5 Helpful Grants For Up And Coming Ottawa Artists

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Ottawa artists need as much support as they can get in order to successfully create and share their music. Here’s a quick but useful list of grants available for up and coming Ottawa artists.


Music videos, Facebook ads, studio time, sample clearances...jheez. The list of expenses goes on and on for up and coming independent musicians and when those monthly Spotify cheques aren’t making the cut, it can get discouraging to keep going. Passion is one thing, but you definitely need valuable resources to support you in order to elevate as an artist. In this city, Ottawa music grants appear to be few and far between...or at least that’s what we thought.

We did some digging and reached out to some friends in the industry and came up with this list we think will be useful for anyone that needs help giving their music career a boost.

The following list is compiled of both City of Ottawa grants and Ontario grants.

Before continuing, please be aware of the following:

  • Read the grants’ websites thoroughly.

  • Receiving funding might be a timely process. Apply as soon as you can.

  • Get someone to review and proofread it for you.

  • Make sure you meet ALL of the requirements before beginning.

  • Maybe don’t ask for the full amount they are offering unless you are confident you can provide enough evidence it is completely necessary.

  • Don’t leave it to the last minute to submit your application. We can’t stress that enough!

  • Don’t blow your funding on stupid shit. Please. Consider this funding as an investment into your career. Ask yourself, How will this funding generate even more money to help my career?


Ottawa rapper Phantom Caine performing for our show Jazz Cartier LIVE In Ottawa

Ottawa rapper Phantom Caine performing for our show Jazz Cartier LIVE In Ottawa

#1. Opening The Door To New And Early Career Artists (Canada Council For The Arts)

The Canada Council for the Arts is making it easier for artists to apply for their first grant—we’ve launched a profile for new and early career artists. It’s part of a two-year pilot project to reach the next wave of artists in Canada and renew our support to the arts sector.

With a validated new and early career artist profile, artists at the start of their careers—including those who are new to Canada—can access grants they weren’t previously eligible for. In particular, they’re now eligible to apply for grants from one of three components in the Explore and Create program.

  • Professional Development for Artists – Project grants to support career advancement activities for artists and artistic groups—including mentorships, internships, apprenticeships, specialized training and workshops.

  • Research and Creation – Project grants to support creative research, development and the creation of new works, including residencies.

  • Concept to Realization – Project grants to support activities that will result in completed works that are shown to the public—including public presentations, exhibitions, media arts and digital arts production ready for dissemination.

Deadlines: Click Here

Professional Development for Artists Maximum Funding: $10,000

Research and Creation Maximum Funding: $25,000

Concept to Realization Maximum Funding: $60,000

Ottawa R&B artist JYDN warming up the crowd at our event Roy Woods LIVE In Ottawa

Ottawa R&B artist JYDN warming up the crowd at our event Roy Woods LIVE In Ottawa

#2. Youth in Culture Committee (The City of Ottawa)

From 2015 to 2018, the City of Ottawa's Youth in Culture Committee (YCC) provided insight into professional development issues facing youth, including the gaps and needs related to training initiatives to pursue careers within the arts, culture or heritage sectors.

Program Objectives

First time grant applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their projects.

  • To support cultural development of youth aged 18-30 towards professional careers in arts, heritage or culture.

  • To empower youth to identify needs and gaps in their career development, and to support initiatives that lead to or benefit the applicant’s career in arts, heritage or culture.

  • To provide direct funding to eligible applicants (youth aged 18-30).

  • To support activities that address the priorities identified in the Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa (2013 - 2018).

Maximum Funding: $1000

Deadline: September 16, 2019

Ottawa artist Maurice Moore. Catch his Homecoming Show on April 27 at The 27 Club. Tickets available now (Presented by Smallworld LIVE)

Ottawa artist Maurice Moore. Catch his Homecoming Show on April 27 at The 27 Club. Tickets available now (Presented by Smallworld LIVE)

Maurice Moore LIVE In Ottawa - April 27 - Get Your Tickets Here

#3. Music Recording Projects (Ontario Arts Council)

The program supports the recording of music by Ontario-based musicians including composers, songwriters and beat producers. There are two categories:

  • Demo/EP recordings:

    • EP recording of a series of songs that may be released individually or as a short album, 25 minutes maximum, intended for public release

    • Demo recordings for the purpose of demonstrating newly developed work for labels, funders, presenters, promoters, festivals, etc. These recordings may or may not also be intended for public release

  • Full-length album: a single work or collection of compositions, 26 minutes minimum, recorded for public release in physical format or an online platform. The album is only considered complete after it has been publicly released. If you are applying for this category, you should be ready or nearly ready to begin recording. Note: Full-length recording projects are only considered complete once the recording is publicly available

Demo/EP recordings: Maximum Funding of $5,000

Full-length album: Maximum Funding of $12,000

Deadline: May 16, 2019

Ottawa DJ and Producer Sacha Foster mixing at our first ever event PRIMETIME in 2016.

Ottawa DJ and Producer Sacha Foster mixing at our first ever event PRIMETIME in 2016.

#4. Music Creation Projects (Ontario Arts Council)

The program supports Ontario-based professional artists in creating original musical works. This program supports music creators at all career stages, working in all music genres/styles. There are two categories:

  • Self-directed creation: Projects where the applicant is an individual creator who is requesting support for composing/writing a new piece of music or body of work (for example, a song set). The applicant is taking their own initiative and making their own decisions about the music to be created.

  • Commissioning: Projects where the applicant is an individual composer/songwriter working with a commissioner. The commissioner can be an individual artist, music group or non-profit arts organization, choreographer or dance company, who makes a commitment to give the proposed commissioned work a première. Note: For recording projects, see the Music Recording Projects program (#3)

Self-directed creation: Maximum Funding of $5,000

Commissioning: Maximum Funding of $29,000

Deadline: April 24, 2019

Ottawa’s very own Night Lovell at his Homecoming Show of the 1855 Tour.

Ottawa’s very own Night Lovell at his Homecoming Show of the 1855 Tour.

Check out some of our other previous events here

#5. Artist Development (FACTOR)

The Artist Development Program offers a $2,000 subsidy toward one year of artist development activities including sound recording, touring & showcasing, video production, marketing and promotion.

Program Overview

1. The Artist Development Program offers a $2,000 subsidy toward a year of artist development activities such as sound recording, touring and showcasing, video production, marketing and promotion. FACTOR will reimburse 75% of your eligible costs up to $2,000.

2. You do not have to use this funding to produce a sound recording. However, at the end of the Artist Development year, you must deliver to FACTOR one new, previously unreleased, professional quality sound recording, called the Delivery Track.

3. FACTOR will allow a claim for Artist Donated Services of up to $500 for this Program. Beyond that, FACTOR will only recognize costs actually paid out. If you do not intend to spend money on goods and services, you are not eligible for this Program.

4. Review of Applications takes up to 12 weeks from the Application Deadline.

5. Funding for this program is provided by Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters and the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Music Fund’s New Musical Works Component.

Deadline: May 16 2019

BONUS Tip: Connect with the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC). They have been great resources for us and they currently have a strong focus on addressing Ottawa artists’ questions and concerns, including access to grant writers.

We hope this list helps or at least steers you in the right direction. There’s so much more funding opportunities out there, including within the organizations in this list.

You’re going to hear this a lot during your music career: “There’s money out there for you if you look hard enough.” 100% true.

Good luck and let us know if this article helped!

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