.

I want to make a quick note here as well. If you are proposing a professional development or business development project that is under $5,000, we actually might recommend that you apply to the Artist Development Microgrant instead. That program has multiple intakes and deadlines throughout the year starting in mid-March going all the way through to November and it has a much faster turnaround time to get results for those grants.

I also want to emphasize that these streams are general buckets that are intended to help us manage volume by grouping projects that are more similar than not, together in assessment. These streams are not intended to lead you into thinking this is what CADA cares about and wants to see.

We are actually creating streams and project examples in response to what we see from you and trying to create containers to have meaningful conversations about different kinds of projects.

If you are having difficulty selecting a stream or you have a project idea and you don’t know where it fits, please reach out.

How to apply?

For those of you who have applied to CADA before, you are probably quite familiar with our old grant platform. However, we have just switched over to a new platform called Smart Simple. We made this switch for several reasons, all of which we feel will be more beneficial to applicants, assessors, and staff, but it will be a learning curve for staff especially so please be patient and gentle with us during this transition.

Individual artists who already had active accounts in our old system should have received an email notifying you of the switch and sharing instructions on how and where to login to the new system.

Basically, I believe you would use the email address that you previously used and select the forgot password option to reset your password and login to the new system. Later on we will be migrating historical information like past grant applications and past reports over to your new accounts.

For collectives, regardless of if you’ve applied to CADA before, collectives and new individual users, you will visit the new website and create a brand-new account. If you have questions or issues doing this, please reach out to us but we are hoping it’s relatively painless and straightforward.

The project grant and the microgrant applications will both run in the new platform.

When you log into the new system for the first time, the first thing you will want to do is update your profile.

Profiles will still ask for your current and up to date contact information like name, phone number, email and mailing address, but it will also now include things like your artistic practice statement and artist resume or CV, which I will share more on later. It will also ask for information about the artistic disciplines that you actively work in, your years of practice and a question about if you’re interested in serving on any assessment committees.

We’ve moved these particular items to the profile so that you don’t have to write, prepare and submit these things for every single grant application you submit to CADA. You can simply update this basic information about your practice whenever you need to. When you go to apply to a program like the project grant, simply make sure your profile is up to date, and then this information will automatically port over to your application.

Besides your profile information, here is a checklist of everything you’ll be asked to provide in the application.

You’ll include the name of your project, a one-sentence description of your project which acts as an identifier or label for your grant application. You’ll basically tell us here what you want to do with the grant in 25 words or less. So, an example might be to research and develop a new play and do a reading with a small group of peers for feedback in December, 2022.

You’ll select one of the three program streams that I talked about earlier. You’ll indicate the start and end date of your project and the amount you are requesting from this grant.

These are the meatier parts of the application. The three primary written parts of the application include the project description, artistic impact section and the community connection section. Each of these written pieces should fall between 150 to 450 words max.

Any word counts that you see in the application are simply guides and they should be considered the maximum, not necessarily the goal. If you do not need to use up the entire word count to make your case, don’t feel compelled to fill space. However, it’s important to provide enough information for assessors to understand your practice, activities and goals so be thoughtful, clear and specific. I cannot emphasize enough how much committees like a straightforward application that they don’t have to work hard to understand or connect the dots.

The next four items are all more directly related to planning: a project budget, budget support materials, a timeline and general support material. I’ll share more about each of these in the next sections.

Your artist statement is basically an introduction to you and your overall artistic practice and goals. Artist statements shouldn’t be overly long or difficult to understand. 100 to 300 words max is usually sufficient. It does not need to be a manifesto on your artistic practice, but rather a concise and helpful overview of your work and what’s most important to you.

It should demonstrate who you are, what you value, what kind of work you make, how you make it (things like processes or approaches) and why it is important to you.

Your artist statement will likely change over time as you and your practice do. Remember that context matters. The type of artist statement that you would submit to accompany a gallery show or as program notes is going to look different than the type of artist statement you would share in a grant application.

Remember that this introduction provides the most significant context for how assessors understand your practice and how your project connects to your practice.

As I mentioned this is now located in your profile and you can update it at any time.

Another piece that is now located in your profile is your resume or your curriculum vitae (CV).

An artistic resume or CV is a clear list of experiences relevant to your artistic practice. A resume or CV can be a helpful tool for assessors to view alongside your artist statement. It helps to give them a better understanding of your artistic practice, communities, experience, and history.

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. Typically, a date list format from most recent to least recent activities, split into like categories is the most common. Be sure to include important information such as dates, locations, and a very brief description of each experience, if it isn’t already apparent in the title.

Your resume might include things like education, training, workshops, residencies, works produced, commissions, awards, grants, past performances, exhibitions, media, professional affiliations, and the list goes on.

All that said, don’t let a resume intimidate you. There are many valuable experiences and entry points into a life and a career in the arts. It’s okay to have gaps in your practice or times where 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 helps people understand how you got here. A little bio or blurb at the beginning is okay, too.

Many artists have their resumes available on their websites which might be a helpful way to see different ways that they can be formatted, particularly for different disciplines.

If you are applying as a collective, include your collective CV that outlines your history of work together, and/or all the members’ individual resumes in a single pdf.

The first written section is the project description. This is where you will describe your project including what will occur, when it will take place, where it will take place and who is involved. Be clear, straightforward, and specific here.

When it comes to this section you may want to include some information or rationale for how you came to decide the who, what, when and where of your project. For example, why the dates you’ve chosen are the most feasible, how you came to decide the location or venue for your project, or why you’ve chosen to work with specific collaborators.

This should be a helpful, relatively detailed description of the project details, but keep in mind you’ll have a chance to dig deeper into the why and the how in the following sections.

Artistic Impact explores the impact on your work, practice, or discipline(s). This section is where you will describe your artistic goals for this project and what success will mean for you. How will this project impact your artistic work, practice, or discipline(s)?

Depending on your project, this section could include a variety of things. It might include specific artistic goals you have for the work itself or around your artistic processes and approaches. You could talk about specific goals that you have around skill development, learning or growth in your practice. You might talk about where you see yourself within an artistic community or the impact you see this project having within a particular discipline.

There are many types of artistic impacts so be sure to tell assessors what is most important to you and why. How will this project allow you to achieve your artistic goals?

Consider how you measure success, learning or impact? What is helpful and meaningful to capture given this project, given your goals, and given where you’re at in your practice?

Granters and funders don’t just want you to talk about how you will evaluate your work to tick a box. This is not about saying what you think we want to hear, but about defining what success actually means to you. Think about what your artistic goals are and how you will know if you’ve achieved them. It’s good to start thinking about this now as developing your own systems of evaluation can be highly beneficial to personal artistic growth and development and guiding your practice into the future.

Community Connection explores the impact on others during and after your project. This section is where you will describe the direct relationships or communities connected to this project.

When you think about community connection or relationships remember that this is also very broad. It could include artists, collaborators, partners, mentors, participants, or audiences. It could also refer to discipline-specific, or geographical, religious, or cultural communities, or perhaps communities that share a particular interest, value, aesthetic, or curiosity as an example.

What are your relationship or community goals for this project and what will success mean for you? How will this project impact your relationships or communities, either during or after completion of the project?

Keep in mind that depending on your specific project and the program stream, you may answer this question differently. Some projects may involve a lot of engagement and sharing with the public, while others may only have collaborators or mentors, while others may be quite solitary at this point in time, and that is okay. We deeply value how a project might allow you to better connect with your communities in the future, just as much as we care about how you might connect through the project itself.

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

For projects that are perhaps more solitary and don’t directly engage or involve other people, or they don’t have an element of sharing the work publicly yet, this is where you might describe your general relationship to different communities, who you make your work for, how you consider them during the creation process, or how this project might impact your ability or capacity to better connect, share and build your relationships, audiences or sense of community in the future.

Also, another reminder that if your proposed project intends to make work about or for a specific community, it will be really important to speak about your current relationships and connections to that community. For example, do you have personal lived experience, are you including and valuing those perspectives in a meaningful way, how are you engaging that community, are those involved being equitably compensated?

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. While quantity and numbers can tell a meaningful story, you might also be interested in qualitative measures like audience response, feedback you receive from a workshop or a mentor, or the way you felt experimenting with a new form of engagement or sharing. So consider what feels authentic to you.

Your project timeline should clearly show the committee how you will accomplish your project. Outline all important artistic and community-related tasks, events, activities, milestones, deadlines, and process periods.

Make sure you include dates, locations, who is involved and a description of each item if it isn’t apparent. Ensure you are including enough detail to clearly demonstrate what needs to happen, when and how.

It might be helpful to include some thought around why this is the most reasonable and feasible timeline for you and this project.

Please make note of things that are confirmed or pending where necessary. If something changes from pending to confirmed after you submit, please let us know as we might be able to update your application or let the assessment committee know, depending on where we are at in the process.

There is no standard template for your timeline. You can use any format you like so long as it’s converted into a pdf format when you upload it. Depending on your project, it might make sense to use a calendar format, a dated list format (for example, a list of the things you need to do each month, or each week), or you might use some sort of chart or diagram. The most important thing is that it’s clear, intuitive, and easy on the eyes.

We also recommend that you consider the current context of the pandemic and plan accordingly including any necessary considerations, safety measures or contingency plans, if applicable.

If you’ve applied to CADA’s programs in the past, you might remember that we had a standard budget template that you had to download separately and upload to your application. Now that we have moved to Smart Simple, the project budget is located directly in the application form online. I will show a screenshot of the new budget form with some examples in a moment.

Your budget will basically ask for a list of all relevant project expenses and a list of all relevant project revenue. Be sure to account for the entire scope of the project that you are applying for.

Each line item in your budget has a notes section that I strongly recommend using to give additional information about each expense or revenue item.

A common question we get regarding budgeting is should I apply for the maximum amount 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 grant program, and budget for what they realistically need to complete the activity. Imagine for yourself how that activity would run ideally, and then build your budget off that, rather than starting at the maximum and building backwards. If you go over the maximum amount, you’re able to request through this program, then you might either reconsider the scope of your activities, look for where you can reduce costs, or think about other funding to supplement your overall budget.

What if your proposed project costs more than the maximum amount available? If that is the case, you will need to show how you will fund the remaining expenses, either through fundraising, other grants, sponsorships, your own personal contribution, earned revenue like sales, in-kind donations, etc. Grants are just one option for supporting your project and its costs.

If you’re applying for additional funding outside of this program but it won’t be confirmed before the deadline, do your best to demonstrate that you have done the proper planning and mark that funding as pending.

Here are some examples of revenues and expenses within a very fake project budget that I just threw together, and it might not make a lot of sense. You will also notice that I struggled to fit everything onto one slide, but it will look much cleaner when you go online to fill out your own budget.

The system has expense categories that you select from a drop-down menu. I will say that we didn’t realize we could customize those, at this point in time, before the program launched. In the future we will customize those expenses to match what is eligible in that program but for now, there will be some general expense items. If you don’t see the expense item that you want, you can always select the Other expenses option and state what it is in the notes section like I did in this example for travel costs.

Please make sure you read the eligible expenses for this program in the guidelines since they don’t currently match the drop-down categories perfectly. In future programs we will work to customize this to make this easier for everyone.

You’ll select the general name of the project expense on the very far left, then you’ll enter the full amount for that expense and then you’ll use the notes section to clarify each line item. Show your calculations, estimations or provide descriptions. Assessors often wish budgets had more clarity and detail provided.

For example, indicate if something is purchased or rented. This is especially important for equipment since there is a cap on equipment purchases. If you’re outlining fees for different artists or other professionals you’re hiring, include their names, roles, and a breakdown of their payment. You can indicate if it is a flat rate, an hourly or weekly rate, a quote or if it’s based on a standard fee schedule like I did in this example with CARFAC artist fees.

If you’re requesting subsistence instead of an artist fee then show what it includes, how you calculated it and over what months it’s covering. I don’t have an example of subsistence in this budget but let us know if you have questions.

In the revenue section you will at the very least include the amount you are requesting from the CADA grant program. If you have other revenues, you can include them as well. In this example I have included an in-kind donation for materials. In-kind support refers to things that still have monetary value but are being donated or given to you for free; this could be rehearsal space, food, or volunteer hours, etc. I should clarify that it could be given to you for free or at a reduced rate so include that in your budget.

Your budget should balance to zero so that it is very clear how all the project expenses are being covered. As you enter dollar amounts into the template, it will automatically do the math for you.

Be sure to specify whether other revenues are confirmed or pending.

There will be two different support material areas. One is specifically for budget related support material and the other is for other types of general support material.

While support material is optional it is highly recommended. The support material you provide should be relevant and meaningful to your application.

There will be a list of the allowable file types and file sizes, but you should have plenty of room. The nice thing about the new grant platform is that you can now upload media files (audio, video, images) directly into the grant application online, and there will also be room for pdf documents.

The budget support items should help demonstrate your budget estimates. For example, research, quotes, standard fee schedules, correspondence that confirms rates, past examples of revenue, etc.

The general support material should include additional files or links that strengthen your case or help assessors understand more about your project or practice.

You might consider including things that demonstrate the quality of your artistic work, such as samples of work, documentation of previous projects, information about your artistic process, or background on your specific discipline.

You might include something to demonstrate your capacity to undertake the work, such as examples of previous projects, planning documents, support letters, mock-ups, or drafts for the project.

You might include something that demonstrates your research and planning around the project such as research findings, contracts, letters of confirmation or more detailed planning documents.

Or you might include things that demonstrate the partnerships or relationships you have related to this project, whether it be the CVs or bios of your collaborators, a letter of support from someone involved, confirmations or correspondence that shows a commitment or interest, etc.

Lastly, please be considerate of the committee’s time. Assessors will only be asked to review up to 10 minutes of support material for each applicant. They will be reading many applications so be respectful of how much additional material you include and be succinct. Direct their attention to the most important elements of what you’re sharing. For example, if a long video is included, direct the assessors to the most important 3 minutes to watch or if you’re a writer and you want to include a sample of your script, don’t include the entire script. Include an important excerpt instead.

All projects, regardless of the stream you apply to will be evaluated and funded based on these four criteria:

Artistic Impact: The application demonstrates a deep understanding of their artistic practice, artistic goals and what success will mean for them.

How the assessors understand what artistic impact means and how you are meeting this criterion, 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. Ensure that you’ve provided enough information and context for the assessors to draw these connections. It might seem obvious to you but if you can provide rationale or context, it helps fill in the gaps so that assessors don’t need to guess or make assumptions.

You should be able to be honest and show an awareness of where you are in your practice and career, where and how you fit in or even don’t fit into an artistic community or discipline, and what artistic quality, growth or success mean for you. Being able to recognize the challenges or barriers you may face as an artist can actually demonstrate potential, thoughtfulness and intentionality about the way that you undertake your work. It creates an opportunity to see how an investment in your practice might in fact leverage you into finding solutions to those challenges. While it is tempting to only paint a rosy picture to funders in a grant application, and we understand that, it’s actually helpful to demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to think about and reflect how you undertake your work or challenge your own assumptions. It shows the committee how you are well set up to steward a public investment in an effective way.

As you saw there is a specific section in the application where you will speak directly about Artistic Impact but keep in mind that assessors will be considering your application holistically, meaning there may be other parts of your application that speak to artistic impact more indirectly.

Community Connection: The application demonstrates a deep understanding of the relationships and communities connected to this project, their goals around this and what success will mean for them. This can include future relationships and connections, as well as those occurring during the project itself.

While we know that many artistic practices and projects may not necessarily put a focus on community engagement or relationships, we 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 this project or phase. 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 experiencing the work now or later. If the project doesn’t involve creating or sharing work at all, then how does this project support or impact your ability to deepen or grow your relationships and connections to your communities in the future?

Again, consider this criterion holistically in your application as well.

Planning: The application demonstrates a deep understanding of what is required to undertake the project.

While the application is considered holistically, the primary elements that will relate to this are your project description, budget, timeline, and some of your support material.

These planning pieces should clearly outline who you will work with, how you will work with them, what it will cost, how much time it will take, and what tasks and activities are required. You want to show that the project is achievable, well researched and supported.

The last one, Overall: The application has clear, detailed, and thoughtful responses and includes all 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.

This last criterion basically asks if the overall application has addressed the criteria of the program and if after reviewing the entire application there is a sense of confidence and trust in investing in this project. Assessors should not be left with lots of questions, confusion, or doubt. Every part of your application should work together to tell the same story and paint an authentic and complete narrative of who you are, what you want to do, how you will do it and why it’s important.

The assessors should be able to see a logical through line that connects your practice, project and goals to the overall criteria and goals of this program. They should feel that there is a clear sense of readiness and critical awareness within your application.

I recommend keeping all four of these criteria in your mind throughout the process of writing.

Based on the information you provide in your application, the assessors will rate the level to which they agree or disagree with each of the four program criteria we just covered: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree or Strongly Disagree.

Over the past few years, we have been adjusting our scoring to make it more clear what you are being evaluated on and how you might achieve a higher rated application. We have also been adjusting our scoring processes and tools to suit each specific program and incorporating feedback from applicants and assessors.

We’ve chosen to use descriptions and agreeance ratings this year rather than numbers or numerical scales in an attempt to tie the assessor evaluations more directly to the criteria of the program, which we believe should help prioritize investments.

You’ll notice the criteria and scoring approach intends to help you navigate how to approach your application, as well as how assessors are going to navigate personal bias around things like taste, aesthetic & process and focus more on scoring according to how well artists understands themselves, their communities, and their proposed project.

In this program we will be able to fund a minimum of 80 to 100 applications, and that would be if all the applicants requested the full amount. Since request levels will vary its likely we will be able to fund more than that.

However, it’s important to recognize that this is a program that will receive many more applications than we are reasonably able to support, as is the nature of most granting programs and the challenge for assessment committees.

The committees will discuss applications in a meeting facilitated by the program specialist; myself. I am responsible for facilitating these discussions and ensuring that the conversations are fair and appreciative, and that assessors are acting within the Group Agreements and the process outlined in the Terms of Reference and Guidelines.

The committee’s final scores will result in a list of projects recommended for funding. CADA staff will review these recommendations and finalize the funding list.

If there are applications that are assessed equally but insufficient funds in the grant budget to support these applications, projects proposed by artists belonging to an equity priority group will be prioritized, or in the case of a collective, where the majority are artists from equity priority groups.

Applicants will be invited to fill out a voluntary self-identification form directly in the grant application, however all questions are optional. Applicants that self-identify as belonging to one or more of these equity priority groups are automatically considered for this equity measure.

Responses to these questions in the voluntary self-identification form are not visible to assessors. Access to this information is limited to the research and impact team and the grant program staff at CADA. Information collected in this section also helps us track who is applying, identify gaps and ensure that grants are awarded in an equitable manner.

The equity priority groups identified for this program are Indigenous, Black, persons of colour Deaf persons, persons with disabilities, persons living with mental illness, 2SLGBTQIAP+ individuals.

For details on each of these groups, please refer to the equity priority group descriptions on our website which I will share the link to when I follow up.

What is the purpose of equity priority groups? As we shared earlier, CADA acknowledges that there are many barriers to access and full participation in our society, sector and in granting, which have historically disadvantaged some groups over others. In order to help address underserved communities who have experienced barriers to funding and access to opportunities in our sector, we have identified these equity priority groups and adopted this specific measure.

These priorities and descriptions were adapted from the Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Framework and we are really grateful to them for their work in this area.

Equity priority groups, processes, policies, and measures will continue to change and be adapted as needed based on ongoing evaluation, community engagement and feedback, and many more things.

This is an iterative process that is intended to be responsive.

Some general grant tips:

Remember that you are not expected to be everything to everyone, and your application will not benefit from trying to write or represent yourself in a way that you think assessors might want to see.

Using plain language rather than academic language or ‘artist speak’ is often clearer and more concise.

Avoid jargon or technical language, remembering that the assessment committee will be made up of people from many different practices and experiences. Don’t assume that they will understand your specific practice or language. If you are speaking about something that is unique to your discipline or practice, be sure to define it.

Assessors really appreciate being able to easily read and understand an application since they are reading so many.

Be authentic to where you are in your practice and career. Having an appreciative sense of what gaps, challenges, or barriers you might experience in your work and how you might move through those demonstrates capacity, awareness, and potential.

Do your research. Make sure that you can back up what you are stating in your application. It is also helpful to have someone who may not be familiar with your discipline, or your work read your application. The questions they ask might uncover some gaps or assumptions you’re making in the story that you are telling. It can also be useful to have someone very well versed in a particular discipline or who has previous experience looking at your application for any red flags or gaps in planning or budgeting.

Start this process early. Give yourself time to put your project into writing, to leave it, reflect on it, to come back to it with fresh eyes, or to gather support material, which might depend on getting a letter of confirmation or support from someone else. You want to ensure you’re putting in an application for the project that you’ve done the best planning for. So don’t rush, start early, and submit early if you can.

This is the second last slide: What about taxes? I left the fun stuff for last.

It is important to consider the tax implications of receiving a grant.

If you are an individual or receiving a grant on behalf of a collective of artists, and you receive more than $500 from CADA in a single calendar year, we are required to issue a T4A Form for the full amount you received in that year. According to the CRA, Canada Revenue Agency, our grants to individual artists are considered artist grants and are entered in Line 105 of the T4A tax slip.

When filing your taxes, you may deduct all reasonable grant expenses related to your project from the total grant amount. In order to show the amounts of the grant that were spent on materials, rentals, paying other artists, etc. you must track all of your expenses, keep your receipts, contracts, and have written proof of payment to artists, so that you can properly deduct them. The CRA may request these things if you are audited. Keep in mind, this does not include your own artist fee, which is taxable income. Other expenses, such as subsistence or living expenses related to your primary residence, and expenses which can be reimbursed, may not be able to be deducted.

Our FAQ page has some information and resources about taxes; however, we are not able to offer official tax advice, so we highly recommend that you consult a tax professional or accountant when planning your grant applications and preparing your taxes each year.

Here is the contact info for this program again.

Thank you so much for listening. I know that was a long presentation and that now concludes the presentation.

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