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Get the Grant: Canada Council Development Grants

You’re a freelance artist hustling to grow your career. Maybe your non-arts day job is bogging you down. Maybe you’re feeling too broke to even think about travelling for even the goldenest of golden opportunities.

That’s no good, so let's get you the grant!

Today, we’re tackling the Canada Council for the Arts’s new Explore and Create Professional Development Grants. You can apply for up to $10,000 to alleviate that burden and pursue your dream project.

Here’s what you should be thinking about as you approach this application. (If writing it makes you want to crawl into a dark hole, we can help.) As usual, we'll follow our 5 Rules.

Figure out who your reader is and get in their shoes. The Canada Council for the Arts is your audience for this one. The Canada Council is an arms-length agency that reports to the Crown through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Canada Council recently restructured just about everything from its suite of programs to its categories to its assessment methods.

A Canada Council reader will be quite knowledgeable about art, and will know the overall sector well. However, do note that this Development grant is specifically not assessed by a panel of your peers - rather, it will be looked at by Council staff.

Think about what you are being “paid” to do. As a recipient of this grant, you would be contributing to advancing the profile and training of Canadian artists. If you choose to go abroad with your project, you would be representing Canada on the world stage. If you’re receiving mentorship, you’re ensuring the transfer of knowledge. Only you, as a developing artist, can provide this service to the government and to Canadian society. Own it!

Don't make promises you can't keep. Do you actually have a project you are working on? Or would fulfilling the deliverables of this grant - pursuing a self-development project, travelling, etc. - be more of a burden than a win? If you don’t have anything that suits this grant, keep it in your back pocket for when you have a great project lined up. That rolling deadline will help.

Make sure you are eligible. This grant may seem like a natural fit for travelling to a competition. Unfortunately, competitions are explicitly ineligible, so don’t make the mistake of focusing your application on one - it will get thrown out. Instead, think of your dream opportunity, and come up with some specifics.

Read between the lines. Before you can do anything, you have to submit a profile. It can take up to 30 days before it’s approved, so be sure to do it ASAP. Go do it right now! I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

Once you are approved, you’ll be able to look at the questions and apply directly online. Something else to note: this grant allows travel abroad for individuals. This is rare, which means it will be popular. You’ll want a very solid reason if you choose to pursue development abroad. What is it that you can get somewhere else that you can’t get in Canada? How will Canadians benefit from your development? Try to position it with a broad, unselfish scope.

Thinking of applying for a Canada Council for the Arts Development Grant? Book a free Proscenium consultation.

Committed to your success,

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