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COLUMN: Where Nelson artists can apply for grants

Sydney Black outlines some of the best funding sources
Sydney Black is the executive director of the Nelson and District Arts Council. Photo: Submitted Sydney Black is the executive director of the Nelson and District Arts Council. Photo: Submitted

by Sydney Black

Hello arts lovers!

Last month we checked out the regional funding streams that can support local artists and arts organizations as they seek funding for their projects. This month I thought we’d take a peek at provincial and federal bodies that you can go to when you’d like to make artistic magic happen. I promise you that this will not be a monthly column focusing on money (disappointing, I know), but it’s a key part of sustaining your artistic practice.

BC Arts Council

There are many grants across the province but the largest body funded by the provincial government is the BC Arts Council (BCAC).

BCAC hosts programs for individual artists, arts organizations, festivals, performing arts companies and more. They offer micro grants, scholarships, one-time artist grants and operational funding and focus on the disciplines of dance, deaf arts, media arts, literary, music, publishing, theatre and visual arts. They also provide amazing access support grants for artists with diverse abilities that help artists who require support to complete their project once it’s been funded by BC Arts Council. You can find out about their programs and contact a program officer at

First People’s Cultural Council

The First People’s Cultural Council provides funding to Indigenous communities and individuals to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage in B.C. They provide a range of funding supports including arts administrator internships and mentorships and individual artist and music grants. They also host retreats and have many language-based programs. Check out for more information and to see a list of their staff.

Creative BC

Another provincial funding body is Creative BC, who serve the following industries: book publishing, interactive and digital media, magazine publishing, motion picture, music and sound recording and the multi-creative industry.

They have a major focus on exporting domestic content and they aim to optimize funding opportunities for projects and companies, growing B.C.’s ecosystem of support in which creative entrepreneurs can thrive, and giving B.C.’s creative industries access to the national supports and international markets that will increase the province’s success in the sector. Scroll over to if you’re in those industries.

Canada Council

Canada Council is Canada’s public arts funder that contributes to the vibrancy of the arts and literary scene through their grants, services, prizes and payments to Canadian artists and arts organizations. Grants are available for Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have specialized training — though not necessarily in an academic setting — and are recognized as professionals by other artists in the field of practice. The grants provided to individuals are most principally used for creation, production and presenting works as well as professional development, residency, travel and the development of the sector. You can get set up in their online portal by going to

This article is just a very small slice of the funding pie that is available provincially and nationally. A fantastic resource that I’ve accessed over the years is the Little Dog Creative Consulting Grant Calendar ( It hosts a huge cross section of grants for all disciplines and is beautifully laid out, allowing you to sort the list by funder, funding type or even eligibility.

Best wishes with your funding ventures and please don’t forget to call those program officers! They will help you figure out the best way to make your grants shine.

Sydney Black is executive director of the Nelson and District Arts Council.