Responsible Staff Member
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Arts Nova Scotia’s Grants to Organizations and Small Groups program supports projects by Nova Scotia professional arts organizations in the creation, production and dissemination of artistic work. The program also seeks to strengthen artistic or administrative capacity within arts organizations by developing skills and enriching knowledge.

Activities Assisted and Level of Funding

Applicants may make one application per category per deadline. Publishers may apply for up to two commissioning grants per deadline.

  • Production/Presentation Grant, $15,000 Maximum
    (must select either Special Project or Series & Recurring Activities)
  • Special Projects Grant - e.g. one-off projects, pilot projects 
    • Assists professional arts groups and organizations with the production or presentation of a specific work for the public
    • production/presentation projects should show multiple revenue streams


  • Series & Recurring Activities Grant - e.g. concert series, artist-in-residence recurring programs, etc
    • Assists professional arts groups and organizations with the production or presentation of a recurring series or programs for the public
    • series & recurring activities should show multiple revenue streams
  • Commissioning Grant, $5,000 Maximum
    • Assists professional arts groups and organizations, non-profit organizations and publishers to commission professional artists outside the organization to create new work
    • commissioning funds are to be used towards artist fees and materials if applicable
  • Professional Development Grant, $5,000 Maximum
    • Assists professional arts groups and organizations to strengthen the artistic or administrative capacity of the organization and/or the artistic communities with which they work
    • professional development projects should show a financial contribution from the applicant

Note for organizations receiving operating assistance:

  • Organizations receiving Operating Assistance to Arts Organizations in Group 1 are eligible for up to $10,000 in project funding and $5,000 in professional development funding annually. Group 2 and 3 organizations are eligible for up $5,000 in professional development funding annually. 
  • Organizations receiving more that $10,000 in annual operating assistance from the Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage are eligible for up to $10,000 in project funding and $5,000 in professional development funding annually.


Organizations must be non-profit societies or non-profit cooperatives registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies.

Organizations eligible to apply for all project grant cateogires include:

  • Professional arts organizations that present the work of professional artists or make it possible for artists to produce and present work. A professional artist is an artist who meets at least four of the criteria found in the Status of the Artist Act
  • Organizations that do not have an arts focus, but would like to undertake a project that engages only professional artists or professional arts organizations
  • Ad hoc groups. Arts Nova Scotia defines an ad hoc group as a group of (minimum three) professional artists, the majority of whom reside in Nova Scotia, formed for the specific purpose of creating a unique work. Ad hoc groups must include the social insurance number of the signatory applicant who will accept the T4A slip on the grant for taxable income purposes.

Nova Scotian publishers are eligible to apply to the commissioning grant category. In order to be eligible, a publisher must:

  • Have been  a legally registered company or society, with a head office and general operations based in Nova Scotia, operating for at least two years with book publishing as their primary (rather than a peripheral or occasional) business, and the publication of original titles as the focus of that business. 


  • The Grants to Organizations and Small Groups grant does not provide support to the cultural industries. For example: commercial film and video production, music videos, television shows, recording, publishing, commercial design, or production crafts (with the exception of publishers applying for commissioning grants). 
  • Applications received from schools or educational institutions (with the exception of exhibitions at university art galleries) are not eligible.
  • Applications for fundraisers or promotional events are not eligible.
  • Applications for full festival programming are not eligible.
  • Applications requesting operating funding are not eligible.
  • Activities that are eligible for support under the Culture and Heritage Development Division’s Cultural and Youth Activities program are not eligible under this program.
  • Organizations that receive annual operating funding any Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage program may submit applications to the Grants to Organizations and Small Groups Program only if the proposed activity is a special one-time project or a pilot project. Activities that enhance or add to on-going or core programs are not eligible.
  • Organizations that receive operating funding from Arts Nova Scotia’s Operating Grant for Arts Organizations program should check that program’s guidelines for eligibility limitations to the Organizations and Small Groups program.
  • There will be no retroactive funding to projects that start prior to the deadline. 


Eligible project costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Artist’s fees
  • Fees for design, production and technical personnel and other production expenses
  • Venue and equipment rental essential to the project
  • Royalties
  • Administration and professional fees
  • Travel costs directly related to the project
  • Promotion and publicity
  • The value of in-kind contributions (goods or services provided to the company without cost or at a discount) can be included in the revenues and expenses if they are for goods and/or services which are essential to the project. Time contributed by volunteers, community promotional listings and other such services normally provided to not-for-profit organizations free of charge should not be included

Ineligible expenses include:

  • The capital cost of purchase of buildings or property, construction or renovation, as well as equipment, machinery, computers or anything that that can be repurposed for general use
  • The costs of projects already funded through Arts Nova Scotia or the Government of Nova Scotia
  • Costs relating to the development or maintenance of promotional websites
  • Fundraising events are not eligible for support

Eligibility of expenses not listed above should be discussed with the program officer.

Access Support

Access Support is a supplement to a project grant that funds individual applicants who self-identify as Deaf, having disabilities or living with mental illness, as well as groups and organizations who want to increase the accessibility to their presentation/production for audience and/or participants. This supplementary grant provides a contribution towards costs for specific services and supports required to carry out a project funded by Arts NS.

Please note, that to receive this supplementary grant, your associated project grant must first be successful. Following this, your Access Support application will be assessed by a program officer.

Access Support Guidelines and Application Form

Application Requirements

  • Applications are to be emailed to
  • If a deadline falls on a statutory holiday or weekend, the deadline will be extended until the next working day 
  • Arts Nova Scotia does not accept faxed, late, or incomplete applications
  • Projects must not begin before the application deadline

Applicants should not submit application materials bound in folders, binders or plastic sleeves because materials must be duplicated to circulate to Peer Assessment Committee members.

The program officer is available prior to the deadline date to answer questions about eligibility and the application process.

Support Material

Support material is included in each application to assess artistic merit and may include, but not be limited to: samples of previous work (e.g. digital images of visual art, script samples, music scores, poems), images, videos, and audio recordings. 

General Information

  • Files must be in digital form. Large video and audio files should be uploaded to a streaming service such as YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud.
  • Files must be labeled with the numbers 01, 02, 03, etc. at the start of each title
  • Files must be directly readable, requiring no extraction from another format, and cued to start
  • List of support material should be printed and submitted with application (page #4 of application form)
  • Ensure that electronic files are working before you submit your application
  • Video and Audio files must be edited to comply with the 15 min maximum.

Annotations that alert the Peer Assessment Committee to specific aspects of the support material are encouraged. 

Note: Assessors will not consider material that exceeds the specified limits or is not on the list of accepted formats. See application guidelines for complete list of eligible and ineligible support material and formats. 

Your name must appear on all support material. 

Technical requirements

  Maximum # Submitted Maximum Length/File Size Accepted Formats
Audio 3 samples 15 minutes for all material .cda, .mp3, .m4a and .m4
Video 3 samples 15 minutes for all material dvd format, .mp4, .mov, .mpg
Still Images 10 images 2MB each .jpg, .tiff, .tif, .png
Samples of written work or music 15 pages .pdf


These materials are not accepted:

  • Support material embedded in documents (PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
  • Material that requires third-party software, plug-ins, extensions, or other executables that need to be downloaded and installed
  • Material accessed on websites – only artworks that are created specifically for the Internet to take advantage of one or more of its technologies may be submitted
  • Personal websites or online documentation of artworks in an online gallery, portfolio, or archive
  • Magnetic tape (cassettes, video tape), film, vinyl, slides
  • Original art works

Application Assessment

Applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility.  All eligible applications will be reviewed by a Peer Assessment Committee considering the following factors: 

  • the quality of the work as evidenced by the support material provided
  • the artistic merit of the project
  • the ability to carry out the project

Applications are ranked based on merit and funds are allocated based on the ranking.

The program officer facilitates the assessment process but does not participate in the ranking of applications and the funding decisions.

Contents of the applications and proceedings of the meetings are strictly confidential. The decisions of the Peer Assessment Committees are final.

Policies and procedures are in place to ensure fairness, and to avoid conflict of interest in the assessment process.

Peer Assessment Committee (PAC)

  • PAC members are professional practicing artists of relevant disciplines
  • The composition of the PAC is sensitive to regional, gender, age, and cultural differences
  • Different PACs are appointed for each competition

Notification of Results

The results of the Peer Assessment Committee meetings are communicated to applicants via notification letters sent by Canada Post eight to ten weeks after the deadline date.

Notification letters are sent to all applicants, without exception.

Unsuccessful applicants may resubmit eligible projects to the next grant deadline.

Conditions of Funding

Applicants who are approved for funding will receive a Terms and Conditions Agreement outlining the requirements of funding. Funding recipients should be aware of the following conditions:

  • Grant payments are made in the name of the organization or group shown as the applicant on the application form. Payments to ad hoc groups will be made to the signatory applicant who will accept the T4A slip on the grant for taxable income purposes
  • Arts Nova Scotia’s support must be recognized
  • Arts Nova Scotia must be notified in advance of any changes in the activity, including its purpose, start or end dates, location or any other relevant changes
  • Applicants not receiving the full amount requested in their application may be required to submit a revised budget and revised project dates
  • If the project is not undertaken after payment of the grant has been made the recipient must return the funds to Arts Nova Scotia
  • Organizations and groups which receive grants must submit a final report within 60 days of the completion of the supported activity. Refer to “Final Report Guidelines.”
Please note:  if the Final Report becomes overdue, no funds can be released for any subsequent grant approved through either Arts Nova Scotia or the Culture & Heritage Development Division’s programs until the overdue report has been received.
  • If the project approved for funding is cancelled or the full amount of funding is not required, the funds must be returned to Arts Nova Scotia.
  • Funding recipients are subject to Provincial audit.  Please retain all receipts.

Application Submission

Send your application to according to the instructions below. You can watch our YouTube tutorial Submitting Your Application Over Email for more detailed instructions.

Before Sending Your Email

  • Include your name on all files
  • Number your files in the order they should be opened (application forms have a list of required documents in order)
  • Ensure your page limits and file sizes are in line with the program guidelines
  • Upload large audio and video files to a streaming service such as YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud

When Submitting

  • Address your email to
  • Send one application per email 
  • Subject line should be: “Your Name – Program Name – Category”
  • Keep attachments under 25MB
  • Do not attach large audio or video files; include a streaming link in the body of the email
  • Do not duplicate your application; do not send an additional hard copy

Only submissions will be accepted to this email address. Please direct all questions to the program officer. 

If you are unable to submit by email please contact the program officer.

Past Recipients

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