Operating Assistance: Public Museums and Indigenous Cultural Centres provides funding to assist the general operations of established museums and Indigenous cultural centres that sustain an annual artistic or cultural history program encompassing exhibitions, creation, presentation, collections, dissemination, and public program activities.

The Operating Assistance program supports organizations’ operations over a funding cycle of two years. All applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements within these guidelines.

Who Can Apply

Submissions from applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be forwarded for assessment. To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Provide arts or cultural history programming to their identified communities in B.C. and have done so for a minimum of one year.
  • Engage professionals in artistic, curatorial, administrative or project leadership.
  • Fairly compensate artists, arts and cultural practitioners, technicians, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers. Compensation must align with community contexts and industry 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 Professional Project Assistance; 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; Project Assistance: Community Arts Organizations; Touring; Early Career Development; Youth Engagement; or Co-op Placement.

A Museum or Indigenous Cultural Centre must also:

  • Hold a permanent collection and have a definable physical space designated for public exhibition of collection material.


  • Be registered and in good standing as a non-profit society or community service co-op for at least one fiscal year prior to application with a dedicated arts and cultural purpose;


  • Be operated by a local government, Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) community organization or Indigenous government in B.C., with a community-based board of management that sets policy for the museum/Indigenous Cultural Centre’s public programs and services.


  • Be operated by a public post-secondary institution for at least one fiscal year prior to application with a community-based board of management that sets policy for the organization’s public programs and services, and that offers public programming by professional arts, museums and cultural practitioners in a dedicated exhibition space with regular ongoing access to the non-academic community.

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

  • Having at least one staff person (part-time or full-time) 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 including the use of CADAC as outlined below.

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.

How to Apply

The submission deadline is September 15, 2022, no later than 11:59 p.m. 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 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.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines (PDF)

Application Preview (Word)

Program FAQ (PDF)