Original Peoples Investment Program

September 5, 2022: Applications open
October 17, 2022: Application deadline (no applications accepted after 4:30pm MT)
October – November 2022: Evaluation of grants
Late November – Early December 2022: Notification of results
December 2022: Funds distributed

Program Overview

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 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.

Individual artists may apply for up to $15,000, artist collectives may apply for up to $20,000, and arts organizations may apply for up to $25,000. 

Total funding available for this program in 2022 is $650,000.

Please refer to the Who Can Apply and What Can You Apply For sections for further information about eligible applicants and projects.

This program is developed and validated annually with the support of our Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Commitment to Equity

We acknowledge that the land we gather on, Mohkínsstsisi, 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 Îyâxe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations. Today this land is home to the Metis of Region 3 as well as many First Nations and Inuit peoples from across Turtle Island.

We acknowledge that there has been art, music, dance, storytelling and ceremony on this land since time immemorial and it is in the spirit of this land and its people that we do our work.

Calgary Arts Development is the city’s designated arts development authority, supporting and strengthening the arts to benefit all Calgarians. We invest and allocate municipal funding for the arts provided by The City of Calgary and leverage these funds to provide additional resources to the arts sector. Our programs support hundreds of arts organizations, individual artists, artist collectives and ad hoc groups in Calgary. Put another way, Calgary Arts Development is an organization that stewards public dollars for the public good. And when we talk about art for public good we envision a city where all artists and arts workers 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. (Learn more about our Commitment to Equity.)

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.

Need Help Applying?

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 will be 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.
Who Can Apply?

This program is open to First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) artists, collectives and FNMI-led and centred arts organizations practicing and operating in the Treaty 7 Calgary region working in any artistic discipline. It is also open to Treaty 7 First Nation artists practicing on reserve or operating within the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. Please note that this program cannot accept individual applications from arts administrators or cultural workers and cannot support registered for-profit corporations or businesses.

Artists who work in any artistic discipline may apply. Applicants should demonstrate a serious dedication to developing and sharing their artistic work, career or organizational mandate. Please refer to the Investment Program FAQ for a glossary of terms and more information about eligibility.

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.

We will only accept one application per individual, collective or organization. Individuals cannot be the main applicant or project lead for more than one application, but may be involved in more than one project. Success in this program does not affect your eligibility to apply to other Calgary Arts Development grant investment programs in 2022. You may not receive more than one grant from Calgary Arts Development for the same project or phase of a project.

For a glossary of terms and more important information about eligibility, please refer to the Investment Program FAQ.

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 informal 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 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, 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 a majority of the collective membership is not FNMI artists, a conversation should be initiated with Indigenous Program Specialist morgan.possberg@calgaryartsdevelopment.com in order to determine eligibility. Eligibility will be determined based on whether or not the Indigenous artist(s) are leading and guiding the proposed project.

Arts Organizations

  • Indigenous Arts Organizations applying to this program must have a serious dedication towards developing and sharing their work and organizational mandate.
  • Indigenous Arts Organizations should have a mandate to serve the Indigenous arts community, and are led by FNMI people.

If all of the organization’s membership/staff are not FNMI people; a conversation should be initiated with Indigenous Program Specialist morgan.possberg@calgaryartsdevelopment.com in order 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.

  • An applicant may only apply to this program for one project or one distinct phase of a project.
  • We will only accept one application per individual, collective or organization and one application per project.
  • 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.
What Can You Apply For?

Applicants may apply to this program for one project, or one distinct phase of a larger project.

The Original Peoples Investment Program seeks to support projects that align with any of the following priority areas:

  • Projects that support individual artistic and career development, including creation, professional development, business development, research and experimentation.
  • Arts-centred projects that encourage everyday creativity, including cross-sector collaboration, creative economy and neighbourhood-level community initiatives.
  • Projects which are either traditional or contemporary but are rooted in revitalization and preservation of Indigenous culture
  • Projects that reflect and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the Treaty 7 arts sector and create opportunities for all Treaty 7 nations to access artistic experiences.

Projects can begin before the application deadline, but projects that will be fully complete before the application deadline in October 2022 are not eligible.

Projects funded through this program must be completed by July 1, 2024.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted through our online grant interface. The application form will be available on the date the program opens. Applicants must create a user profile in order to apply. Artist collectives and organizations must create a profile that is separate from their individual account in the grant interface and apply through their collective or organization account.


Accommodation & Accessibility Policy
Application Assistance Policy
Deadline Extension Policy
Disclosure of Grant Information Policy


Please note that Calgary Arts Development staff continue to work remotely. If you have any questions about this program please contact Morgan Possberg, Indigenous Program Specialist, at morgan.possberg@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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