Responsible Staff Member
Note: the available application form is for organizations currently receiving operating assistance. New applicants must contact the program officer. 

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.

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.

What makes an organization eligible?

Eligible organizations must:

  • Be registered not-for-profit societies or not-for-profit cooperatives 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 two years before applying.
  • Have been active for at least four years.
  • Have a mandate to create, produce and/or present work by professional artists.
  • Pay professional fees to artists according to industry standards.
  • Demonstrate formal organizational structures including an active board of directors, established governance structures, and annual financial statements reviewed by an independent accountant.
  • Have received a minimum of three project grants from public funders.
  • Have a minimum annual budget of $40,000 per year.
  • 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
  • Provide ongoing programming and engagement with the community.
  • 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 Government of Nova Scotia agency or department.

What is Operating Assistance funding for?

  • Creation  
  • Production 
  • Presentation 
  • Outreach
  • Professional Development
  • Administration
  • Facilities 

What are the funding levels?

Funding levels are determined by median revenue and divided into three groups. Median revenue is calculated using actual revenue as reported on financial statements from the previous four years of operation.

Group 1 

  • Median revenue of between $40,000 and $160,000
  • Minimum annual support starting at $10,000
  • Organizations have a history of strong artistic programming and good financial management
  • Organizations must apply on an annual basis
  • Organizations may apply to Arts NS project grant programs and are eligible to receive a maximum of $10,000 in project support and $5000 professional development support per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31)
  • Organizations may apply to Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage programs subject to eligibility requirements.

Group 2 

  • Median revenue of between $160,000 and $650,000
  • Minimum annual support starting at $25,000 
  • Organizations have a history of strong artistic programming and good financial management
  • Have prepared a multiyear plan, outlining goals, planned programs and services, and budget targets
  • Organizations may apply for Arts NS professional development grants of $5000 per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31) and the Artistic Innovation program
  • Organizations may apply to Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage programs subject to eligibility requirements

Group 3

  • Median revenue of $650,000 or greater
  • Minimum annual support starting at $50,000
  • Organizations have a history of strong artistic programming and good financial management
  • Have prepared a multiyear plan, outlining goals, planned programs and services, and budget targets
  • Organizations may apply for Arts NS professional development grants of $5000 per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31) and the Artistic Innovation program
  • Organizations may apply to Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage programs subject to eligibility requirements

How often is funding awarded?

  • Annually for organizations in Group 1
  • Every three years for organizations in Group 2 and 3

What should our application include?

Organizations Currently Receiving Operating Assistance

  • Online Application Form (includes Organizational Profile and Assessment Questionnaire)
  • Programming Overview Template
  • Financial Template
  • A copy of financial statements signed by an authorized representative of the organization for the most recently completed fiscal year, including a balance sheet and income statement. 
  • List of staff members and their positions
  • List of board members as of March 1, 2022
  • Current business, action, or strategic plan (optional for Group 1)
  • Support Material
  • 2022 OAAO Salary and Benefits Questionnaire (optional, goes live February 1, 2022)
  • For organizations on Concerned Status: two-page plan outlining recovery plan

Prospective Organizations

  • Online Application Form (includes brief Organizational Profile and Questionnaire)
  • Financial Statements
  • Support Material
     

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. 

Type       Maximum  Accepted Formats
Audio Up to 3 samples, 15 minutes total Soundcloud, Youtube
Video Up to 3 samples, 15 minutes total Youtube, Vimeo
Still Images 2 MB each jpeg

 

How will our application be assessed?

We use discipline-specific Peer Assessment Committees (PACs) to make funding decisions. PACs in this program are made up of three assessors who are professional arts workers with experience working in organizations. Program officers work to ensure diversity of regional, gender, age, race, and culture when inviting assessors. You can sign up to be an assessor here.

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. We publish the names of all peer assessors in the previous year in our annual report. However, we do not provide a breakdown of individual committee makeup.

For Operating Assistance to Arts Organizations, the program officer presents the recommendations of the PAC to the Arts NS Board of Directors for final approval. 

Using an Assessment Tool, assessors will consider the following:

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, artist 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)

What happens if concerns are identified in our application?

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 may recommend the organization be placed on Concerned Status.

Please refer to the Concerned Status Policy for details.
 

When will our funding be confirmed?

Funding decisions are made following confirmation of Arts Nova Scotia budget. All efforts will be made to confirm funding with organizations within 8-12 weeks. 

What if a 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.

Application Submission

Send your application to artsnssubmissions@novascotia.ca 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 artsnssubmissions@novascotia.ca
  • 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 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.

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

Past Recipients

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