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Note: The application form for the Create, Present, and Professional Development categories of this program is now closed. It will re-open for applications one month prior to the next deadline (15 July 2024).

Samples of the application form  and self-identification form can be found through the following links:

For Create, Present, and Professional Development Applications:

For Individual Artists and Artist Duos
For Organizations and Groups

For Special Travel Grants:

Special Travel Application Form

Self Identification Form

This program helps emerging and established professional artists from designated communities who have historically faced barriers to accessing funding support. Designed to support artistic growth, development, production and dissemination, the initiative is available to the following designated communities of artists:


  • Indigenous (Mi’kmaq as well as other First Nations, Métis and Inuit)
  • African Nova Scotian
  • Black
  • Racialized people of Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or mixed racial descents
  • Artists who are deaf, partially deaf, or hard of hearing

  • Artists who have disabilities

  • Artists who have mental illness or are mad-identifying

Who can apply?

  • Professional artists.
  • Professional arts organizations.
  • Ad-hoc groups: a group of three or more professional artists (majority living in Nova Scotia) who are creating a new work together. Note: one group member will need to accept the funds and will receive a T4A slip
  • Non-profit organizations registered in Nova Scotia employing professional artists for a project


Applicants must complete a self-identification form to demonstrate eligibility. This form will not be shared with the Peer Assessment Committee. Its contents will be confidential, and privacy of information will be protected.

The definition of professional is determined by the Status of the Artist Act including but not limited to the following criteria:

  • To have peer recognition
  • To have a history of public presentation
  • To have training appropriate to the artist's chosen discipline (including self-taught and/or apprenticeship training)
  • To earn income, fully or in part, from artistic activity
  • To demonstrate serious intent and devotion of energy to practicing art

Still not sure if you fit the criteria? Take our "Am I a Professional Artist?" quiz.


Applicants must also be:

  • Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.
  • Residents of Nova Scotia for at least 12 months prior to the application deadline.
  • Outside the province temporarily and not away for more than 12 months.

Applicants who apply to this program are also eligible to apply for funding to other Arts Nova Scotia programs

What can we ask money for?


  • Living expenses for individuals during the period of the project
  • Materials
  • Mentors /instructors / consultants 
  • Professional fees for design, production, and technical personnel and other production expenses for presentations 
  • Travel costs directly related to the project and outside of the applicant’s general area of residence
  • Royalties
  • Promotion and publicity (for Present Grants only) 
  • Venue rental
  • Rental of equipment essential to the project

Still not sure? Contact the program officer. 

What accessibility supports are available?

Contribution to the costs of access support such as transcribers, sign language, or attendants for artists who are Deaf or have disabilities are contributions Arts Nova Scotia makes above and beyond the grant received.  These costs may not total more than 25% of the expense budget or $2500, whichever is less.

What can we not ask money for?


  • Creative Industries work (e.g. commercial film and video production, music videos, recording, television/episode work, publishing, commercial design, architecture, or production/line crafts) 
  • Capital purchases (e.g., buildings, property, construction, equipment, etc.)
  • Recurring events or core activities
  • Permanent staff positions
  • Projects already funded through us or the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage (CCH)
  • Work that happened before the deadline 
  • Website development for promotional purposes
  • Professional fees for applicants (Applicants can claim living expenses only)

Still not sure? Contact the program officer.

What activities can we apply for and for how much?

This funding program is divided into the following categories:

  • Create - $15,000 Max.
    • Supports projects to develop or create new work.
  • Present $12,000 Max.
    • Supports the public presentation of artists’ own work.
  • Professional Development - $12,000 Max.
    • Provides funding to strengthen artistic or administrative capacity through formal study programs, mentorship, workshops, apprenticeship, conference, and other professional development activity

A special travel grant can be awarded in the same 12-month period as a Create, Present or Professional Development grant.

  • Special Travel - $1,000 Max.
    • Assists with travel costs that do not fit into one of the categories above but relates to the development of artistic activity or a significant artistic opportunity
    • Only artists who have been recommended for funding by an Arts Nova Scotia peer assessment committee are eligible to apply for a Special Travel Grant.
    • If you are eligible to this category, you can apply any time - not just on deadlines. Applications are assessed internally as they are received.
    • Support material is not necessary.

How often can we apply?


You may make one application per category per deadline.

You can only receive one of each of the following grants in a 12-month period

  • Create
  • Present
  • Professional Development
  • Special Travel

What is a project?

When we talk about “projects,” we mean the specific part of a larger project. You may be able to apply for distinct parts of the same work overtime. For example, you could apply to workshop a play in one deadline and apply in the next deadline to present the play publicly. Knowing exactly what you want the money for will help you write a stronger application.

What should my application include?

Applications have both mandatory and optional components. If mandatory components are missing from your application, it can be deemed ineligible. We cannot accept additional materials after the deadline.  Below is a summary: 

Mandatory Documents:

  • Online application form
  • Self-Identification form
  • Project description (Max. 2 pages)
  • Group member statements if you are submitting on behalf of a group of artists
  • Background Information About the Organization (for organization applicants)
  • Financial template
  • Schedule of work
  • Two-page CV of the applicant (and all other key artists involved in the project)
  • Support material

Optional Documents

  • Support material annotations (strongly recommended)
  • Letters of intent from any person or organization involved in the project
  • Letters of support from professional, practicing artists in the relevant discipline(s) may be necessary to include.

Contact the program officer when in doubt about any of the above documents.

What is support material?

  • Support material is samples of current work or activities relevant to your application.
  • Support material is included to assess artistic merit. It may include but not be limited to digital images of visual art, script samples, music scores, poems, videos, and audio recordings. 
  • 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.

How will the application be assessed?

We use multi-disciplinary Peer Assessment Committees (PAC) to make funding decisions. PACs in this program are made up of equity-deserving assessors who are professional practicing artists and/or arts administrators who are familiar with the disciplines represented in the applications. Program officers work to ensure diversity of regional, gender, age, race, and culture when inviting assessors. A different PAC is appointed for each deadline. 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 participate 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 score and rank applications based on the following criteria:

  • 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 

When will we know if we are successful or not?

You will receive an email notifying you of the results twelve to fourteen weeks after the deadline regardless of the outcome.

You will be able to request feedback from the PAC meeting at this time as you may resubmit your unsuccessful project to the next deadline.

Do you award partial funding?

No. We encourage applicants to ask for what you need. In rare cases, if there are budget concerns or ineligible expenses, funding may be provided at a reduced amount.

What tips can you give for applying?

We recommend you follow our guide How to Apply for Arts Nova Scotia Grants throughout the application process.

We also encourage you to reach out to the Program officer with any questions you have.

What if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday?

If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is moved until the next business day. 

How do I submit my application?

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  
  • 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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