Responsible Staff Member
NOTE JANUARY 2021 Right-click "Save link as..." to download the form and open directly in Adobe Reader or Acrobat. Adobe Reader is available for free at All other third-party readers including macOS Preview and default pdf readers used by browsers may not perform properly.

Arts Nova Scotia manages the Nova Scotia Art Bank. Every year the Art Bank adds to its collection through the Art Bank Purchase Program. Artists are invited to submit their works for consideration. Pieces that are acquired become part of a working collection.

They are maintained, loaned out and displayed in government offices and agencies. The program raises awareness of artists and their works and stimulates interest in visual arts and craft.


Professional artists who are Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, who have maintained their primary residence in Nova Scotia for at least 12 months prior to the application deadline.

Professional artist collectives may apply. For the purposes of the Art Bank Purchase program, a collective is defined as a group of (minimum two) artists, the majority of whom reside in Nova Scotia, who share copyright over collaboratively created artworks. A collective may be either a non-profit society or non-profit cooperative registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies or ad-hoc. Ad-hoc collectives will be asked to provide the social insurance number of the signatory applicant who will accept payment.

Nova Scotian Commercial galleries may submit on behalf of a living Nova Scotian artist or artist collective who they represent on regionally-exclusive and contractual basis.

Only one application is accepted per artist or artist collective.

Work must have been produced within five years prior to the application deadline.

Works must be able to be moved safely by two art handlers and easily fit into a cargo van once framed. Please speak to the program officer if you are concerned your work is oversized.

The determination 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 seriousness of intent and devotion of energy to practicing one's art

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


Artists engaged in their initial training (e.g. a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or an apprenticeship) are not eligible for consideration under this program as the program is intended to support established artists and emerging professional artists. Likewise, works created during the period an artist was engaged in their initial training are ineligible.

Application Requirements

  • Deadlines on a statutory holiday or weekend will be extended until the next working day 

The following documents must be included with all applications:

  • A completed application form
    • Galleries please note:  one application form per artist
  • An artist statement (maximum 300 words)
  • A brief résumé or short bio noting education and/or apprenticeship, experience, professional and artistic achievements (maximum 2 pages)
    • Artist collectives must include a list of all active members along with their place of residence
  • A maximum of ten (10) images of work per artist with information provided on the application form for each image
    • More than one photo may be submitted of the same artwork (e.g. different angles), however the total images submitted may not exceed ten (10)

Support Material

Support material is included in each application in the form of digital photos to assess artistic merit.

Please do not send valuable originals as support material. 

  • Files must be in digital form (PC or MAC) 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

Ensure that electronic files are working before you submit your application.

Technical requirements

  Maximum # Submitted Maximum Length/File Size Accepted Formats
Digital Photos 10 images 2MB each .jpg, .tif, .tiff, .png

Note: Assessors will not consider material that exceeds the specified limits or is not on the list of accepted formats.


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

Application Assessment

Applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility. Following this, a Peer Assessment Committee (PAC) will make purchase recommendations based the following factors:

  • the quality of the work as evidenced by the support material provided

Applications are ranked based on merit and works are purchased based on the ranking.

The resume and artist statement help determine eligibility and context and are secondary to the visual works alone.

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

Conditions of Purchase

The following are the conditions of purchase:

  • Works purchased become part of a working collection and may be installed in government offices, and displayed on an online database of the Nova Scotia Art Bank collection
  • The Nova Scotia Art Bank has permission to use the right to publicly exhibit, reproduce and publish purchased artworks without fee for publicity, promotion and educational purposes associated with the Nova Scotia Art Bank and its exhibitions
  • Images must accurately represent the work as is submitted for purchase
  • Only works recommended by the peer selection committee will be purchased.  No substitutions are allowed
  • Payment will be provided following delivery of the work and the signing of an Exhibition & Copyright Agreement
  • Payment for works purchased is deemed taxable income by the Canada Revenue Agency. The Province will issue T4A slips to all artists whose works are purchased
    • 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

    • If you are registered as a business with an GST/HST number, you may submit an invoice with the purchase price of the work with sales tax to Arts Nova Scotia. In this case, you will not be issued a T4A slip
  • Works must be delivered unframed and un-matted except in the case that the frame is an artistic choice integral to the viewer’s experience of the work
  • Works must be able to be moved by two preparators and a moving van

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

When Submitting

  • Address your email to
  • Send one application per email 
  • Subject line should be: “Your Name – Program Name”
  • Keep attachments under 25MB
  • Do not send cloud-based attachments (WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
  • 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.

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.

Past Recipients

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