What is the Artists in Communities Program?
This program will support organizations, groups, and individuals to develop and carry out community-based arts projects. Communities can be geographically based (people who live in the same neighbourhood or region). They can be based on shared interests or a shared workplace. They can be based on a shared culture or a shared aspect of identity.
The intention of the program is to:
- Support community-based and socially engaged arts practices
- Approach community arts through an artist-driven lens
- Foster partnerships and collaborations between artists and non-arts organizations
- Strengthen relationships between artists and community
- Support emerging ideas and ground-breaking initiatives in this area of practice
Community arts practice - A recognized field of artistic practice characterized by interaction between a professional artist(s) and a specific community (cultural, geographic, social, etc.).
Socially engaged art - Socially engaged art is an umbrella term for many different forms of artistic practice. Some examples include artistic activism, community-based art, creative placemaking, cultural organizing, participatory art, social practice, and social sculpture.
Professional artist - A professional artist is an artist who has received compensation from artistic activity and who meets a number of added criteria described in the Nova Scotia Status of the Artist Legislation. These criteria include public or peer recognition, training or acquired knowledge, and the public presentation of work. Unsure if you fit the above definition? Take our "Am I a Professional Artist?" quiz.
Who can apply?
- Professional artists
- Non-profit professional arts organizations registered in Nova Scotia
- Non-profit organizations registered in Nova Scotia employing professional artists for a project
- Ad hoc groups - A group of three or more professional artists (majority living in Nova Scotia) who are creating a new project together
- Nova Scotia-based Mi’kmaw bands
What can we use the money for?
Direct costs related to the project. If capital equipment costs are included, make sure to note the long-term benefit of the purchase. Capital costs cannot exceed 10% of total ask.
Activities that take place during school hours are not eligible.
What type of activities can we apply for?
Development Grants up to $5,000
Activities can include but are not limited to:
- Development/research/exploration of a project
- Relationship-building activities (as the first phase of a project)
- Pilot programs
Engagement Grants up to $20,000
Activities can include but are not limited to:
- Co-creation and/or presentation of new work
- Workshops/ arts engagement activities
Activities can be outcome or process based. It is expected that project grants will have confirmed partnerships/collaborators. It is important to outline these relationships in your project description including financial or in-kind contributions. Projects can be one-time or recurring. Timelines can extend over multiple years. Indicate if the project is intended to be multi-phased.
You can receive up to one development and one project grant in the same year.
Note for organizations receiving operating assistance:
- Organizations or collectives who receive Operate – Activate funding will also have access to one create/present or engagement grant, one professional development or development grant, and one commissioning grant per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). Please note the March 1 deadline is awarded in the 2024-25 fiscal year.
- Organizations that receive Operate – Sustain funding will also have access to one create/present or engagement grant, one professional development or development grant and one commissioning grant every three years.
- Organizations receiving more than $25,000 in annual operating assistance from the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism & Heritage will also have access to one create/present or engagement grant, one professional development or development grant and one commissioning grant every three years.
Organizations receiving $25,000 or less in annual operating assistance from the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism & Heritage will also have access to one create/present or engagement grant, one professional development or development grant, and one commissioning grant per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). Please note the March 1 deadline is awarded in the 2024-25 fiscal year.
How often can we apply?
You may make one application per category per deadline.
What should our application include?
- Background and Relevant Previous Activities (only required for Engagement grant)
- Project Description
- Working Conditions Statement
- Work Schedule
- Cultural Context Statement (optional)
- Supplementary Information (optional)
- Collaborator/partner Information
- Letter(s) of intent, support or consent from community/partners/collaborators
- Support Material
- Access Support Form (optional)
- Self-Identification form (optional)
Please see the Artists in Communities Grant Checklist for detailed information on each part.
What is support material?
Support material is samples of current work or activities relevant to your application from you or other key partners or artists. Make sure you obtain the permission of any other artists involved in the creation of the work. You must also cite the artists in collaborative projects, and those that appear or are heard in the samples provided.
Choose your support material carefully. Poor image or video quality can detract from otherwise strong work. Assessors are asked only to consider the support material you provide so put your best foot forward. It is helpful to describe how the support material relates to this application.
Refer to the application form for the technical requirements and limits for support material.
How will our application be assessed?
We use Peer Assessment Committees (PACs) to make funding decisions. PACs in this program are made up of three to five assessors across disciplines who work in community-engaged art practices. Program officers work to ensure diversity of region, gender, age, race, and culture when inviting assessors. You can sign up to be an assessor on our peer assessment sign-up page.
The program officer is available to help facilitate the decision-making process but does not take part in the scoring or ranking of applications. They apply our policies and procedures to ensure fairness, and to avoid conflict of interest throughout the process.
Contents of the applications and proceedings of the meetings are strictly confidential. The decisions of the PAC are final. We publish the names of all peer assessors in the previous year in our final report. However, we do not provide a breakdown of individual committee makeup.
Assessors will score and rank applications based on the following criteria:
- Artistic Impact
- Community Impact/Benefit
- Achievability/Feasibility (budget, experience of applicant(s), partnerships)
- Projects from equity-deserving communities/artists will be prioritized
Click here to view a copy of the assessment tool.
Documentation and Evaluation
In our inaugural year of the program, Arts Nova Scotia will collaborate with successful applicants to document their projects. We will also host a gathering to exchange learnings and discuss how the program can respond to new challenges and community needs. This feedback will inform how the program can further evolve to serve the artists and community.
It is encouraged that the applicant(s) reflect on and evaluate the project.
- How can you reflect on the successes and challenges both personally and collectively?
- How did this project impact or make change in your community?
A final report with financial information will be required after the project is completed.
How do I submit my application?
After completing the oncline application material, send the required documents to firstname.lastname@example.org 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
- Address your email to email@example.com
- Submit by 11:59pm the day of the deadline
- 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 send cloud-based attachments (WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
- Do not use URL shorteners (TinyURL, Bitly, etc.)
- Do not duplicate your application; do not send an additional hard copy
If you are unable to submit by email, contact the program officer.
All applications sent to ArtsNS Submissions should receive an auto-reply confirmation. If you do not receive confirmation within one week, please contact a program officer. You must contact the program officer within two weeks of the deadline for us to consider your application. Applications will only be considered if there is proof of email being sent by the deadline.
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