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Professional Development Project Assistance Program

Grants to British Columbia Arts Administrators and
Artists for Career Development Opportunities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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British Columbia Arts Council (BCAC)

Deadline Date:

12/01/18 4:00 PM Delivery or Postmarked by Date


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Grants of up to $2,500 and grants of up to $7,500 to British Columbia individual artists and arts administrators for career advancing opportunities. Funding is available for professional development events that require travel and for specific learning activities that will advance the recipient’s career.

The Professional Development Project Assistance program assists professional artists and arts administrators: 1) to take advantage of career and professional development opportunities which require travel; or 2) to undertake specific learning activities to advance their practice or career.

The program assists those applicants who demonstrate a high degree of critical self-reflection and are able to link activities to the next stage of their professional development.

Awards are made to assist a specific activity. Awards are not available for the creation of new work(s) or for full-time winter studies. Other programs of the BC Arts Council may be appropriate for these activities.

There are two categories of awards in this program:

Category 1 – Travel Grants:

Travel grants are intended to assist the presentation of work at single events or exhibitions, or other opportunities. Applicants must be paid a guaranteed fee or honorarium for their participation; in-kind compensation is acceptable. Applicants undertaking touring activity outside the province may be assisted through the BC Arts Council’s Project Assistance - Touring Initiatives Program; please consult the program guidelines or contact the program officer for information.

Category 2 - Project Grants:

Project grants are intended to assist with specific learning activities to advance a practice or career. Activities should lead to specific learning outcomes, goals or objectives. Descriptions and eligibility for specific types of professional development activity are provided below. The following are illustrations and do not encompass all the activities eligible for support through this program.

Residencies: Eligible residencies must include significant opportunities for learning, outreach and/or knowledge exchange with artistic peers and/or community members. Artists’ residencies which are primarily for the creation of work are ineligible for assistance and may be suitable for support through other programs. Residencies which offer a mix of learning and creation may be eligible for support when an application clearly outlines how participation will advance the applicant’s practice instead of the creation of a specific work.

Courses/Workshops: Programs of activity offered by individuals or organizations that follow a specified curriculum or with specific skills acquisition or learning outcomes are eligible for support, including masterclasses and private studies with a specific focus., The Professional Development Assistance program does not support programs of study at full-time post-secondary educational institutions; please refer to the BC Arts Council’s Scholarship Awards Program for information on support for full-time studies. In limited cases, the Professional Development program may support Teacher Training activities for artists whose practice includes the training of professional practitioners; this support is not intended to assist training of teachers for non-professionals.

Mentorships: Programs of activity may include a placement with an arts organization that will provide qualified and specific mentorship, or an individual structured relationship with a qualified professional who will provide mentorship. Applications should describe specific objectives or learning opportunities and measures, the proposed mentor/teacher and a desired timeline. Mentorships may be undertaken on a one-to-one basis or with a group, however, each member of the group seeking support much submit an individual application to this program. The application requires evidence of specific arrangements and the agreement of the mentor/teacher.

Eligible Costs:

Eligible expenses in Category 1 – Travel Grants: travel expenses, accommodation and meal per diems.

Eligible expenses in Category 2 – Project Grants: travel expenses, accommodation expenses, subsistence, use of specialized equipment and supplies for a particular development activity, and fees paid to mentors, advisors, institutions or instructors.

Subsistence (maximum $2,000/month) costs are intended to defray basic living expenses during a project where the applicant is devoting a majority of their time to their project activity.

Anticipated accessibility expenses for Deaf artists/practitioners and artists/practitioners with disabilities related to the proposed professional development activity are eligible in both categories.

Please note that grants awarded may not cover all eligible costs. The value of grants awarded will be determined based on the assessment of the jury and the priorities of the program.

Appropriate compensation for artists and practitioners is fundamental to all programs at the BC Arts Council.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180744

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Category 1 – Travel Grants: Awards up to $2,500
-Category 2 – Project Grants: Awards up to $7,500

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Under normal circumstances, to be eligible, an applicant must:
-Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have lived in British Columbia for at least twelve months immediately prior to application.
-Be an artist or arts administrator in the disciplines of creative writing, dance (performance, choreography), media arts (film, video, audio/sound art and new media), multi-disciplinary practice, museology and conservation, music (performance, composition), publishing, theatre (performance, design, directing, technical), or visual arts (creation, curation).
-Have completed basic training in their discipline (not necessarily in academic institutions).
-Be a professional artist or arts administrator.

In order to demonstrate professional status, applicants should meet the following criteria:
-Be recognized by other practitioners working in similar disciplines;
-Have a practice in their discipline of two or more years subsequent to basic training;
-Be committed to working full-time at their practice when financially possible; and
-For Performing Artists: Have a demonstrated body of previous professional work;
-For Visual Artists: Have had at least two professionally-curated shows or exhibitions where artists fees have been received;
-For Media Artists: Have directed/created or hold creative control on at least one project subsequent to basic training; this may include ‘student works’ which have been professionally exhibited or screened;
-For Writers: Have had at least one book (or equivalent – 40 pages of poetry or 120 pages of prose) professionally published previously.

Applicants working in arts administration or within a multi- or interdisciplinary artistic practice are eligible. Please contact your program officer with any questions regarding the eligibility of your discipline or practice.

All applicants are urged to determine their eligibility and the eligibility of their proposed activity with the appropriate program officer prior to submitting an application.

Applicants must be prepared to provide documentation to support their residency status upon request.

Note: Emerging artists and early career professionals may be eligible for support through the BC Arts Council’s Early Career Development Program; please consult the program guidelines or contact the program officer for information.

Awards are not available for:
-Expenses incurred or projects completed prior to the application date.
-Touring expenses.
-Capital expenditures (purchase of property or equipment).
-Production of promotional materials such as audition recordings, portfolios and/or websites.
-Travel to auditions/audition ‘tours’.
-Travel solely for the purpose of attending annual general meetings.
-Travel to present work at marketplaces or showcases where fees are not paid.
-Projects that are secondary to other purposes (e.g. fundraising events, conventions, or family, religious or community celebrations).
-Projects or activities that are funded through other programs of the BC Arts Council or its third party delivery partners.
-Specific vocational placements required as part of basic training/accreditation (formal apprenticeships, practica, etc.).
-Unpaid work placements.

Pre-Application Information:

Support through this program may form up to 100% of the total project budget; however, applicants who provide a budget with diverse sources of revenue may receive priority.

All applicants, especially those new to this program, are urged to discuss their project proposal with the program officer prior to applying.

Given the high volume of inquiries in the weeks before the deadline, please contact your program officer as far in advance as possible.

The deadlines for Professional Development applications are:
-April 1, 2018
-August 1, 2018
-December 1, 2018

Activity taking place after the date of application, not necessarily the deadline date, is eligible for support in this program.

Applications are accepted by mail and must be postmarked by Canada Post or a courier company. Applications may be hand delivered or delivered by courier up to 4:00 PM on the deadline day.

Under normal circumstances, notifications of awards are made in writing approximately 16 weeks after the application deadline. Grant results are not available by email or telephone.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Walter Quan, Program Officer - Arts Awards
778 698-3527

A full list of program officers is available at:

Mailing Address:
Box 9819, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9W3

Location Address:
800 Johnson Street, 2nd Floor
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1N3

Tel: (250) 356-1718
Fax: (250) 387-4099

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: British Columbia