• Program Type
    Operating Assistance
  • Application Deadline
    September 15, 2022
  • Application Type
  • Fields of Practice


Operating Assistance: Community Arts Organizations provides funding to assist the general operations of established community-based non-profit arts organizations working in community engaged arts through a range of artistic and cultural programming. The program is intended for organizations that sustain an annual community-based artistic program encompassing creation activities, organizational / artistic / cultural development, production, dissemination, exhibition and public presentation.

The Operating Assistance program supports organizations’ operations over a funding cycle of two years.

There are three components to Operating Assistance: Community Arts Organizations:

  1. Basic Assistance
    Award level is a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $20,000 annually.
  1. Local Matching Funds
    Awards may be eligible for 100% matching funding to a maximum of $5,000 annually.
  1. Capacity and Program Development
    Award level is a maximum of $10,000 annually.

Please download the Program Guidelines for additional information about program components and grant amounts.

Who Can Apply

Your organization must meet the specific eligibility requirements in the guidelines.

To be eligible, an organization must:

  • Provide an annual program of year-round, community-based arts and cultural programming and engagement and have done so for a minimum of one year.
  • Fairly compensate artists, arts and cultural practitioners, technicians, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers. Compensation must align with community contexts or sector standards within the field of practice, including adhering to international intellectual property rights standards and cultural ownership protocols.
  • Adhere to the Criminal Records Review Act which requires that people who work with or may have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults must undergo a criminal record check by the Criminal Records Review Program.
  • Have received at least one Project Assistance grant from the BC Arts Council within the past seven years. Grant programs that fulfill this eligibility criteria include Project Assistance: Community Arts Organizations; Arts-Based Community Development; and Arts Impact Grants. Grant programs that do not fulfill this eligibility criteria include but are not limited to: Pivot Program; Arts Infrastructure; Resilience Supplements; Community Arts Festivals; Professional Project Assistance; Touring; Early Career Development; Youth Engagement; or Co-op Placement.

Applicants must also:

  • Be a Community Arts Organization, registered and in good standing as a non-profit society or community service co-op in B.C. for at least one fiscal year prior to application, with a dedicated arts and culture purpose.


  • Be an Indigenous Friendship or Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) cultural centre offering dedicated arts and culture programming, with a community-based board of management that sets policy for the centre’s public programs and services. Note: Indigenous Cultural Centres with a physical collection and display space are served through Operating Assistance: Museums and Indigenous Cultural Centres.


  • Demonstrate a range of membership and engagement that is representative of its constituency or community, including diverse cultural and Indigenous populations;
  • Receive cash support from local and regional governments (i.e. cash for operations or annual programs, not in-kind), including First Nations Band Councils and Trusts where applicable.

In addition to the above eligibility criteria, organizations should have stability in current operations, both administratively and financially. Stability would be demonstrated through:

  • Having appropriate board leadership and, if applicable, skilled artistic or administrative leadership (paid or volunteer) that maintains consistency in operations and programming;
  • Ongoing and diverse sources of revenues outside of BC Arts Council programs;
  • Ability to plan programming and activities up to two years into the future; and
  • The capacity to compile annual financial and statistical information.

Confirmation of eligibility and intention to apply should be established with a Program Advisor prior to submitting an application. Ineligible applications will not be forwarded for assessment.

Please download the Program Guidelines for additional eligibility and exclusions.   

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted through our online system at any point before September 15, 2022, no later than 11:59 p.m. We are unable to accept any applications after this date. If you have any questions, contact a Program Advisor. The BC Arts Council office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Submit your application through the Grant Management System. Ensure that all information (including address verification) and documentation in your organization’s online profile is up to date before submitting an application.

New applicants must register and create a profile in the online system. Once the registration request is submitted, it may take up to four business days to process your request. BC Arts Council will email you once your registration is processed and you are able to access grant applications.

Ensure the email address bc.artscouncil.noreply@gov.bc.ca is on your safe senders list and check your spam folders.

Applicants can submit a portion of their application by way of an audio or video recording. See instructions within the application on this option.

Please download the Program Guidelines for more information on what is needed for your application.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines (PDF)

Application Preview (Word)