Project Assistance: Arts-Based Community Development (ABCD) supports community organizations to engage professional artists in the development and delivery of community-based, arts-centred activities that contribute to a tangible and active understanding of arts and culture as a path to health, well-being, human dignity, and celebration.

The ABCD program provides support in two categories:

New Work

Supports one-time projects that create new artistic work through community-based arts and cultural activity. These projects must have a specified public outcome.

Recognizes the long-term commitment required of community-engaged practice by allowing projects with a phased approach over a maximum of three years.

Skills Development and Knowledge Transfer

Assists in developing skills to initiate and conduct arts-based community development activities.

Enhances the capacity of artists to provide leadership by offering them an opportunity to explore and discuss their creative practice.

Creates opportunities for arts-based community development practitioners to realize new ways of presenting the outcomes of existing best-practice models to new audiences.





Established in 1955, The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation has provided over ten million dollars in grants to arts and social service organizations throughout B.C. and the Yukon. In 2015, the Foundation transitioned from sixty years of continuous grant making to an endowment that supports the Leon and Thea Koerner Award (LTK Award), now administered through the BC Arts Council.

The LTK Award sustains a legacy through annual awards to registered charities and other qualified donees in B.C. that are creating social benefit using professional arts-based activity in collaboration with community and social service agencies.

The LTK Award is aimed at achieving social benefit and recognizing excellence and innovation, leading to social change or transformation; this aligns with the principles of arts-based community development. More information about the objectives of the LTK Award can be found here: LTK Award Objectives.

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

To be eligible to apply for both programs, the applicant must:

  • Be a professional or community arts organization, registered and in good standing as a non-profit society in the B.C. for at least one year, working in collaboration with a specified community.


  • Be a community organization whose focus is not arts or culture, registered and in good standing as a non-profit society in B.C. for at least one year, working in collaboration with professional artist/s.


  • Be a First Nations Band Council, Indigenous community organization, Friendship Centre, or Métis Chartered Community in B.C., working in collaboration with professional artist/s.


  • Adhere to the Criminal Record Review Act, which requires that people who work with or may potentially have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults must undergo a criminal record check by the Criminal Records Review Program.
  • Compensate arts and cultural practitioners fairly in keeping with community contexts and industry standards within the field of practice, including adhering to international intellectual property rights standards and cultural ownership protocols.
  • Have submitted all required final reports on previous BC Arts Council grants as of the program

To be eligible for both programs, the project must:

  • Demonstrate confirmed professional artistic expertise. Professional artist/s may work in any discipline, traditional or contemporary, and must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents residing in B.C. for at least one year prior to the application. For more information, see Determining B.C. Residency.
  • Demonstrate confirmed community development expertise (for ABCD) or confirmed social service expertise (for LTK Award).
  • Demonstrate engagement, as applicable, has taken place to ensure local Indigenous protocols are followed, Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers will be compensated fairly in accordance with local protocols, and there is an acknowledgement of traditional territories.
  • Not be eligible for or receiving funding through other BC Arts Council programs for the same activity.

Leon and Thea Koerner Award

  • Applicant must also be a registered charity or other qualified donee as defined by the Income Tax Act (Canada), including First Nations that are registered as such with the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Project must use professional arts-based activity in collaboration with a social-service agency.

How to Apply

The application intake opens approximately six weeks before the program deadline.

All applicants must be registered in the BCAC Online Grant Application System (GMS). It is highly recommended you read How to Apply Online  before starting this process. Please note, registration requests can take up to 4 business days to be approved by BCAC staff.

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

All applicants, especially those 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.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines 2021/22

Program guidelines are revised annually

Form for Professional Artist Information Form

Form for Professional Social Service Lead

Preview of the online application form