Cultivate: Professional Development Grants



Any time before the project start date until 30 November 2016

Grant Amount


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Get Eligibility Information
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Please refer to the complete Program Guidelines (standard format) [PDF, 452.7 KB].

Accessible formats also available:
Accessible Program Guidelines [DOCX, 7.8 MB], Accessible Application Form [PDF, 303.6 KB], Accessible Voluntary Self-identification Form [PDF, 1.1 MB]. These documents are compatible with WCAG-compliant screen readers.

Applicants who cannot access the guidelines and application form from the Canada Council website can contact the Equity Office to request these documents in alternative formats.

Watch ASL videos about Cultivate.

Program Description

The Cultivate: Professional Development Grants program provides support to individual Canadian artists and arts professionals who are Deaf, have disabilities and/or are living with mental illness to pursue short-term projects that build and enhance their creative or professional skills in any artistic discipline supported by the Canada Council (e.g. dance, inter-arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts and writing and publishing). Projects must provide clear artistic and/or career development benefits to the applicant.

This flexible grant program allows artists to respond to professional development opportunities in a timely manner.

For the purposes of this program, professional artists may include: actors, choreographers, composers, dancers, media artists (film, video, audio, new media), musicians, playwrights, spoken word artists, storytellers, theatre directors, visual artists (including fine craft artists) and writers, as well as artists who work across multiple disciplines and art forms.

Arts professionals may include: agents and managers, arts administrators, critics, curators, designers, presenters, producers, programmers, publishers/editors, stage managers, teachers and other individuals engaged in producing, presenting, promoting or distributing Canadian artistic works.


Any time before the project start date until 30 November 2016.

Applicants who wish to have the results before their project dates should apply at least eight weeks in advance.

Activities normally funded through this program will be eligible in the New Funding Model, starting 1 April, 2017. 

Grant Amount

The maximum grant amount that can be awarded is $2,500.


Eligible applicants

To apply to the Canada Council for the Arts, you must be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status, as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. You do not need to be living in Canada when you apply.

To apply to this program, you must self-identify as an artist or arts professional who is Deaf, has a disability and/or is living with mental illness.


If you are applying as an artist, you must meet the Canada Council’s definition of a professional artist, which is an artist who:

  • has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)
  • is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity, if financially possible
  • has a history of public presentation or publication.

You must also:

  • have completed your basic training
  • maintained a professional artistic practice for a minimum of one year before submitting an application (but not necessarily in twelve consecutive months)
  • meet the discipline-specific criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines.

Arts professionals

If you are applying as an arts professional in a non-artist capacity (e.g. agent, arts administrator, critic, curator, designer, manager, presenter, producer, programmer, publisher/editor, stage manager, teacher, etc.), you must:

  • have completed your basic training or education
  • have a minimum of one year of professional experience in the arts sector before applying (but not necessarily in twelve consecutive months)
  • have completed at least one significant project in the professional arts
  • be recognized as a professional by peers working in the same field or specialization.

Eligible activities

  • attend a workshop, seminar, conference, master class, creative lab, or other advanced professional development activity
  • participate in an artist residency
  • work with a mentor, guru or Elder
  • participate in an apprenticeship program
  • observe an artistic process
  • respond to a one-time invitation to perform, present or exhibit your work at a festival, conference, literary fair, art fair, etc. for which you will receive a professional artist fee or equivalent in-kind contribution
  • participate in a peer-to-peer learning or networking opportunity
  • develop “portfolio” materials that document and promote your work (e.g. demo recordings, demo reels, video documentation, websites, etc.)
  • pursue a self-directed program of professional development activity.

Further Information

Vanessa Novack
Senior Administrative Assistant
Equity Office
1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 4102
TTY: 1-866-585-5559

You can communicate with Canada Council staff via email, text or video messages, web conference, or Skype in English, French, ASL or LSQ.