Guidelines: Original Peoples Investment Program 2024

Guidelines: Original Peoples Investment Program 2024

June 19, 2024: Full guidelines published
July 3, 2024: Applications open
September 18, 2024: Application deadline (no applications accepted after 4:30pm MT)
October – November 2024: Evaluation of grants
Late November 2024: Notification of results
December 2024 – January 2025: Funds distributed

Applications must be submitted by 4:30pm MT on the deadline date. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible. Please see the Deadline Extension Policy for information about extensions.

Need help applying?

Calgary Arts Development is committed to open, fair and transparent processes. We understand that our programs and processes create barriers to access for many artists and organizations who want to apply. In recognition of these barriers, our Applicant Support & Accessibility Policy is available for applicants who may need support from program staff, or financial assistance to access support from someone outside of Calgary Arts Development.

If you have questions, please contact either of the program specialists responsible for this program, Richelle BearHat at richelle.bearhat@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 125 as soon as possible. Staff can provide feedback on your application up to 10 business days before application deadlines.

Please refer to each section below for important program details. You will find links to all our policies and other information at the end of this document. We also recommend reviewing the Investment Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before applying.

This program is intended to provide one-time project funding to individual artists, collectives, and Indigenous-led and -centred arts organizations in Treaty 7.

The Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP) supports the development, preservation and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) art through art-based projects that are supported and validated by FNMI artists, community, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. We recognize and support both traditional and contemporary Indigenous artists and arts practices. This program is developed and validated annually with the support of our Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Projects can begin before the application deadline, but they cannot be fully completed before the application deadline of September 18, 2024. Projects funded through this program must be completed by March 18, 2026.

Individual artists may apply for up to $20,000, artist collectives may apply for up to $25,000, and Indigenous arts organizations may apply for up to $30,000.

Total funding available for this program is $650,000.

We acknowledge that the land we gather on, Mohkinsstsis, is the ancestral territory of the Siksikaitsitapi — the Blackfoot people — comprising the Siksika, Kainai and Piikani Nations, as well as Treaty 7 signatories, the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Îyârhe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations. Today this land is home to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government Districts 5 and 6 as well as many First Nations and Inuit from across Turtle Island.

Calgary Arts Development is committed to the process of eliminating institutional racism, ableism and barriers in our programs, policies and practices. We are putting this into action by centring the creativity and leadership of those communities most impacted by structural inequities. Read our full Commitment to Equity statement on our website.

This program is open to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) individual artists, FNMI artist collectives, and Indigenous-led and centred art organizations practicing and operating in the Treaty 7 region in any artistic discipline.

This program is also open to projects from FNMI cultural workers, arts administrators and curators (as long as they are the lead artist/organizer for the creative process and artistic vision).

Please review the full definitions for each below to ensure eligibility before applying:

Individual Artists:

  • Individual artists applying to this program must have a serious dedication towards developing and sharing their career and work.
  • Artists may have formal or community-based training including, but not limited to, apprenticeships, sustained relationships and learning from elders/artist mentors, and/or post-secondary education. We value all ways of knowing, learning and developing an artistic practice.
  • Artists have shared, or are actively striving to share, their work publicly and be compensated for their work.
  • Artists do not need to be working professionally in the arts full-time.

Artist Collectives:

  • We consider an artist collective to be two or more individual artists who work together in either an ongoing or casual way, who have a shared artistic practice that is distinct from their own individual artistic practices. Collectives need to define their collective practice, vision, goals and processes in order to demonstrate that collective members have equal and shared ownership and accountability for the vision, success and completion of the proposed project or activities.
  • A majority of collective members must be Treaty 7 based artists (i.e. 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.

If most of the collective membership are not FNMI artists, a conversation should be initiated with either program specialist responsible for this program to determine eligibility. Please contact either Richelle BearHat at richelle.bearhat@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 125 to discuss. Eligibility will be determined based on whether the Indigenous artist(s) are leading and guiding the proposed project.

Cultural Workers:

  • For the purposes of our programs, ‘cultural workers’ refers to individuals who make their living in the arts and cultural sector and contribute to the success of an artist or organization’s artistic work in a creative or technical capacity, but who are not necessarily leading the artistic vision of the work being created. This might include production team members such as a costume designer or cutter, sound designer/operator, set designer, lighting designer/operator, etc.
  • We will consider applications from cultural workers for their own professional development and learning, or for independent projects where they are the lead artist for the creative process. The project should be focused on their own artistic practice, vision and goals.

Arts Administrators & Curators:

  • FNMI Arts Administrators refers to individuals who facilitate programming within cultural organizations. In this case, the arts administrator must have their own independent project they are wanting to pursue independently of an arts organization such as; taking a professional development course or undergoing research projects of their own accord.
  • Curators must also have their own project independent of an arts organization they are wanting to pursue, such as curating an independent show, pursuing research for future shows, undergoing curatorial residencies, etc.

Indigenous-led and -centred Arts Organizations:

  • Indigenous-led and -centred non-profit Arts Organizations applying to this program must have a serious dedication towards developing and sharing their artistic work and organizational mandate.
  • Indigenous Arts Organizations should have a mandate to serve the Indigenous arts community and be led by FNMI people.
  • This program cannot fund incorporated for-profit businesses. If your organization is not registered as a non-profit society, please reach out to program specialists to discuss eligibility.

If the arts organization’s membership and staff are not entirely FNMI people, a conversation should be initiated with either program specialist responsible for this program to determine eligibility. Eligibility will be determined based on how organizational decisions are made, how this process is undertaken, who is being called to the decision-making table, and who is leading the work.

Other Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants may submit only one application per program deadline.
  • We will not accept more than one application from the same account on the online grant platform. This means that individual artists must apply using their individual account, artist collectives must apply using their collective account and arts organizations must apply through their organizational account.
  • A project may only be submitted by one applicant per program deadline. This means that multiple members of a group cannot submit for the same project to the same program deadline.
  • We cannot fund the same phase of a project more than once (regardless of calendar year) so please ensure you are planning larger projects ahead of time and clearly outlining the phase of work you are applying for. As long as the phases of a project are distinct, you may apply for a future Calgary Arts Development grant to support the next distinct phase of the work.
  • You may reapply for the same project if a previous application was unsuccessful, regardless of calendar year.
  • You may not apply to this program if you have any final reports past their due date for prior grants.
  • As of January 2024, you may not have more than two open grants with Calgary Arts Development, including grants for which a deadline extension has been approved. For more information, please review the Open Grant Policy.

Applicants may apply to this program for one project, or one distinct phase of a project. Projects should have a clear start and end date, with a specific set of activities, processes and goals.

Please ensure you are clear about what phase of the work you are applying for, especially for larger or longer-term projects that may have multiple stages or phases. If you have questions about your project phases, please contact a program specialist.

Projects may include:

  • Research: research projects to inform your artistic work, processes, approaches, etc.
  • Creation or production of work: the creation and development of new work, adaptations of previous work, experimentation, etc.
  • Professional development and learning: participating in courses, classes, workshops, residencies, trainings, mentorships, apprenticeships, internships, networking and industry events, conferences, etc.
  • Presenting or sharing work with the public: sharing, distributing or selling your work through exhibitions, installations, events, presentations, performances, touring, releases, publishing, etc.
  • Marketing and promotion: activities related to publicity and outreach, the branding, promotion and marketing of your work and artistic practice, networking and industry events, etc.

If you have questions about other potential project activities, please contact program staff to discuss before applying.

Projects can begin before the application deadline of September 18, 2024, but they cannot be fully completed before the application deadline of September 18, 2024. Projects funded through this program must be complete by March 18, 2026.

Individual artists may apply for up to $20,000, artist collectives may apply for up to $25,000, and Indigenous arts organizations may apply for up to $30,000.

Eligible Expenses

Funds from this program may go towards almost any expenses that are directly related to your project and its goals, for example:

  • Elder and knowledge keeper fees
  • Expenses related to protocol and ceremony
  • Accessibility expenses
  • Artist fees
  • Childcare
  • Course fees (for individual courses which do not count toward the pursuit of a credit, diploma or degree-granting program)
  • Documentation
  • Honorariums
  • Materials
  • Marketing, promotion, publicity or outreach
  • Per diem (a fixed daily rate for meals and incidentals while not at your primary residence — for example, to participate in a professional development opportunity)
  • Accommodation (while not at your primary residence)
  • Purchase of equipment, including hardware and permanent software (must be specific and directly related to the completion and success of your project no maximum)
  • Professional fees (for example, fees paid to individuals offering professional services such as web design, publicity or marketing, financial, accounting or legal services)
  • Rental of space
  • Rental of equipment
  • Subsistence expenses (ongoing monthly expenses such as rent, utilities, food, etc.)
  • Technical fees (for example, web service fees, licensing fees)
  • Travel expenses (for example, flights, mileage/gas, taxis, uber or transit costs)

Please note that some eligible project expenses for this program (such as artist fees or subsistence expenses) 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 any of the following:

  • Lost wages or salaries
  • Purchase of any equipment not directly related to the project
  • Tuition, or other costs related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs

Please note that the eligible and ineligible expenses listed are given as examples and are not exclusive. If you are unsure about expenses, please reach out to discuss before applying.

Ineligible Activities

This program is not intended to support any of the following:

  • Projects that are fully complete before the application deadline.
  • Projects that have already received funding from another Calgary Arts Development grant program.
  • Projects related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs.
  • Fundraising activities (e.g., activities undertaken to raise 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). Note: this grant can fund activities related to pow wow such as the creation of regalia or song, but not pow wow prizes.
  • 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 and or clear connection to the originating community.
  • Activities that promote hatred or intolerance.
  • Activities that are illegal or contravene provincial or federal law.
  • Activities that contravene municipal bylaws.
  • 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. Review the Investment Program FAQ for further information about ineligible expenses or email either of the specialists responsible for this program: Richelle BearHat at richelle.bearhat@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 125.

Program Considerations:

Artistic Impact

  • The applicant shows a clear and in-depth understanding of their artistic practice, artistic goals and what success will mean for them.

Community Connection

  • The applicant shows a clear and in-depth understanding of the relationships and communities connected to this project, their community-related goals and what success will mean for them. This can include future relationships and community connections, as well as those occurring during the project itself. Note: For the purpose of our programs, we define community as those who view, participate, collaborate, engage or benefit from your work. Depending on your project, this may include audiences, participants, students, artists, collaborators or partners, institutions or venues, mentors or teachers, neighbourhoods or specific communities aligned around shared identities or goals.

Planning

  • The applicant has included enough information to clearly show what they want to do and how they will do it. There is an in-depth understanding of what is required to undertake the project and achieve their goals. This is demonstrated by a clear, achievable and well-supported application (for example, they have adequate experience and/or support in place, a feasible timeline and budget, suitable partners/collaborators/mentors, etc.).

Scoring Process:

Committee members will review applications and rate the level to which they agree or disagree with each of the program considerations listed in the section above, based on the information provided in the application.

The 4 ratings are: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree.

Each program consideration will be weighted equally. The score assigned to each rating will be consistent (for example, ‘Strongly Agree’ will always equal the same number of points). 

Applications to the program will be reviewed by an independent assessment committee made up of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artist peers and community members. The membership of the 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 grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

Membership of each committee is designed to create context, understanding and respect for artistic discipline, gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, First Nation, physical and neurological identities etc. Creation of the committees will adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Five to Seven-member committee for each stream.
  • Representation from Blackfoot, Tsuu’tina, Stoney Nakoda, Métis, Inuit, and other First Nations.
  • Representation from Two Spirit, transgender, and Indigiqueer peoples.
  • Representation across artistic disciplines and practices.
  • Representation from artist peers and community members.

Assessment committees are responsible for reviewing and scoring the applications assigned to their committee online, and meeting to discuss applications together and make recommendations. Calgary Arts Development staff will review these recommendations and finalize the funding list. Partial funding may be allocated.

In the event of a tie, priority may be given to projects from artists who have not received a Calgary Arts Development grant before, or within the last two years.

For more detailed information about the assessment process, please review the Assessor Terms of Reference.

Calgary Arts Development reserves the right to adjust assessment processes and the program timeline.

We accept applications through an online grant platform. If you don’t already have an account with us, you will need to create an account and set up your user profile before you can apply.

The application form for this program will become available in the online grant platform in July 2024. You will find it under ‘Open Opportunities’ when you login.

Please note: individual artists must apply using their individual account, artist collectives must apply using their collective account and arts organizations must apply through their organizational account. These must be distinct accounts that use a unique email address when registering.

Please contact grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com for help with any questions or technical issues.

This application may be submitted entirely in writing or using a combination of written documents and audio or video links.

The specialist for Indigenous programs can assist with both recording and uploading video or audio files to the application until one week before the deadline.

Complete Your Profile

In the online grant platform, you will need to ensure your ‘individual artist’, ‘artist collective’ or ‘organization’ profile is filled out and up to date before you submit your grant application. Your profile information will be automatically transferred to your grant application.

Your profile includes important information, such as:

  • Contact Information; Years of Practice; Artistic Discipline(s); Artistic Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV); and an Artistic Practice Statement or Mandate, etc.

Complete Your Application

To begin your grant application, login to the online grant platform and select ‘Open Opportunities’. There you will see any grant programs that are currently open. Once available, select this program and begin a draft application. As you work on your application, remember to save your progress regularly. There is currently no auto-save feature. Once your application is complete, please ‘submit’ before the stated application deadline. You should receive an email confirming your submission. If not, call or email us to confirm.

The application form will ask for the following information:

  • Your preferred name and pronouns (optional)
  • Project name
  • Start and end date of project
  • Primary project theme

Select the primary theme that best describes the main goals or outcome of the project. This will help program staff organize applications and assign them to committees. This is a non-exhaustive list, and if you don’t see a theme which suits your project, please add your own under ‘other’. The primary theme is:

  • Community connection and/or relationship building
    • Any project which focuses on creating new community connections, deepening existing community connections, or creating and deepening one very specific relationship such as with a mentor or Elder.
  • Traditional culture revitalization
    • Any project which focuses on the revitalization of traditional art forms. This may be in combination with contemporary elements.
  • Focused creation
    • Any project which is primarily focused on the creation and development of new work with a finished work as the outcome.
  • Truth and History
    • Any project which aims to wrestle with, bring to light, process, research, or delve into our histories, whether it is pre-colonialism, or to do with the colonial experience.
  • Professional development
    • Any project which has to do with the development of the artist as a professional, or career development, such as taking a non-degree granting course, doing a residency, building a website, marketing yourself or your work, etc.
  • Research and Exploration
    • Any project which is primarily about research and exploration, this may be through taking a course or self-directed, and may be community oral based research, academic style research, artistic technique focused research or any other kind which may not be listed here.
  • Language, learning, returning
    • Any project which explores personal or community-based relationships to Indigenous languages in relation to how they have changed and are continually changing. This can be a creative response that engages with your Indigenous language that makes sense to you.
  • Art for Social Change
    • Any project which is primarily meant as a piece of artist-activism, such as creating pieces of art meant to provoke, move conversations forward on political or social issues, or bring new conversations to light.
  • Other
    • Any additional unlisted themes.

Secondary Project Theme

If applicable, select a secondary theme that best describes the main goals or outcome of the project. This will help program staff organize applications and assign them to committees. This is a non-exhaustive list, and if you don’t see a theme which suits your project, please add your own under other.

The secondary theme of the project is:

  • Community connection and/or relationship building      
    • Traditional culture revitalization
    • Focused creation
    • Truth and History
    • Professional development
    • Research and Exploration
    • Language, learning, returning
    • Art for Social change
    • Other
  • Funding Request (up to $20,000 for individuals, up to $25,000 for collectives, and up to $30,000 for Arts Organizations.)
  • Project Description (500 words)
    • Describe your project including what will occur, when it will take place, and where it will take place.
  • Project Budget
    • Fill out the budget template with all relevant project expenses and revenues.
    • Use the notes section to describe each item in detail and show your calculations. Please be specific wherever possible and break down your expenses for clarity.
  • Budget Support
    • Budget-related support material to help demonstrate your budget estimates. For example: research, quotes, standard fee schedules, correspondence that confirms rates, past examples of revenue etc.
  • Support Material
    • Support Material is now mandatory to include. Please upload any additional material that will support and strengthen your application, and help assessors understand more about your artistic practice, project or planning. There are options to include PDFs, images, videos, audio files, links, etc.
    • Additional files or links that strengthen your case or help assessors understand more about your project or your artistic practice. For example: samples of your work, mock-ups/drafts/works in progress, excerpts or a synopsis, letters of support, resumes or bios of collaborators or others involved, confirmations, research material, planning documents, etc.
  • Project Plan and Timeline
    • Include a timeline or project plan that clearly outlines how you will accomplish this project. Your timeline should include dates and other relevant details for any important activities, tasks, events, milestones or process periods.

Written, Audio, or Video Selections

The questions below may be answered either in writing, or through a video or audio recording, no more than 10 minutes long. Applicants may select someone they trust to speak on their behalf if they do not feel comfortable being recorded. Audio or video files should be directly uploaded to the granting interface.

  • What does it mean for you to be an Indigenous artist (or for organizations) to represent an Indigenous arts perspective or identity?
  • How do you think about your sense of connection and relationship to Indigenous community and the land, and what does it mean to you?
  • Describe your artistic practice. What is the work you create, and why is it important to you? How do you approach the creation of your work?
  • Describe your project and how it relates to the above, as well as your own artistic goals.
  • Describe the opportunities for relationship-building created by your project, including but not limited to collaboration, mentorship, discussions, forums, participatory activities, workshops, artist talkbacks, audience experience, etc.

Applicants will be notified of their results by email. Notifications will be sent to the email address listed in your profile on the online grant platform. If you do not receive an email notification by the end of November, please check your junk/spam folder before reaching out to grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com

Successful Applications

Successful applicants will be sent an investment agreement via DocuSign and must sign and return the agreement within 30 days to receive funding.

We use electronic fund transfers to make grant payments. If your application is approved, you must provide a void cheque or direct deposit form with your banking information.

Calgary Arts Development will provide a T4A tax form to successful grantees for the full grant amount received during a calendar year. This includes the primary applicant receiving grant payment on behalf of an artist collective. 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 additional tax information in our Investment Program FAQ.

Final Reporting

Successful grantees will be required to complete a brief final report to share learnings and how the grant benefited their practice, along with an updated budget with actuals. Final reports are assigned in the online grant platform and are due within 60 days of your stated ‘project end date’.

Successful applicants may also be invited to participate in optional surveys, research and peer-to-peer learning.

Unsuccessful Applications

Applicants who are not successful in their application may reapply for the same project to other Calgary Arts Development grant programs, if the project still meets eligibility requirements.

Program staff may provide feedback on unsuccessful applications, although this will depend on volume and staff capacity. We welcome any feedback you may have on the application process at any time.

If you would like to know more about other opportunities in the arts ecosystem, you are welcome to reach out to Calgary Arts Development’s Community Liaison, Sayonara Cunha, at sayonara.cunha@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this program, please contact either of the program specialists responsible for this program at richelle.bearhat@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 125 as soon as possible.

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