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    Apply by October 16, 2017

Artists in the Classroom

Artists in the Classroom grants bring professional artists into schools for rich learning experiences.

AIC grants support projects in schools across BC that demonstrate artistic excellence, high levels of student engagement, strong curricular connections, and an active partnership between an educator and a professional artist.

Who Can Apply?

Kindergarten to Grade 12 educators, school administrators, PAC representatives and artists in British Columbia are eligible to apply for this grant.

Grant Amount

Grants of up to $3,500 for small to medium scale projects and grants of up to $10,000 for large scale projects are available. AIC grants can fund up to 70% of total project costs and can only cover eligible expenses. The remaining 30% of costs, including ineligible expenses, must be covered by other sources secured by the applicant including contributions from the school district, school, PAC, private sponsors and individual donations.

Goals of this Grant

  • Expose BC's young people to professional arts experiences in the classroom.
  • Explore curricular connections to the arts to support student learning.
  • Connect the arts and education communities by developing mutual awareness, respect and appreciation.

Learn More

The following blog posts are intended to help answer some frequently asked questions about AIC grants, spark exciting project ideas and help translate those ideas onto paper.

Looking for examples of successful AIC projects?

How to Apply

Read the Guidelines and email us your completed Application Form.


students took part in AIC projects in the 2016-17 school year

October 16, 2017

Deadline to Apply

May 25, 2018

Deadline to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  • What is the Artists in the Classroom (AIC) grant?
    AIC grants support projects in schools across BC that demonstrate artistic excellence, strong curricular connections, high levels of student engagement and an active partnership between an educator and a professional artist. Artists may approach schools with a potential project idea, which will then be developed with interested teachers. Alternately, the idea can come from the school, who will then work out the details with the artist.

    Every project is unique and they can differ greatly. Projects can take place in single or multiple classrooms, with single or combined grades, over the course of a week or even several months.
  • What are the key elements of a successful AIC project?
    No two projects are alike, but there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

    Communication and Collaboration
    • Define the partnership between teacher and artist.
    • Work together to create a timeline for the project.
    • Maintain a relationship; the artist and educator should meet regularly to review the process and project goals.

    Flexibility and Adaptability
    • Educators should help the artist become accustomed to the school environment.
    • Emphasize the creative process rather than the final product.
    • Embrace spontaneity.

    Concept and Connections
    • When planning a project, look for ways to link to the school's curriculum in a way that deepens learning and encourages critical thinking.
    • Encourage students to think about how the project's overall themes relate to their everyday lives.
    • Incorporate opportunities for students to reflect on the project both individually and with their peers (journals, debates, group discussion, role-playing opportunities).
  • Who can submit an application?
    Artists, teachers, principals PAC representatives and artists can submit an application. It is expected that school representatives will work with the artist as a team to complete the submission. Applicants must ensure there is active support for the project at the school and that financial commitment is confirmed by a Principal/District Representative.
  • What is the role of the artist and what is the role of the educator?
    Individual roles within a project can vary and are decided by applicants and not by ArtStarts. Generally, the role of the artist is to share insights into the creative process and ideas involved in producing artwork. The role of the educator is to assist in making curricular connections for the students and to share their skills and insights with the artist.

Information for Schools

  • How can a school find an artist to work with?
    If you are an educator who is looking for an artist to help conceive and develop a project, a great place to start is ArtStarts' Artists in the Classroom Directory. Each artist listed is experienced at working in classrooms, and has been vetted to ensure the high quality of their work with young people. You can search for artists by name, discipline, language spoken or home base.

    It is not mandatory that the artist you choose to work with be listed in the Artists in the Classroom Directory. However, the artist must be a BC-based professional artist (see definition below). You might also wish to consult local art galleries or arts councils, who can put you in touch with professional artists working in your area. Consult the ArtsBC website for listings of arts organizations in your community.

    Definition of Professional Artist: A professional artist is defined as someone who has specialized training in the arts (not necessarily in academic institutions); is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition); is committed to devoting more time to his or her artistic activity, if financially possible; and has a history of public presentation.
  • How do you know if an artist is a good fit?
    Artists working in schools should be able relate well to young people and have the ability to discuss and demonstrate their art with ease. Be sure to meet with the artist before deciding to work with them in order to make sure they are an appropriate fit for the project. A suitable practicing artist should be able to:

    • show you strong examples of their work
    • provide a Curriculum Vitae detailing their history of public presentation
    • provide references
    • be able to communicate their ideas clearly
    • show a commitment to working with young people

Information for Artists

  • How do I qualify to work on an AIC funded project?
    Artists engaged in AIC projects are professional artists (see definition below) working in a variety of artistic disciplines: literature, visual arts, digital media, performing arts, etc. To work in schools, an artist should be able to relate well to young people and have the ability to discuss and demonstrate their art with ease. Whenever possible, artists are encouraged to engage in projects at schools in their local communities.

    Definition of Professional Artist: A professional artist is defined as someone who has specialized training in the arts (not necessarily in academic institutions); is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition); is committed to devoting more time to his or her artistic activity, if financially possible; and has a history of public presentation.
  • How do I find a school to work with?
    If you are an artist who has an idea for a project, you may wish to begin approaching schools to gauge their interest. Whenever possible, try to work with schools in your local community, as this will allow you to make your project particularly relevant to students' lives. Make an appointment with a teacher or the school principal, taking your Curriculum Vitae and examples of your work to your meeting. If possible, prepare some research beforehand on possible sources of funding for the project you have in mind. Schools' budgets are often limited, and they will appreciate that you have thought seriously about the logistics of your proposal.

Budget and Eligibility Requirements

  • How much funding is available?
    AIC grants can fund up to 70% of total project costs. The remaining 30% of costs must be covered by other sources secured by the applicant including contributions from the school district, school, PAC, private sponsors and individual donations.

    Up to $3,500 for small- to medium-scale projects

    Up to $10,000 for large-scale projects
    • Large-scale projects are projects that may unfold over an extended period of time, involve multiple artists or engage the entire school.
    • A limited number of large-scale grants are awarded per intake.
    • Large-scale grant recipients will be required to document their project and provide regular updates throughout the process of their project, specifics will be provided at the time of the Grant Agreement.
  • What is an eligible expense?
    AIC grants can be applied towards fees for professional artists (projects are required to employ artists at a fair and equitable rate, consistent with professional standards), materials and supplies directly related to the project and rentals of necessary tools, spaces and equipment. All other expenses are considered ineligible and cannot be paid for with AIC funds. See chart below for a breakdown of eligible and ineligible expenses.

  • Some expenses that are not eligible for AIC funds are integral to our project, how can we pay for these?
    Ineligible expenses can be included in the proposed project budget, provided the school's 30% contribution will cover these costs. If the ineligible expenses are greater than the 30% contribution, the school must pay the total of the ineligible expenses and AIC funding will be allocated to cover only eligible expenses. (For example, if the total project budget is $5,000, of which $3,000 is for transportation and TOC time, both ineligible expenses, the maximum an AIC grant can fund is the remaining $2,000 of eligible expenses. If another project had a budget of $5,000, of which all expenses are eligible expenses, the maximum and AIC grant can fund is $3,500: 70% of total expenses.)

    Ineligible expenses include: staff fees, honouraria for collaborators who are not professional artists, fees for individuals contracted as support, transportation, accommodation, capital expenses (eg. musical instruments, iPads, tools), Teacher on Call costs, tax.
  • Can in-kind donations count towards a school's contribution?
    In-kind donations can make up a part or all of a school's 30% contribution provided the donation is quantifiable. An invoice stating the total value of donated goods or services will be required at the time of the project's final report. Final Reports with budgets that cannot provide invoices for in-kind donations may be required to return grant funds.

Application and Adjudication

  • What is the cut-off date to apply for funding for the current school year?
    Applications are accepted twice a year, in May and October. Upcoming deadlines are listed on
  • When will I know if my application has been approved?
    Applicants will be notified of their applications status within 12 weeks of submission. The applicant is responsible for communicating the funding status to all project collaborators involved.
  • What can I do if my project does not receive funding?
    If your application is not successful, you will receive a letter outlining the Jury feedback and the reasons why your application was not approved. If you wish to discuss this further, please set up a phone meeting our Grants Manager by emailing
  • Can I reapply with the same project?
    Yes. You can reapply with a project that was unsuccessful once per school year. It is recommended that applicants carefully consider and reflect on the feedback given by Jury members regarding the original application and use this to inform their resubmission.
  • Who is on the jury? How do they assess applications?
    The jury is made up of artists and educators from across BC. Grants are awarded based on merit and are assessed against the following four criteria:

    Artistic Quality (40%): This criterion encourages applicants to describe the artistic process and artistic outcomes of the project.

    Jurors may consider the following points:
    • Process and concept the project
    • Creativity of project
    • Demonstrated innovation or risk-taking

    Student Engagement (30%): This criterion encourages applicants to demonstrate evidence of how students are directly involved throughout the project.

    Jurors may consider the following points:
    • Level of hands-on contact time
    • Student input throughout creative process
    • Opportunities to communicate ideas, insights and point of view
    • Opportunities to collaborate with peers and broader community

    Curricular Connections (20%): This criterion encourages applicants to identify opportunities for curricular connections and the ways in which they will be explored through the project.

    Jurors may consider the following points:
    • Identified curricular opportunities
    • Relevancy and depth of learning
    • Rationale for chosen curriculum topics
    • What life the project may have after completion

    Project Scope (10%): This criterion relates to the level of clarity and detail used to describe the project and its overall feasibility.

    Jurors may consider the following points:
    • Clear articulation and focus of the project
    • Feasibility of budget and proposed timeframe
    • Defined roles and expectations of artist and educator
    • Evidence of community support (eg. PAC, community organizations, school district, etc.)

    Please note: The above list is intended only to serve as examples of how an application might demonstrate the four criteria, and is not a comprehensive checklist.
  • The person who submitted the application is no longer at the school; what do we do?
    ArtStarts needs to know who to communicate with regarding this project. Once you have determined your new project lead and contact person, please email our Grants Manager at to update your project file.

Receiving Funding

  • How does the school receive the funds?
    Once the Grant Agreement form has been received, a cheque for the total funded amount will be mailed to the school. Please ensure the cheque payable field, the school address and the project contact person are correct when submitting a Grant Agreement.
  • What type of project documentation is required?
    Once the project has been completed all applicants are required to submit a final report. This report outlines the project as it occurred and gives a detailed budget. Large-scale grant recipients are required to submit regular updates throughout the project and to contribute at least one blog post to the Arts Integration in Action blog series.
  • What role does ArtStarts play in the relationship between educators and artists?
    ArtStarts is the funder and does not have a role in managing relationships between artists and educators. All specifics of a project regarding time, budget, materials, events coordination, etc should be discussed and agreed upon by the artist and educator as a team; ArtStarts does not need to be involved in this process.
  • Some details of the project have changed, do we need to inform ArtStarts?
    Yes, if the changes have an effect on the overall scope or intention of the projects, it is important to notify ArtStarts.
  • What happens if the project does not use all of the grant money awarded?
    It is important to develop a realistic and balanced budget so that grant money is fully utilized. If your project incurs costs less than originally anticipated, consider how the extra AIC funds may be used towards an extension of or an addition to the originally proposed project and notify ArtStarts of these changes or additions immediately. If this is not possible, all unused funds must be returned to ArtStarts with an explanation for the return. Schools should keep in mind that AIC funds cannot contribute more than 70% of total project costs, regardless of whether a project comes in under budget.
  • Can a project be postponed?
    In some cases, an extension request may be submitted by the school to defer a project and use of AIC funds to the following term or year. Please note that this is not the usual practice and extension requests will be processed on a case by case basis. For more information, or to submit an extension request, contact our Grants Manager at
  • If a project was successful can a school reapply with the same project in a following year?
    While there is no set limit on how many times a school can apply with the same project, AIC grants seek to fund projects that are highly relevant to students and demonstrate a level of artistic excellence, creativity and innovation. If you do choose to reapply with the same project your application will be assessed just as any other application and measured against the assessment criteria.
  • What if I am not happy with the artist I worked with?
    If you are unhappy with the artist's performance on a recently completed project it is important to document the reasons why their work was unsatisfactory. Please communicate this information to both ArtStarts and the artist involved. Once we have received a formal letter detailing the circumstances this will be kept on file. If the artist is listed in ArtStarts' Artists in the Classroom Directory and they receive two separate complaints they will be removed from this listing.

Need Some Inspiration?

Watch this video highlighting a successful AIC project.

Explore Projects

Projects funded by AIC Grants
Be inspired by creative projects successfully supported by Artists in the Classroom grants. Browse our list of funded projects—or search by artistic discipline, curriculum, region of BC, school name or school year.


Explore Gallery

ArtStarts Gallery
The ArtStarts Gallery is the only free, public gallery in Canada exclusively dedicated to young people’s art. Exhibitions often showcase projects from Artists in the Classroom grants.



Artists in the Classroom grants are funded by BC Arts Council and the Government of British Columbia's Creative Futures program.