Guidelines: Artist Development Microgrant

Guidelines: Artist Development Microgrant

March 7, 2022: Full guidelines and intake timeline published
March 14, 2022: Applications open
May 2, 2022: Intake one application cut-off
July 4, 2022: Intake two application cut-off
September 6, 2022: Intake three application cut-off
November 7, 2022: Intake four application cut-off
Download Program Guidelines as a PDF

Applications must be submitted by 4:30pm MT on the cut-off date to be assessed in that intake. Notification of results and fund disbursement will occur within three weeks of the cut-off date. If you have any questions or need any help with completing an application, please contact us as soon as possible so we can get you what you need.

We are expecting a large number of applications to the program so it would be great to get your application in early to be evaluated by the assessors in case they have any additional questions about your application. Please see the Deadline Extension Policy for information about extensions.

Please refer to each section below for important program details. We also recommend reviewing the Investment Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before applying.

This program is intended to support professional and business development activities for individual artists and artist collectives. The goal of the program is to contribute to the skills and knowledge required to advance artists’ careers and develop artistic practices in Calgary (known as Mohkínsstsisi in Blackfoot).

Applicants may apply for up to $5,000. If applications from artist collectives include expenses related to individual members’ participation, such as travel or course fees, the requested amount may exceed $5,000 on approval from Calgary Arts Development staff.

Total funding available for this program is $325,000.

We will accept applications in four intakes throughout the year. Activities funded through this program must be completed within six months of grant notification. Please read the When Should You Apply section below, for more details.

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Nations—Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai; and also acknowledge the Beaver people of the Tsuut’ina and the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley bands of the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, the Métis People of Region 3, and Indigenous peoples who make the Treaty 7 region their home.

As part of our responsibility to Calgarians to ensure equitable access to public funding, Calgary Arts Development is dedicated to addressing and working to eliminate institutional inequity in our programs, policies, and practices. We also acknowledge that our actions—both conscious and unconscious, past and present—have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for others including Indigenous communities, Black communities, persons of colour, persons with disabilities, Deaf communities, as well as persons with diverse sexual orientations or gender identities.

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, Calgary Arts Development’s community investment team is accountable to ensuring that lines of communication are welcoming, clear, and open, and that the scoring process is fair and deeply considerate. We will work one-on-one with applicants who experience barriers to access to develop accommodations that suit their unique abilities and situations and continually seek to learn and address inequities in our programs and processes. We have also identified equity priority groups and adopted a specific equity measure for some of our programs. To learn more about this please see the Assessment section below.

We recognize that barriers within the arts community exist, particularly for equity seeking communities, and that there are many unique entry points into an artistic practice and career in the arts. If you are unsure about eligibility, please reach out to discuss this with the program specialist before applying.

Calgary Arts Development is committed to open, fair, and transparent processes. If you have any questions, want feedback on your application or if it’s your first time applying, please don’t hesitate to contact us for support. While we may not be able to meet in person at this time, our team is available to provide support over the phone, through email, or through the use of audio and video platforms.

Please see the Investment Program FAQ for answers to common questions, and contact the program specialist as early as you can to ensure they can provide the best support possible. Staff can provide feedback on your application up to one week before application deadlines.

There are two policies available for potential applicants who may need accommodations or assistance to apply to this program such as translating program guidelines and applications. These policies are available to potential applicants even if they decide not to apply to the program.

  • An Accommodation & Accessibility Policy is available for potential applicants who experience barriers to access, to develop accommodations that suit their abilities and situations.
  • The Application Assistance Policy provides financial support for eligible applicants to alleviate some of the costs associated with preparing and submitting an application.

This program is open to individual artists and individuals who work in artist collectives.

Please note that this program cannot accept individual applications from arts administrators or cultural workers. This program cannot support registered not-for-profit organizations or registered for-profit corporations or businesses.

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, Deaf/deaf arts, digital arts, disability arts, film, Indigenous arts, literature, media arts, multidisciplinary practice, music and sound, performance, theatre, and visual arts.

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. If you are not based in Calgary, please contact your program specialist to discuss your relationship with Calgary before applying.

We acknowledge that there are many artists who are new to the city of Calgary and may not be familiar with grant programs, eligibility or receiving funds from a public funder. It’s important to note that you do not need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in order to receive a grant, but you do need to be able to report on this grant to Canada Revenue Agency. If you are a newcomer, immigrant or refugee artist and have questions or concerns, please know that our program staff are available to help navigate your unique circumstances and provide support.

  • An applicant may only apply for one opportunity or phase of development.
  • We will only accept one application per individual or collective, per intake.
  • You may only receive one Artist Development Microgrant per year as either an individual or collective. For example, if you receive a microgrant as an individual artist in intake one, you may not apply as a core member of an artist collective in intake two.
  • Applicants who are not successful in their application may apply for the next intake as long as the activity still meets eligibility requirements.
  • You may not receive funding from more than one Calgary Arts Development program for the same project or phase of a project.
  • You may not apply to this program if you have final reports past their due date for prior grants.
  • Beginning in January 2023, you may not have more than four open grants with Calgary Arts Development, 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.

For a glossary of terms and more important information about eligibility, please refer to the Investment Program FAQ. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact the program specialist.

This program can fund activities related to the development of an artist’s professional artistic practice and career. This program cannot fund activities primarily focused on the creation and production of artistic work.

Eligible activities may include:

  • Professional and artistic skill development through training, mentorship, experimentation, etc.
  • Business development including knowledge building in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, etc.
  • Career development including the development of platforms to share and sell work, the development of audiences and artistic networks, etc.

Activities funded through this program must be completed within six months of grant notification. Please read the When Should You Apply section below, for more details.

Eligible Expenses

Funds from this program are intended to support expenses related to accessing opportunities, such as:

  • Accessibility expenses
  • Course fees (for individual courses which do not count toward the pursuit of a credit, diploma or degree granting program)
  • Documentation
  • Honorariums
  • Materials (must be necessary for accessing the specific development opportunity)
  • Marketing, publicity or outreach
  • Per diems (fixed daily rate for lodging, meals and incidentals while not at your primary residence)
  • Purchase of equipment, including hardware and permanent software (up to $2,000 maximum—must be directly related to your proposed development activities)
  • Professional fees (e.g., fees paid to individuals offering professional services such as web design, publicity or marketing, financial, accounting or legal services, etc.)
  • Rental of equipment or space
  • Subsistence expenses (e.g., rent, food, child care, etc. This must be necessary for accessing the specific development opportunity)
  • Technical fees (e.g., web service fees, licensing fees etc.)
  • Travel expenses

Please note that eligible project expenses for this program may not be considered deductible project expenses by the Canada Revenue Agency. Please consult the CRA guidelines when creating your project budget.

Ineligible Expenses

Funds from this program are not intended to support the following:

  • Artist fees
  • Lost wages or salaries
  • Purchase of or financial contribution towards equipment, land, or buildings over a total of $2,000 (capital expenditures)
  • Purchase of any equipment not directly related to the project
  • Tuition, or other costs related to the pursuit of post-secondary degree or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs

Ineligible Activities

This program is not intended to support the following:

  • Activities that have already received funding from another Calgary Arts Development grant program.
  • Activities related to post-secondary or credit, degree, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs.
  • Fundraising activities (e.g., activities undertaken for the purpose of raising funds on behalf of a political party or charity).
  • Contests and competitions (e.g., grant funding cannot be re-granted in the form of prizes or awards).
  • Activities that do not comply with or respect cultural protocols.
  • Activities that use or present Indigenous cultural material, traditional knowledge, or stories without permission from the community.
  • Activities that promote hatred or intolerance.
  • Activities that are illegal or contravene provincial or federal law.
  • Activities related to campaigning for a specific political candidate or party in an election.

Please note that the eligible and ineligible expenses and activities listed are given as examples and are not exclusive.

Please review the following table to better understand when to apply, based on when your activities will occur.

Intake Submit Application Between Notifications By For Activities That Occur Between
#1 March 14 – May 2, 2022 (4:30pm MT) May 23, 2022 March 14, 2022 – November 30, 2022
#2 May 2 – July 4, 2022 (4:30pm MT) July 25, 2022 May 2, 2022 – January 31, 2023
#3 July 4 – September 6, 2022 (4:30pm MT) September 27, 2022 July 4, 2022 – March 31, 2023
#4 September 6 – November 7, 2022 (4:30pm MST) November 28, 2022 September 6, 2022 – May 31, 2023

Please ensure that you apply to an intake period where, if successful, your activities will occur within the date range indicated above, which is up to six months from the notification date.

Applicants whose activities fall into the date range for future intakes may be rolled over in order to prioritize applicants whose activities occur earlier in the year. Exceptions may be made for applications that can demonstrate a clear need to apply early (for example, if a confirmed opportunity must be paid for well ahead of when the actual opportunity will occur).

If you have an extraordinary circumstance, please reach out to the program specialist to discuss if you can apply to an earlier intake period.

If an application is not recommended for funding by the committee, you may reapply to the next intake, so long as your activity still falls within the eligible date range for that intake, and you book a 30-minute meeting with the program specialist to discuss your application before resubmitting.

Assessors will rate the level to which they agree or disagree with each of the program criteria listed in the section below, based on the information provided in the application.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
Program Criteria
  1. The application demonstrates a clear set of goals and a deep understanding of why these activities are important to the artist at this stage of their practice/career.
  2. The application demonstrates a deep understanding of what is required to undertake the project. This is demonstrated by a clear, achievable, well-researched and supported project description and budget.
  3. The application includes all the relevant information required to create overwhelming trust and confidence that the activities will be completed as described, and the applicant will reach their goals.

In the event of a tie, priority may be given based on the following considerations:

  • Opportunities that are fully confirmed.
  • Opportunities that are urgent or time sensitive.
  • Opportunities from equity priority groups.

Applications to the program will be evaluated by an independent arm’s-length assessment committee made up of artist peers and community members. The membership of the peer assessment committee will be chosen through public nominations and staff expertise.

Anyone can ask to participate on a Calgary Arts Development assessment committee by completing the assessor nomination form or by emailing

Assessment Committees

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.

  • Seven-Member Committee: A recommending committee of seven members will be created for the year to evaluate this program.
  • Committee Membership: Individual artists and arts workers with experience and knowledge from a variety of artistic disciplines and practices, who actively participate in, experience, and advocate for the work of the arts community.

Assessors are required to declare conflicts of interest according to the Conflict of Interest Policy. Calgary Arts Development thinks of conflicts of interest as close family members, people who are involved in the activity being applied for or where there is a real or perceived financial benefit. If in doubt, assessors are encouraged to talk with Calgary Arts Development staff. If a committee member has applied to the program or declared a conflict of interest, they will not assess those specific applications or be present for any discussions of those applications.

Committee members must review, understand, and adhere to the Terms of Reference, the program guidelines, and to Calgary Arts Development’s Group Agreements.

Assessment Process

Within each intake period, assessment committees will review applications in the online granting interface and evaluate each application according to the criteria outlined in the Program Criteria & Scoring section of the guidelines.

Calgary Arts Development staff will download assessor evaluations into a scoresheet for the committee to review their overall recommendations together in a meeting facilitated by the program specialist. Each criteria statement will be weighted equally. The score assigned to each rating will be consistent across all criteria statements (e.g.: ‘Strongly Agree’ will always equal the same number of points). Calgary Arts Development staff will review the committee’s final recommendations and finalize the funding list.

Calgary Arts Development reserves the right to adjust assessment processes and the program timeline due to application volume. Applicants and assessors will be notified if significant changes occur.

The equity priority groups identified for this program are Indigenous, Black, persons of colour, Deaf persons, persons with disabilities, persons living with mental illness, and 2SLGBTQIAP+ individuals. For details on each of these equity priority groups, please refer to the equity priority group descriptions.

Calgary Arts Development has adapted these priorities and descriptions from the Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Framework. We are grateful to the Toronto Arts Council for their work in this area.

Applicants will be asked to fill out a voluntary self-identification form, 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 are not visible to assessors. Access to this information is limited to the research and impact team and the grant program staff at Calgary Arts Development.

Voluntary self-identification information may be used in aggregate to:

  • Generate statistics to measure how well Calgary Arts Development’s programs are reaching members of equity groups.
  • Ensure there is diverse representation in the membership of peer assessment committees and grant review panels.
  • Gather information to help Calgary Arts Development design, review, evaluate and improve its programs.
  • Plan outreach activities.
  • Report to Calgary Arts Development’s board and committees.

Please see the Disclosure of Grant Information Policy for information about how Calgary Arts Development collects and uses information submitted through grant applications.

Calgary Arts Development is transitioning to a new grant platform over the course of 2022. The Artist Development Microgrant will be one of the first programs to run in the new system. The link to the new grant platform is available, however the application for this program will not be available until the program opens on March 14, 2022.

Applicants must create a user profile in order to apply. Artist collectives must create a collective account that is separate from their individual account in the grant interface and apply through their collective account. Program staff have already begun to transition existing applicants into the new system, and will be available to provide support. We appreciate your patience through this process.

Please contact with any questions or technical issues.

Further information about each section of the application can be found in the application form in the grant interface.

  • Artistic Practice Statement (100 – 300 words)
  • Artistic Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Voluntary Self-Identification Form
  • Brief Description (25 words or less)
  • Funding Request (up to $5,000)
  • Start and End Date
  • Written Section (300 – 600 words)
    • Describe what you want to do, when and where it will take place, who will be involved, how it will happen and why it’s important to you.
    • Please speak about your goals and intended outcomes.
  • Budget
    • Fill out the budget template. Include all relevant expenses and revenues.
    • Use the notes section to describe each item in more detail, show calculations, etc.
  • Support Material (upload)
    • Include materials that will support your application such as confirmations, letters of acceptance, budget support (quotes, rates), course descriptions, bios, research, etc.
    • Note: Assessors will only review up to 5 minutes of support material per application.

Applicants will be notified of their results by email. Successful applicants will be sent an investment agreement via Docusign and are required to sign and return the agreement within 30 days of receiving it in order to receive funding.

We use electronic fund transfers to make grant payments. If your application is approved, you will be required to provide a void cheque or direct deposit form with your banking information. Please let us know if you need any help with this.

Calgary Arts Development will provide a T4A tax form for individuals who receive more than $500 in total during the 2022 tax year. This includes the primary applicant who may be representing a collective of artists. Please note that you must have a valid Canadian Social Insurance Number or Individual Tax Number to receive this grant. If you have any questions about tax requirements for artist grants, it is a good idea to discuss these with a tax professional or consult Canada Revenue Agency guidelines. There is also additional tax information in our Investment Program FAQ.

Successful grantees will be required to complete a brief final report to share learnings and how the grant benefited their practice and communities. Final reports are due 30 days after the project end date.

In your final report, we would like to know:

  • What you accomplished and how this changed or helped your goal. We are curious about any learnings or changes from your original proposal.
  • How the grant funds were spent. You’ll be asked to share an updated budget with actuals. Please keep receipts and invoices for tax purposes. You may also be asked to provide them.
  • Optional: Please share any materials that resulted from your activities, such as images, website links, video or audio material, written samples, etc.
  • Optional: Anything else you’d like to share with Calgary Arts Development.

Successful applicants may also be invited to participate in optional surveys, research, and peer-to-peer learning. Please contact with any questions about reporting requirements.

Please note that Calgary Arts Development staff are continuing to work remotely. If you have any questions about this program please review the Investment Program FAQ page and contact Taylor Poitras, Specialist, Individuals and Collectives Programs, at o403.264.5330 ext.215.

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