Responsible Staff Member

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Art Bank, Arts Nova Scotia is announcing a strategic purchase that will strengthen the representation of African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq artists in the collection. 

For nearly 50 years the Art Bank has collected artworks by Nova Scotian artists through a peer assessment process. Over 800 artists have benefited from having their work recognized by peers, earning an income from the sale of their work, and building an exhibition history. 

While the collection is one to be proud of, the Art Bank recognizes that it also reflects the barriers to participation that African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq and other BIPOC artists have historically faced and as a result, these communities are not well represented in the collection. A 2020 review of the Art Bank recommended a strategic purchase take place to counteract this disproportionately low representation.  

This year the Art Bank Purchase program will be open exclusively to artists who are African Nova Scotian and/or Mi’kmaq. These two communities have been made a priority in this first strategic purchase, in recognition of their profound historical and contemporary artistic impact here in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. All will be invited to celebrate 50 years of the Art Bank in 2025 with an exhibition of the newly acquired artworks.

The open call for applications will resume in 2025.

Guidelines, application forms, and dates for information sessions will be available by February 15 with an application deadline of April 15.

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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.

Who can apply?

For 2024, the Art Bank is open to Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian Artists. Applicants will be required to complete a self-identification form depending on which community they are a part of:

  • Mi’kmaq applicants will be asked to fill out the Identification Form Arts Nova Scotia uses for the Mi’kmaq Arts Program. More information is available here.
  • African Nova Scotian artists will be asked to fill out the Identification Form Arts Nova Scotia uses for the Black Artist Recognition Award. This is inclusive of the historic Black communities and wider African diaspora in the province.

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.

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.

What kind of artwork is eligible?

Paintings, sculptures, limited edition prints and photographs, drawings, fine craft, mixed media, and other related mediums. The Art Bank no longer acquires films, videos, or installation works.

Work must have been produced within seven 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. 

Works must be in stable physical condition that can withstand regular handling and transportation.

Pricing Note

Arts Nova Scotia cannot provide advice on pricing. Prices should reflect current market value. Artists are encouraged to speak to peers on the pricing of their work.

Application Requirements

The following documents must be included with all applications:

  • A completed application form
    • Galleries please note:  one application form per artist
  • A completed Self-Identification Form
  • A completed Artwork List form
  • An artist statement (maximum 300 words or 5 minutes oral/video description)
  • A CV or short bio noting education and/or apprenticeship, experience, professional and artistic achievements (maximum 2 pages or 5 minutes oral/video description)
    • 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 
Note: Here are some great resources on artist CVs and artist statements.

Support Material

Assessors make purchase decisions based on digital photos of submitted artwork.  

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.

Assessors will not consider material that exceeds specified limits or is not on the list of accepted formats. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that support
materials are in working order.

How are artworks selected?

We use Peer Assessment Committees (PACs) to make funding decisions. PACs in this program are made up of three to five visual arts and/or craft artists from the designated communities. 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. 

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

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

Purchase decisions are made by committee consensus. 

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.

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.