Improvements to arts project funding for artists, craftspeople, and arts organizations

by ahnationtalk on September 19, 202393 Views

September 19, 2023

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is making changes to its arts project and arts operational funding to better support the arts sector, especially artists and craftspeople in small communities, and arts organizations.

These changes apply to arts funding programs administered by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, but funding and marketing programs provided by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment that support economic development will not change

Changes include updates to how funding can be used, which types of projects are being funded, what information is required on the applications, and new reporting requirements in an effort to make the process less complicated and easier to understand.

Funding for artists and craftspeople

NWT Arts Council Grants have been restructured as Small Arts Project Grants and Medium Arts Project Grants.

  • Small Arts Project Grants provide up to $5,000 per intake for small-scale arts projects (e.g., traditional apparel, paintings) for emerging and mid-career artists, craftspeople and small groups. The grant supports costs such as art supplies (e.g., beads, thread, furs, etc.), education, training, and artistic development.
  • Medium Arts Project Grants provide up to $10,000 per intake for medium-scale arts projects and events (e.g., collection of work such as paintings, exhibition support) for mid-career to established artists, craftspeople and organizations. The grant supports costs for materials and supplies needed to produce and display artwork, artist fees, education, training, and artistic development.

These grants will continue to be juried by the NWT Arts Council, whose role is to review grant applications and make funding recommendations to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

As a result of these changes there will not be a call out for NWT Arts Council Grants in October 2023. The new grants will continue to have two annual intakes; the deadlines will be February 28 and August 31 starting in 2024.

To help distribute funding equitably across the territory, there will be new funding quotas for the six regions (North Slave, South Slave, Dehcho, Beaufort Delta, Sahtu, and Tłı̨chǫ) based on population.

Both grants will have an updated and streamlined application processes.

Funding for arts organizations

The Arts Organizations and Support for Northern Performers funding have been merged and divided into two funding streams: Large Arts Project Fund and Arts Operating Fund. Previously, arts organizations, and non-arts organizations with a mandate to support the arts, were competing for the same pool of arts project funding as artists and craftspeople. This funding is designed to direct organizations to a dedicated fund to better suit their needs.

  • The Large Arts Project Fund provides $10,000 to $100,000 per year to support arts organizations with large-scale art projects and events (e.g., festivals).
  • The Arts Operating Fund provides $20,000 to $200,000 per year to support arts organizations with fixed costs for staffing, program administration, and costs related to operating galleries, makerspaces, and other arts related infrastructure.

As we roll out the new changes, staff will be available to answer questions or help prepare applications. If you have questions or need advice in preparing your application, contact or 867-767-9347 Ext. 71474.


“We are committed to making meaningful changes to arts programs and funding to help establish a strong and valued arts sector. These funding changes aim to provide financial and developmental support to artists, craftspeople, and arts organizations and foster the growth of the arts sector across the territory.”

– R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick facts

  • Individual artists and craftspeople can receive one grant per intake, for a total of up to two grants a year. For example, an artist can apply for a grant in February and apply for a second grant in August. In total, the artist can apply for up to $20,000 in expenses in a year through two project grants. Applicants must complete and report on their previously awarded grant before they apply again.
  • Organizations can receive funding once per year.
  • The NWT Arts Strategy released in 2021 sets out a vision for how the government will help to support the arts and creative sector for the next 10 years. View the NWT Arts Strategy Progress Tracker for an overview of the progress of all actions and deliverables of the plan.
  • These changes are based on recommendations and feedback from the arts and creative sector during engagement for the NWT Arts Strategy and from the Arts Program Review.

Related links

For media requests, please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

867-767-9352 Ext. 71073


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