Jordan Bennett in front of a colorful mural

Opening the Door to New and Early Career Artists

March 01, 2019
This post was updated with new information on May 14, 2020

Artist Jordan Bennett in front of his mural on Queen’s Road in St-John’s, Newfoundland as part of the Identify: A Celebration of Indigenous Arts and Culture Festival, held in April 2018.

The Canada Council for the Arts is making it easier for artists to apply for their first grant—we’ve launched a profile for new and early career artists. It’s part of a two-year pilot project to reach the next wave of artists in Canada and renew our support to the arts sector. With this new profile, artists at the start of their careers—including those who are new to Canada—can apply for Canada Council funding.

An artist with a new and early career artist profile is eligible to apply for grants from three Explore and Create components:

  • Professional Development for Artists—Project grants to support career advancement activities for artists and artistic groups—including mentorships, internships, apprenticeships, specialized training and workshops.
  • Research and Creation—Project grants to support creative research, development and the creation of new works, including residencies.
  • Concept to Realization—Project grants to support activities that will result in completed works that are shown to the public—including public presentations, exhibitions, media arts and digital arts production ready for dissemination.

New Funding Opportunity: Digital Originals

Artists with a new and early career profile can now apply to the Digital Originals initiative, a partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada that offers micro-innovation grants of $5,000 to artists, groups, and organizations to adapt their existing work or to create a new work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council is accepting applications at any time until June 15, 2020, or until we’ve allocated the funding envelope.

The Digital Original initiative offers $150,000 in funding for new and early career artists with the sponsorship of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Foundation.

Am I eligible for Council funding?

To be eligible as a New/Early Career Artist, you must:

  • have no other approved applicant profiles with the Canada Council
  • not have received a grant from the Canada Council before submitting this profile (Note: once your New/Early Career Artist profile has been validated, you can use it to apply for and receive more than one grant.)
  • be at least 18 years old
  • be either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
  • have some training, experience or accomplishments in one or more of the Council’s recognized fields of practice. Past training could include mentorship, self-study, workshops, etc. Training in an academic institution is not mandatory. Also, the Council recognizes training, experience or accomplishments that took place outside of Canada.  
  • be committed to the ongoing development of your skills and artistic practice

I fit the criteria and want to apply—now what?

Your first step is to create an account on the portal, and then submit a new and early career artist profile. You can only have one new/early career artist profile. When you create your profile, apply with your main field of practice—you can still apply for grants with other fields of practice later on. Also, make sure your CV matches with the eligibility criteria we’ve listed above. 

We recommend you get started with your profile well ahead of the competition you’re working towards because your profile will need to be validated before you can apply for a grant.

We also recommend you check out these resources to guide you through the application process:

  • Our Guide to Getting a Grant gives you tips and advice for submitting the application.
  • Our Frequently Asked Questions page gives you answers to some of the most common questions we receive from applicants. Check the page regularly, as we’ll be updating it with additional questions we receive from new and early career artists.

You’ll also want to consult the Deadlines and Notification of Results page for the component of the Explore and Create program in which you’re interested.

Still need help? You can also contact us with your questions about the early and new career artist profile by email, at, or by telephone, at 1-800-263-5588 or 613-566-4414, extension 4031.

Help us spread the word—share the news about this new profile with your networks and anybody who you think could benefit.