The Operating Assistance program for Public Museums and Indigenous Cultural Centres supports the public program activities of BC professional, not-for-profit public museums and Indigenous cultural centres that sustain an annual artistic and curatorial program that includes creation, development, presentation, collections, and dissemination activities.

COVID-19 & the BC Arts Council

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

Funded activities 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

In order to be eligible for support through this program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered as a non-profit society in good standing in the Province of British Columbia and have operated as a public museum for two fiscal years prior to application;


  • Be a public museum operated by a local government for at least two fiscal years prior to application and with a community-based board of management that sets policy for the organization’s public programs and services.


  • Be a public museum operated by a public post-secondary institution in B.C. that offers public programming by museum professionals in a dedicated museum facility with regular ongoing access to the non-academic community.


  • Provide year-round public programming and have done so in the immediately preceding two years.
  • Compensate artists and arts/museum professionals by paying fees at industry standards and adhere to international intellectual property rights standards.
    • Professional artists and arts/museum professionals must receive industry standard fees for work presented by visual arts organizations and public museums.
    • Community-based artists and curators whose work is programmed by visual arts organizations or public museums must receive payment through either exhibition fees or through other, mutually agreed-upon alternatives.
  • Have professional artistic/curatorial and administrative leadership.
  • Hold a permanent collection and have a definable space designated for public exhibition of collection material.
  • For organizations that are not currently receiving Operating Assistance:
    • Applicants must have received at least two Professional Project Assistance awards from the British Columbia Arts Council within the past five years.
    • Applicants must establish eligibility with Council staff before making an application and are encouraged to do so at least four weeks before the application deadline.
  • For organizations that have previously received Operating Assistance, eligibility is reviewed annually.

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

Program guidelines are revised annually.

The following guidelines are provided for reference only.

Program Guidelines