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Canada Council for the Arts to hold information sessions on the Island

by Annette Campbell

Annette Campbell works for Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa

Ask any professional artist and they'll tell you: applying for grants to support yourself and your art is a part of life, an often less-than-thrilling part. Familiar, Star-Trek-like cries of "damn it, Jim; I'm an artist, not an administrator" can often be heard echoing in the dark, late on the eve of a grant application deadline. Well, the bad news is that the grant process is not going away any time soon. The good news is that there are people who can help to make it a much less stressful experience and, hurray, you can meet some of them October 15 in Summerside and October 16 in Charlottetown. The Canada Council for the Arts will be holding information sessions for all professional artists on the Island and interested members of the general public.

What is a professional artist? For the Canada Council, it is someone who has specialized training in his or her field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized as such by his or her peers (artists working in the same tradition), who is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity if financially feasible and who has a history of public presentation. Arts supported include dance, media arts, music, theatre, writing and publishing, interdisciplinary work and performance arts, and visual arts.

As a recent newcomer to the Music Section at the Canada Council, I can honestly say that I learned more about "grantsmanship" (that dreaded word) in my first week at work than I did in the last 20 years. At these upcoming information sessions, my colleagues and I will explain how the Canada Council works, what types of grants we offer, how the application process functions, how your peer assessors make the final decisions, and most importantly, how to improve your applications. Knowing the process can give you a leg up in the oft-times fierce national competition for dollars. Take advantage of this opportunity; come speak with us and learn how we can help.

The Canada Council information sessions will be held on October 15 at the Jubilee Theatre in Summerside and on October 16 at the Arts Guild in Charlottetown, both beginning at 7:30 pm.

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