In arts-based community development work, professional artists assist communities through arts-centred activity to gain awareness of their own power as culture makers and contribute to the advancement of creative productivity, opportunities for celebration, and human dignity, health and well-being.

Support is offered to two categories of activity through the Arts-Based Community Development Program (ABCD):

New Work

Support for one-time projects that create new artistic work through community-based arts and cultural activity. It is expected that these projects will have a specified public outcome. A phased approach, lasting three years is possible under this program.

Skills Development and Knowledge Transfer

Support to enhance the capacity of artists to provide leadership to the field, by offering them an opportunity to explore and discuss their creative practice and/or to create opportunities for arts-based community development practitioners to realize new ways of presenting the outcomes of existing best-practice models to new audiences.





In 2015, the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation transitioned from sixty years of continuous grant making to an endowment that supports the new Leon and Thea Koerner Award (LTK Award), which is administered through the BC Arts Council.

The purpose of the LTK Award is to improve the well-being of communities, organizations or groups of individuals in BC through the authentic collaboration of community social services and professional arts organizations and artists.

B.C.-based, charitable societies or qualified donee who apply to ABCD are also eligible to apply to the Leon and Thea Koerner Award program if they meet the eligibility requirements.

In 2020, up to four awards of an amount of no less than $25,000 each will be awarded to BC social service and/or arts, cultural and creative organizations which collaborate on projects that will create lasting social benefit to communities located throughout BC.

COVID-19 & the BC Arts Council

We remain committed to supporting B.C.’s artists and cultural organizations through this difficult time.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing of individual grant programs could be affected, and in certain cases, programs may be suspended or deferred. Changes could also be made to the eligibility of activities within programs and successfully funded projects may need to make adaptations to comply with relevant public health orders, including those regarding gatherings and travel.

The most up-to-date information will always be posted on our dedicated COVID-19 Update page and individual pages for programs open for intake. Updates will also be announced on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Who Can Apply

Arts-Based Community Development Program is open to:

  • Registered non-profit community or professional arts organizations, in collaboration with a specified community;


  • Registered non-profit community organizations whose focus is not arts or culture in collaboration with professional artist(s) in any discipline, traditional or contemporary, who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents residing in B.C. for at least one year prior to the time of application;


  • First Nations Band Councils or Friendship Centres in collaboration with professional artist(s) in any discipline, traditional or contemporary, who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents residing in B.C. for at least one year prior to the time of application.

All interested applicants should review the program guidelines for further information about what is eligible for funding.

Leon and Thea Koerner Award

In addition to the above, to be eligible for the Leon and Thea Koerner Award, you must also have charitable status or be a qualified donee.

How to Apply

All applicants must be registered in the BCAC Online Grant Application System. It is highly recommended to read the entire How to Apply Online before starting this process.

Registration requests, once completed in the online system, can take up to 4 business days to be approved by BCAC staff.

Once an applicant has an organization profile in the system, then an online application form needs to be filled in and submitted.

All applicants, especially those who are new to the program, are urged to discuss their request with the program officer.

Please note that program staff are typically available during regular business hours Monday - Friday. If a deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, staff will be unavailable on that day.

You can access the main log in page of the BCAC Online Grant Application System by clicking the Apply Now button at the bottom of this webpage.

Program Guidelines

Note: guidelines were updated on March 31 2020 with content regarding COVID-19

Program Guidelines

Program guidelines are revised annually

Preview of the online application form

Form for Professional Artist Information Form

Form for Professional Social Service Lead