This page outlines the program eligibility requirements for community-based arts and cultural organizations that have a ‘user-pay’ model, such as community choirs, community players (theatre/performance troupes), community bands, and similar organizations.

For Professional Arts Programs:

Beyond general eligibility for professional arts programs, choirs and similar organizations applying in professional performing arts programs must also meet 3 of the 4 following conditions as part of the organization’s regular annual activity:

  • For choir/music groups, a minimum of two or more singers/musicians per section paid for rehearsal, performance (including solos), and sectional leadership, with priority to all-paid ensembles; for theatre and other groups, payment to a significant number of professional arts practitioners and artistic staff for their work, with priority to all-paid groups.
  • Annual performances with recognized all professional artist/recognized arts practitioner (including Traditional Knowledge Keeper) ensembles, or in professional theatres/Indigenous community centres, with co-production or co-presentation encouraged where appropriate.
  • A sustained investment in (i.e. commissioning and performing works by) contemporary B.C. and Canadian composers/playwrights/choreographers/recognized arts practitioners (including Traditional Knowledge Keepers).
  • A demonstrable commitment to the development of the ensemble’s singers/musicians/performers/arts practitioners and local choral/musical/theatrical/performance/arts practice development generally.

If a choir or similar organization meets the above criteria for professional activity, it must compete for funds at the professional level.

For Community Arts Programs:

Once meeting general program eligibility, the only eligible activities for community choirs (and similar community-based, user-pay arts and cultural organizations) are:

  • Commissioning B.C. composers/dramaturges/playwrights/choreographers/recognized arts practitioners (including Traditional Knowledge Keepers).
  • The costs of a concert/performance/presentation engaging professional artists/recognized arts practitioners (including Traditional Knowledge Keepers), with priority on presentations of work/s by contemporary B.C. or Canadian composers/playwrights/choreographers/recognized arts practitioners (including Traditional Knowledge Keepers).
  • Engaging a guest clinician/professional artist/Traditional Knowledge Keeper for the development of singing/musical/performance/artistic skills, with appropriate analysis of choir’s (or like organization’s) needs and rationale for the selected guest.
  • Arts Infrastructure projects such as developing and enhancing spaces that support the work of B.C.’s arts and cultural practitioners.
  • Arts-Based Community Development projects in which professional artist/s work as a catalyst to engage a specified community in the collaborative creation of new artistic work, the process of which contributes to an experience of arts and culture as a path to health, well-being, or social transformation.


Community choirs (and similar community-based, user-pay arts and cultural organizations) which:

  • Meet the criteria for professional activity.
  • Operate under the umbrella of an organization currently receiving BC Arts Council operating funding.
  • Attached to, or affiliated with, educational, religious, or military institutions.