1. Funding
  2. Prizes
  3. Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts
  4. Guidelines: Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts

Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts


The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from individuals, groups and organizations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority communities. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications and nominations from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

Each year, an amount is available to the Canada Council to support special initiatives in the Canadian crafts community. Awarded through the Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts, this sum represents the income from an endowment of $500,000 made to the Canada Council by the late Mrs. Chalmers in 1985.

The Chalmers Fund enables the Canada Council to assist non-profit, Canadian visual arts organizations and fine crafts professionals to undertake projects that contribute to the advancement and understanding of the fine crafts in Canada. The fund provides partial funding for one-time projects through 3 program components:

  • Research and Policy Development Assistance (open to organizations and individuals)
  • Special Project Assistance (open to organizations)
  • Pre-publication Assistance (open to organizations).

Deadline – 1 March 2023

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Your completed application form, required documents and support material must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). Incomplete or late applications will not be assessed.

Application limits – you can apply once per year

Candidates may apply to only 1 of the above components per deadline.

Notification of results – approximately 4 months after the deadline date

Prize amounts – $5,000 – $7,000

There are no minimum or maximum amounts that may be requested or received through this program. Generally, funding will vary between $5,000 and $7,000, according to the requests received and the peer assessment committee’s evaluations. Successful applicants may or may not be awarded the full amount requested.

Eligibility – Who can apply?

Eligible organizations

Incorporated, non-profit Canadian visual arts and fine craft organizations are eligible in all 3 components. Examples include:

  • art museums, public art galleries and artist-run centres
  • university art departments, art and fine crafts colleges
  • service organizations and professional associations with a commitment to the professional fine crafts communities in Canada.

Eligible arts professionals

Contemporary fine craft artists and independent curators or critics can apply to the Research and Policy Development Assistance component only.

You must meet the following criteria:

  • have specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • be recognized as a professional by your peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship You do not need to be living in Canada when you apply.

Artists must also:

  • have produced an independent body of work over at least 2 years after basic training
  • have had at least 1 public presentation of your work in a professional context* for which you were paid an artist’s fee.

Independent critics and curators must also:

  • work independently from an arts organization
  • have maintained a professional visual arts or fine craft practice over 2 years following basic training
  • curators must have curated at least 1 public presentation in a professional visual arts or fine craft context*
  • critics must have published at least 1 critical essay on contemporary art in a professional visual arts or fine craft context*.

*A professional context is one that is recognized by a professional curator, gallery owner, art dealer, collective of professional artists or jury of professionals in the field.

Activities – What can I apply for?

Research and Policy Development Assistance

Funding from this component contributes to the direct costs of investigating or documenting historical or contemporary developments in the fine crafts, as well as issues that arise from the practice of the art form. Institutions may also apply for funds to engage the services of short-term development consultants and curators, to develop acquisition policies and exhibition programs for contemporary fine crafts.

Special Project Assistance

Special Project Assistance funds contribute to the direct costs of conferences, seminars, symposiums, lecture series and artists’ workshops designed to advance knowledge about and understanding of the fine crafts in Canada.

Pre-publication Assistance

These funds contribute to the pre-printing costs of publications on the fine crafts. Organizations may apply for support in collaboration with a publisher or independently. All applications must indicate the payment of fees to professionals contributing to the project. Examples include:

  • anthologies and monographs
  • special issues of Canadian fine craft periodicals
  • results of research intended for national or international distribution
  • film, video, audio or Internet projects that address contemporary issues in the fine crafts.

Ineligible projects

  • Projects in the field of commercial, industrial and fashion design
  • Projects organized by students, or featuring student works or works produced in a training or academic context
  • Beginners’ workshops or art education courses
  • Projects related to the presentation and documentation of an exhibition
  • Artists’ residencies
  • Research and creation projects from fine crafts professionals, unless they directly relate to research and policy development of fine craft in Canada. You can apply for research and creation projects in the Explore and Create

You can’t apply for activities that occur before the deadline date, those that receive funding from another Canada Council program or those on the general list of ineligible activities.

Application/Nomination Assistance and Access Support

Application/Nomination Assistance contributes to costs for services to help with a prize application or nomination for individuals who self-identify as: 

  • Deaf, hard of hearing, having a disability or living with a mental illness
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers.

To submit a request, contact the Prizes Team 1 to 4 weeks prior to the deadline.

Access Support funds individual applicants who self-identify as Deaf, having disabilities or living with a mental illness, as well as groups and organizations that dedicate the majority of their resources towards supporting these communities. This supplementary grant provides a contribution towards costs for specific services and supports required to carry out a project funded through a Canada Council program.

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. A peer assessment committee, composed of experienced professionals selected by the Canada Council for their expertise in their field of practice, will assess the eligible applications. Committee members will also be selected with consideration to fair representation of artistic specializations, Canada’s 2 official languages, First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, Deaf and disability communities, gender, age and the cultural and regional diversity of Canada.

The peer assessment committee may decide not to award the prize in a given competition.

All peer assessment committee decisions are final.

Assessment criteria

Your application will be evaluated based on the following weighted criteria:

Impact (60%)

The potential of the project to:

  • develop and advance the fine crafts regionally, provincially, or nationally
  • contribute to your professional or organizational development
  • build public interest in and knowledge of the fine crafts in Canada
  • contribute towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive fine crafts ecosystem

Feasibility (40%)

  • A reasonable budget, including other revenue sources and efficient use of resources
  • You and your collaborators’ capacity and experience to undertake the project

Required information and support material – What you need to submit

Please refer to the application form for detailed instructions.

  • Project description (1000 words maximum)
  • Profile of organization (if applicable, 500 words maximum)
  • A list of project collaborators (if applicable, 3 pages maximum)
  • Curricula vitae of individual applicants and collaborators (3 pages each maximum)
  • A budget with any available quotes
  • Excerpts from catalogues or publications and/or writing samples (if applicable)
  • Digital images (if applicable, 20 maximum)

Application preparation

  • The Canada Council will make decisions about your eligibility based on the information you provide.
  • You are responsible for providing all the information and support material requested.
  • Submit only the material requested. Extra material will not be shown to the peer assessment committee.
  • Carefully choose your support material as committee members have limited time in which to review each application.
  • In addition to filling out your contact information in the application form, please ensure that the information is up to date on the Canada Council’s portal, if you have an account.

Personal information

Personal information collected in this application shall be used for purposes related directly to the program, service or activity of the Canada Council.

The Canada Council may share personal information from applications and nominations for awards with officials in other arts and cultural industry funding agencies and government institutions on a confidential basis. Shared information is limited to your name, contact information, field of practice and project description, and is provided to assist with research, reporting, program planning and evaluation, to present networking or economic opportunities, or to respond to federal reviews. For more information on how your personal information is protected, see our Privacy Notice.

Prize terms and conditions

If your application is successful, the terms and conditions will be outlined in a notification letter.

Fund payment

The Canada Council will send you the fund money after it has received your acknowledgement form. Winners cannot receive the fund money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved.

Tax status

This fund is taxable and a T4A slip will be issued, at the appropriate time, for grants and awards paid to individuals. When determining your project start date, individuals should be aware that according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), expenses incurred in the year immediately before a prize is received are only deductible from the prize if they are incurred after the artist has received notification that the prize will be paid. For more information about income taxes and your prize, please refer to our website. If you have any tax-related questions, please contact the CRA or your provincial or territorial revenue department.

Acknowledgement of Canada Council support

You must acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in all promotional material associated with the prize. Details will be included in your notification letter.

Final report

You will be required to submit a final report by the date identified in your notification letter.

Previous winners

Visit the Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts web page to download a list of past winners.

Instructions – How to submit an application

Send your completed application form, required documents and support material as 1 email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to chalmers-prizes@canadacouncil.ca. The maximum file size including attachments is 25 MB. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 business days, please contact us.

Contact information


1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 5265