The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) and the Yellowknife Community Foundation officially launched a new effort to provide funding support to Northern artists on Dec. 10.
The organizations issued a news release this week for Losing Track of Days – NWT Artists & Covid-19, which is calling for artists to apply for small grants from a $50,000 fund.
Marie Coderre, executive and artistic director with NACC, said that grants between $1,000-$5,000 will be available.
“So we are trying to send the word out as much as possible and what is great about the program is that artists do not have to create new projects,” she said. “They can, but they can also present a project that they are working on right now and for current activities.”
There’s a Jan. 15 deadline to apply. A selection committee will begin reviewing submissions the following week.
Coderre and NACC have been active this year trying to make up for public health restrictions due to Covid-19 that have led to loss of revenue for shows, in particular.
Among the efforts to keep artistic programming going this year have included a fundraiser through Canada Helps and attempts to sell out tickets for performances for the maximum number of 50 people allowed in the auditorium. Recent shows have included Carmen Braden, Thelma Cheechoo and Johnny Cole.
NACC has also been holding outdoor events over the summer to give artists a venue to promote their crafts. The Buskers in the Bush and comedy acts at the Willideh site on the Yellowknife River over the summer were examples.
Asked how she thinks artists are doing at the moment, Coderre said it’s a difficult time for those who derive most of their income from art.
“It is hard because with Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) a lot of artists are looking for ways to get incomes,” Coderre said.
As a result, the Losing Track of Days selection committee will target artists who need the funding urgently.
“If you have a steady, $100,000 job and trying to be a professional artist, we are probably going to prioritize those most in need,” she said.
Coderre said any NWT professional artists can apply whether their field is in performance, visual, film or traditional arts.
Cross-disciplinary projects and collaboration are also welcome.
Scott Marsden of the Yellowknife Community Foundation provided a statement underlining the need to help NWT artists.
“The widespread cancellation of cultural events has affected many artists who rely on exhibitions, performances, readings, workshops, and other activities to pay their bills and make a living,” he stated. “Now, more than ever, it is important that we support impacted artists in NWT.
“Our new initiative will put needed cash into the hands of professional artists who need our help, not a handout. Artists build a sense of community based on values we all share in the NWT.”
How to apply
Interested artists can apply by visiting the Losing Track of Days Google form and submitting support materials demonstrating their professional arts practice.
The news release issued this week states that all artists who are successful in their applications have to sign a production/creation agreement before funding is disbursed.
They also must agree to have their photo and project available for public promotion.
Tickets were still on sale as of Thursday for NACC’s Christmas double-header weekend on Dec. 12-13 featuring the Ever Late Show: Christmas Edition! comedy act and the Beethoven@250 Watch Party with virtual classical music concert and question and answer session with Gryphon Trio.
People are encouraged to purchase tickets online.