This program is designed to enhance stability within established arts organizations that develop and sustain Nova Scotia’s arts community. Support is provided to organizations that produce or present artistic performances and events involving professional artists. Such organizations are fundamental to the vitality and long-term health of the arts and cultural life in Nova Scotia.
Arts Nova Scotia envisions a thriving and diverse professional arts community celebrated at home and abroad for breaking new ground, ensuring equity and achieving a high level of artistic excellence.
The Operating Assistance to Arts Organizations Program is designed to encourage innovation and enhance stability within established professional arts organizations that develop and sustain Nova Scotia’s arts and culture community. Support is provided to not for profit arts organizations that create, produce or present artistic performances, exhibitions and events involving professional artists. Such organizations are fundamental to the vitality and long-term health of the arts and of cultural life in Nova Scotia.
Under this program, Arts Nova Scotia supports established professional arts organizations that create, produce, exhibit or present work by professional artists, and employ qualified staff to administer on-going arts and culture programs.
Support is provided towards ongoing core creation, production, presentation and administrative costs. Support is provided on an annual and multiyear basis and is subject to annual provincial budget availability.
All applicants under this program must:
- Be a professional arts organization with a mandate to create, produce and/or present the work of professional artists
- Be led by paid professional leadership
- Demonstrate formal organizational structures including an active board of directors, established governance structures, and annual financial statements reviewed by an independent accountant
- Be a registered not-for-profit society or not-for-profit cooperative in good standing with the Nova Scotia Provincial Registry of Joint Stock Companies or federally registered under the Corporations Act as a not-for-profit society or cooperative based and operating in Nova Scotia. Organizations must be registered for a minimum of 2 years before applying
- (For new applicants) Have operated for at least 4 years prior to the date of application and have received 3 project grants for artistic activity from any combination of municipal, provincial or federal public arts and culture funders.
- Have a minimum annual budget of $40,000 per year
- Secure multiple sources of revenue such as corporate contributions, donations, sales, and membership fees and must pursue other sources of public or private funding
- Not receive operating assistance from any other Nova Scotia provincial government agency or department
- Maintain active public engagement or show a form of community support that includes Nova Scotia residents and persons other than those who serve on the board of directors
- Operate year round, except for presenting organizations which may have regular seasonal programs
- Support the work of Nova Scotian artists, and pay artist and professional fees in keeping with established national guidelines.
All new applicants should contact the program officer prior to applying.
Level of Funding
Organizations submitting applications to this program will be placed in one of three groups:
Group 1 applicants are organizations that meet the basic eligibility criteria and have a median revenue of between $40,000 and $160,000. Median revenue is calculated using actual revenue as reported on financial statements from the previous four years of operation.
|Initial Base Grant amount||$10,000|
|Project Grant Eligibility||
|Multiyear funding||Organizations are not eligible for multiyear funding.|
Group 2 applicants are organizations that meet the basic eligibility criteria and have a median revenue of between $160,000 and $650,000. Median revenue is calculated using actual revenue as reported on financial statements from the previous four years of operation.
|Initial Base Grant amount||$25,000|
|Project Grant Eligibility||
|Multiyear funding||Organizations are eligible for multiyear funding.|
Group 3 applicants are organizations that meet the basic eligibility criteria and have a median revenue in excess of $650,000. Median revenue is calculated using actual revenue as reported on financial statements from the previous four years of operation.
|Initial Base Grant amount||$50,000|
|Project Grant Eligibility||
|Multiyear funding||Organizations are eligible for multiyear funding.|
Organizations in Group 1 and organizations that are new to the Operating Grant program must submit an application each year. Organizations from Group 2 or 3 who feel unable to apply effectively for multiyear funding may choose to apply for annual funding.
Organizations in Group 2 and Group 3 are encouraged to enter the multiyear funding cycle (3 years).
Multi-year funding provides a multiyear commitment. Organizations will be required to submit annual progress reports, revised budgets, and board approved financial statements. Funding is contingent upon the approval of the Arts Nova Scotia budget.
Organizations in this cycle:
- have a record of effective and consistent artistic strength and financial performance
- have prepared a multiyear plan outlining goals, planned programs and services, and budget targets
Organizations may be moved from the multi-year planning cycle to the annual funding cycle upon recommendation of the assessment committee. This may occur if an organization is experiencing financial difficulty or undergoing significant organizational or directional change.
Artistic Innovation Program
The Artistic Innovation Program is designed to stimulate artistic excellence and audience engagement for Group 2 and Group 3 applicants that receive operating funding from Arts Nova Scotia. These Innovation grants are used to support artistic enhancement initiatives, audience or community engagement initiatives, presentation initiatives.
Artistic Innovation grants are project grants and are evaluated separately by the assessment committee.
The Artistic Innovation grant maximum is $7,500 per year. There is no minimum.
Group 2 and Group 3 applicants will be asked to submit a separate application to the Artistic Innovation program.
- Artistic Innovation Program - Guidelines & Application (PDF)
- Artistic Innovation Program - Final Report Guidelines (PDF)
Arts Nova Scotia acknowledges Support4Culture for funding this program.
Application Submission Procedure
First time applicants should contact the program officer prior to applying.
Applicants must submit a completed application form, signed and dated by the organization’s chair, with required supporting documents.
Applications must be received or postmarked on or prior to the deadline date to be eligible. If the deadline date should fall on a weekend or holiday, applications that are received or postmarked for the following business day will be accepted.
Application materials must be submitted single sided and unbound on 8.5 X 11” paper.
Please do not submit applications or materials bound in folders, binders or plastic sleeves, as materials will be duplicated for circulation to assessment committee members.
Applicants are permitted to include a maximum of 6 of the following types of materials:
- materials used to promote your organization’s programs and services, such as printed programs, catalogues, flyers, posters, newsletters, and press releases
- materials that show community support, such as letters of support or endorsement and feedback from participants or consumers
Support materials will not be returned.
- Files must be in digital form (PC or MAC) on USB, CD or DVD and not exceed format maximums
- 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
Ensure that electronic files are working before you submit your application.
|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|
Note: Assessors will not consider material that exceeds the specified limits or is not on the list of accepted formats.
Complete scores, books, catalogues, programs or other published or bound promotional materials will not be included in the peer assessment package but will be provided for viewing during the peer assessment meeting.
These materials are not accepted:
- Support material embedded in documents (PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
- Compressed files (WinZip, Stuffit, 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
Applications are reviewed by Arts Nova Scotia staff for completeness and eligibility. They then are evaluated by a multi-disciplinary peer assessment committee whose recommendations are forwarded to the Arts Nova Scotia Board for final approval.
Arts Nova Scotia may also engage outside independent assessors to provide written discipline specific evaluations for the committee’s consideration.
Arts Nova Scotia strives to appoint members to the assessment committee who are knowledgeable and represent a balance of factors such as:
- Artistic Practice
- Cultural Diversity
- Experience running organizations
- Regions of the province
- Out of Province perspective
The assessment committee considers following key areas of assessment:
Artistic Impact (50%)
The assessment committee evaluates excellence in the achievement of professional artistic activity. The committee will consider:
- How programming furthers the artistic vision of the artistic leadership and the organization
- The quality and quantity of the organization’s programming and artistic activity a described for the last complete season, current season and request year(s)
- How the programming is achievable and appropriate for the organization’s capacity
- How the proposed program supports the development of the general art form and of artistic practice in Nova Scotia
- The organization’s commitment to the support and presentation of work by and employment of Nova Scotian artists
Audience and Community Engagement (25%)
The assessment committee evaluates the quality of the organization’s level of engagement with the following communities: the general public, the artistic community, and relevant cultural and community partners. The committee will consider:
- Dissemination - the ways in which an organization reaches its audience (performance, presentation, touring, exhibition, etc.)
- Audience numbers as seen within the context of the discipline, genre and region
- Audience development, education and engagement - how the organization provides opportunities for the public to engage and interact with artists and art (workshops, artistic talks, blogs, etc.) and serves the communities addressed
- How the organization’s community engagement practices serve the artistic vision
- How the organization develops and maintains collaborative relationships/partnerships within the broader community
- How the organization provides opportunities and support for the professional development of professional and pre-professional artists
- The effectiveness of marketing and communication activities
Organizational Effectiveness (25%)
The assessment committee evaluates the quality of the organization’s management practices, governance, and planning. The committee will consider:
- Governance practices and policies
Including structure, strategic planning, and governance practices
- Human resources
Including staff, board, and volunteers
- Financial management
Including, but not limited to, budgeting, expenditure management, and revenue generation
- Operational effectiveness
Including, but not limited to, work planning, communication, marketing, and facility management (if applicable)
Notification of Results
Funding decisions are made following confirmation of Arts Nova Scotia budget.
The assessment committee may, through its evaluation process, identify organizations that underperform when measured against program objectives and assessment criteria. In these circumstances the committee recommend the organization be place on Concerned Status.
Please refer the Arts Nova Scotia Concerned Status Policy for details.
Conditions of Funding
Applicants approved for funding will receive a letter outlining the terms and conditions of funding. Funding recipients must meet the following conditions:
- Arts Nova Scotia must be notified if there is a significant change in plans for the year
- Arts Nova Scotia’s support must be recognized as outlined in the ''Requirements for Acknowledging Funding'' which accompany the Terms and Conditions letter
- Funding recipients are subject to provincial audit
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
- Address your email to email@example.com
- 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.
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