Guidelines: Artist Opportunity Grant Program 2018

Guidelines: Artist Opportunity Grant Program 2018

Deadline: January 29, 2018, 4:30pm MST
Applications Open:
December 13, 2017

This program invests in professional development opportunities for individual professional artists (1) in Calgary (2), allowing them to take advantage of short-term opportunities that will develop their careers. Please note that this will be the final intake for the Artist Opportunity Grant, which will be replaced by the new Individual Artist Program.

Please read the following guidelines before starting your application.

Who can apply?

We consider a professional artist (3) to be one who:

  • Has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions).
  • Is recognized as a professional by their peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition).
  • Is committed to devoting time to artistic activity.
  • Has had at least one presentation or publication within a professional context.

What defines a professional context can be different for all disciplines; generally speaking this does not include:

  • Work within a degree-granting program.
  • Presentations or publications of a university or post-secondary institution.

We welcome applications from those working in all artistic disciplines and their various cultural forms, including: Indigenous arts; circus arts; craft arts; curation; dance; deaf and disability arts; digital arts; literature; film and media arts; multidisciplinary practice; music and sound; theatre; and visual arts.

Artists may apply to participate in opportunities to which their groups or collectives have been invited, but must focus on the impact to their own distinct practices and careers.

If you are seeking an opportunity directly related to your ongoing work with an arts organization, please show that the organization has also invested in your opportunity to an appropriate level.

Any single applicant may only receive one Artist Opportunity Grant per calendar year.

If you have any questions about eligibility and your practice, don’t hesitate to contact us!

(1) This program is not intended to support amateur artists or arts administrators.
(2) Applicants living outside of Calgary may apply if they can demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a majority of activities that contribute to the Calgary arts community and are accessible to Calgarians.
(3) Adapted from the Canada Council for the Arts.

What can you apply for?

This program can cover expenses related to a unique professional opportunity, to a maximum of $2,500. If the overall expenses are higher than this amount, you must show how you will cover the remainder.

Opportunities more than halfway complete by the time of a given deadline are not eligible.

What is an Opportunity?

An opportunity is a unique experience that significantly develops your artistic practice and/or career.

This program is focused on types of learning that happen outside of when you are creating, producing and practicing your art form. So rather than the output of your work itself, this program can support the development of the skills, knowledge and relationships that make it possible to do your work.

Use the following checklist to know whether your opportunity fits the program:

  • You have not experienced anything similar to this in your career or practice.
  • The opportunity teaches or provides something you would not be able to receive as effectively on your own.
  • What you might experience could significantly transform your career or the way you practice art.

Need Help?

Contact the Community Investment Team at or 403.476.2031 if you have specific questions about your application up to 48 hours before a deadline. In some cases staff will send a submitted application back to draft and notify the applicant if it is incomplete, both before and sometimes after the deadline.


This program is meant to help remove barriers that might make it harder to access an important opportunity.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Fees for registration, or for program materials.
  • Professional fees and services, except as specified below.
  • Reasonably priced accommodations outside of Calgary.
  • Costs to prepare existing work for presentation.
  • Per diems for food, transit, transportation.
  • Child care.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss any other expenses not listed above.

This program is not intended to support:

  • Creation of new and ongoing work, completely self-directed opportunities, or curatorial projects.
  • Professional artist fees.
  • Post-secondary degree-granting programs.
  • Purchase of equipment costing more than $500 and not directly related to the opportunity.

How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted online through Calgary Arts Development’s grant interface.

Applications must be submitted before 4:30pm MST on January 29, 2018. Late applications will not be accepted. Extensions may be provided upon request in certain circumstances in advance of a deadline. Consult the Deadline Extension Policy below for more information.

The funding available for this intake will be $30,000.

Notifications are generally sent out within one month of the deadline, depending on the number of applications received. If your opportunity falls within this timeframe, please show how you will be able to access the opportunity regardless of funding through this program.

Application Checklist

  • Contact information.
  • Resume/CV, including dates and descriptions of experiences, especially those related to training, professional presentation and those relevant to the professional development of your practice and career. Please list experiences within a professional context separately from others.
  • Briefly describe your artistic practice in terms of how you make your work and what is important to you (100 words max). Alternately, you may upload an existing artist statement with the same max word count.
  • Uniqueness: Describe the opportunity, when and where it takes place. Describe the relationship between your opportunity and your practice as you described it. Be specific and speak to previous experiences (300 words max).
  • Growth: How might this opportunity lead to significant change in your practice or career? (300 words max).
  • Timeline for opportunity. Also, if the opportunity begins before you receive the results from your AOG application, how will you access it?
  • Budget for opportunity. Account for the entire scope of the opportunity. If your overall expenses exceed $2,500, explain how you will cover additional costs. Use the notes section to clarify line items and specify whether other revenue or in-kind support is confirmed or pending. Download and complete the Budget Template.
  • Support Material. Attach files or links that are related to your opportunity and help strengthen your case, such as letters of invitation, documentation related to expenses, materials describing the opportunity, and so on (up to four attachments, each with a maximum size of 4MB; PDF, JPG, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX file types only).
  • Reference: Provide the name and contact information of one professional peer that can speak to your practice. No formal support letter from this individual is necessary.

Criteria and Assessment

The Assessment Committee for the Artist Opportunity Grant will be comprised of peer assessors from the artistic community. Please refer to the Assessment Committee Terms of Reference for more information about the assessment process.

The assessment committee will assess applications on the following non-aesthetic criteria:

  • Uniqueness: Will what is experienced be unique in the context of the artist’s career? (30%)
  • Growth: Can the opportunity significantly enhance the artist’s practice or career, or further their artistic goals? (40%)
  • Planning: Has the opportunity been effectively planned and budgeted? (30%)

Conditions of Grant and Reporting

Successful applications will be required to sign and a return investment agreement within 30 days of notification to receive funding. Calgary Arts Development will provide a T4A for this grant. For information about tax requirements, please refer to the CRA Guidelines for artist grants.

A Final Report is due within 90 days of the end of the term of that agreement:

  • How has the way you practice art changed since the opportunity? (100 words)
  • Rate the change to your practice on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high).
  • How has your career been enhanced since the opportunity? (100 words)
  • Rate the level of career enhancement on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)
  • Provide an updated budget with actuals. Applicants should be prepared to submit receipts upon request.

Deadline Extension Policy

Calgary Arts Development intends its granting process to be open, fair and transparent.

Calgary Arts Development has a responsibility to the citizens of Calgary to ensure the security and value of their investments.

For clients who intend to submit applications but will miss the deadline, a written request for extension must be received by Calgary Arts Development before the deadline.

Requests not received in time will result in ineligibility for that granting period. The request must state the reason(s) the application deadline cannot be met. Acceptable reasons may include:

  • Personal health or family crisis
  • Birth or death of a family member
  • Unforeseen personal priority

Calgary Arts Development staff will review the request for extension. If in Calgary Arts Development’s sole discretion the reason for the extension is compelling, a deadline extension will be granted. A written notice explaining Calgary Arts Development’s decision will be sent to the applicant. Extensions will only be granted if doing so will not materially affect the planned assessment process.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Calgary Arts Development, in its sole discretion, may grant an extension in extenuating circumstances.


Consult the Investment Program FAQ for answers to common questions about the program.

Our team is here to support you! If you have any questions about the program contact the Community Investment team at or 403.476.2031.

Download Guidelines as a PDF

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