New Funding Model for Canada Council for the Arts

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The Canada Council for the Arts has announced a brand new funding model that it will use for its grants starting in 2017. The Council has long been due for an overhaul of how it awards its grants, a process that had previously put a great deal of emphasis on prior success as an artist rather than the quality of the artist’s work. Grants were awarded to specific arts (fine arts, writing, dance, etc), and competitions were held among artists within their own fields. The new program will offer grants based upon meta-projects drawn from six different national arts objectives. The statement they have released discussing the changes includes the following:

Replacing a substantial number of discipline-specific, specialized programs with six broad programs allows us to focus on the pillars of artistic research, creation, production and dissemination across fields of artistic practice.  The quality of your artistic work, and the impact of that work in relation to program objectives, will be the basis for funding decisions. The Canada Council will continue to rely on peer assessment and value the knowledge and expertise of its staff to make the best funding decisions in all circumstances.

Our new programs are designed to clarify why Council provides public support to artists and organizations, and to demonstrate the short term and longer term results of our investments.

We want to more directly enable artists and arts organizations to create excellence and maximize artistic and other impacts for their audiences in a changing artistic ecosystem and in an ever-changing society. These new programs are designed to address current realities; they nurture skills, build capacity and will proactively help artists and organizations to realize their visions.

In the new paradigm, writers and dancers will compete against each other for grants, rather than in separate categories. One significant improvement is the removal of caps from the amount of grants that artists can receive correlated to their professional experience. Previously, new artists were disallowed from receiving the grant amounts that late career artists could receive, depending on the length of their resumes. Another improvement comes in the eligibility protocols, which have removed firm definitions as to what makes a “professional artist”; previous guidelines had very rigid definitions for artists to live up to (requiring, for example, X amount of publications or performances within a set number of years for someone to be eligible for a grant).

To read more about the new model, you can visit their website here:

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