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Pilot program aims to help NWT artists find new markets

An art show visitor meets Sunshine Bear, a Wiley Wolfe photo, at Yellowknife's Racquet Club
An art show visitor meets Sunshine Bear, a Wiley Wolfe photo, at Yellowknife's Racquet Club. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The NWT government has unveiled a pilot program offering artists cash to help grow their businesses and find new markets to sell in.

The Arts Economic Development Pilot Program was announced on Tuesday and forms part of the GNWT’s response to a recent review of arts programs, the territory stated.

That review found some NWT artists struggled to know where to go for support. A third of people surveyed reported they did not clearly understand which departments to apply to or who to approach for funding.

$375,000 will be made available through the new pilot program. Existing programs aren’t affected.

Within that overall sum, artists can apply for up to $5,000 to acquire “new inventory meant for sale to new buyers,” including the likes of printed materials, books and digital recordings (but not raw materials).



There’s up to $25,000 for applicants who want to attend trade shows or take advantage of other sales opportunities, either touring the NWT or beyond the territory. Musicians going on tour are included in this category, as are the likes of dancers and theatre artists.

The same funding can also be used to build online stores.

Lastly, arts organizations can get up to $10,000 to “deliver or enhance professional development training for artists.”

The funding’s overall aim is to “improve the ability of NWT artists to expand their business beyond territorial boundaries,” according to a press release issued this week.

To be eligible, artists must be NWT residents able to demonstrate that they create art for financial purposes. Eligible arts organizations must have a current business licence, be registered in the NWT’s corporate registries, have proof of compliance and possess comprehensive general liability insurance.

Applications for the new funding are open until February 15, 2024.