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Nunavut Public Art Initiative

27 July 2020

About the initiative

A new opportunity to celebrate art by Nunavummiut!

The COVID-19 response has created many challenges for Nunavummiut including increased insecurity and great uncertainty. In response we need to continue to support our artists.

The Government of Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation invites proposals for public art. This is a competitive process.

We ask artists to develop their idea for their public art project by reflecting on Inuuqatigiitsiarniq: Respecting others, relationships and caring for people, one of our eight Inuit Societal Values.

Applications must show

  • How they can be achieved and delivered during COVID-19, following current COVID-19 health directives
  • The potential for meaningful impact
  • Whether it is a permanent installation or temporary experience
  • Projects that can be completed by March 31, 2021- with flexibility for a final installation date when the weather allows with a deadline of September 30, 2021. Final report is due within 60 days of completing the project or by November 30, 2021, whichever is earlier.

To ensure each project can be evaluated fairly and consistently, a peer review process will evaluate each proposal based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit of the interpretation of the theme: Inuuqatigiitsiarniq: Respecting others, relationships and caring for people. 
  • Originality of the proposed public art installation or activity (Qanuqtuurniq: Being innovative and resourceful.)
  • The project team has the necessary experience to complete their project. (Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq: Development of skills through observation, mentoring, practice, and effort.)
  • Quality of portfolio
  • Letters of interest and support (Piliriqatigiinniq/Ikajuqtigiinniq: Working together for a common cause.)
  • Suitability of the site/location suggested
  • Suitability of the materials to ensure durability in the environment for which the piece is proposed
  • Budget is realistic

Who can apply

  • Artists or groups (up to $35,000)
  • Arts organizations (up to $35,000)
  • Not-for-profit societies
  • Municipalities

Applications by Inuit and other self-identified Indigenous people, People of Colour and racialized artists, artists with disabilities, women and LGBTQ2S+ are encouraged.

This funding opportunity is intended to benefit artists. An artist is an individual who has specialized training (traditional and/or academic) and practical experience in making art; has made a serious commitment to their arts practice and considers it a major part of their working life; and is recognized by peers or experts in their area of arts practice as "an artist". This includes, but is not limited to literature, music, film, performing arts, visual arts, publishing, design and fashion.

What is public art?

Public art is any art that exists in a specific space that the public uses or sees. Public art is a way to bring community together, foster community pride and a sense of belonging, and enhance quality of life for residents.

Examples include painted wall murals; large scale carvings; outdoor installations; permanent or temporary digital projections of sound, light, video; a site-specific dance, theatre, cultural games or some other expressive art or cultural experience that engages with the public.

Your proposal has to include a potential site where the art can be displayed, installed or performance.

What does this grant pay for?

  • Artist fees that reflect the time needed to develop the concept, to design, create and fabricate the piece; these fees should be sufficiently high to cover at minimum basic living expenses for the number of days worked on the project (such as housing-related costs, food, communications, GST and income taxes)
  • Mentoring fees for an experienced artist to work as mentor with a younger artist
  • Community engagement activities in line with current health directives related to the design and creation of the artwork, site selection and other aspects of the project
  • Project planning and management, including researching suitable materials and technical solutions for outdoor physical or digital installations, logistics for the installation, maintenance of the art works, public safety
  • Costs related to communications between project participants (pro-rate phone, internet expenses)
  • Producing original art for public spaces including
    • Buying raw materials, art supplies and equipment
    • Cost of fabrication, production processes
    • Buying/renting/hiring digital production tools and services (e.g. sound recording and video editing)
    • Preparation of the site and installation of the piece with public safety and security in mind
  • Documenting the process of creation of the public artwork (high quality photos and captions describing the artist’s intention and the final piece.)


  • Minimum contribution of $5,000.
  • Maximum of $50,000.

Artists must contribute at least 10% of the project costs for which funding is provided. All other applicants must contribute at least 20% of the costs. This may include in-kind contribution or equity cash contribution.

Application deadline

Early application deadline: Monday, August 17 at 10 am (Eastern Daylight Time)

Later application deadline: Tuesday, September 1 at 10 am (Eastern Daylight Time)

Where can your project take place

In any community across Nunavut

How to develop your proposal

  • Decide about the kind of public art project you want to do in your community.
  • Talk to people in your hamlet, cultural organization or local business, and discuss what locations might be available for your idea. Get a letter of interest from the site owner.
  • Think about who you can work with to make your project reality.
  • Fill in the application form to describe your project and the project team.
  • Think about what the work will cost to create and fill in the budget form.
  • Get help when you have questions.

How to apply

Mandatory check list

  • Completed application form
  • Completed project budget form
  • CV of artists, mentor and project manager, if applicable, involved in the project to show any training, previous exhibitions, awards and related experience (maximum 2 pages per team member)
  • Portfolio: 5 to 8 high quality photographs of previous artwork by the lead artist and/or mentor – submit jpeg files by email (each jpeg should be less than 2 mb) or provide a link to your online portfolio
  • Letter of interest from the owner of site proposed
  • Letter of support to show community engagement – they can be from participating artists, mentors, not-for-profit organizations, business, hamlet

What to think about with regards to your preferred site and ongoing maintenance for installations

  • Whether the site selected is indoors or outdoors, it is expected that the public can see and interact with the art freely and safely.
  • Government of Nunavut pays for the creation and production of the public artwork but takes neither ownership of the piece itself nor has responsibility for the site where it is displayed.
  • The owner of the site where the public art will be installed/displayed/performed is responsible for the installed piece, its maintenance and managing any public safety concerns. You have to include a letter of interest in your proposal. Once you receive funding, securing your specific site is an important first step to the work.
  • The artist/s retain/s the intellectual property rights to their work. They can sell images or replicas of their work as they see fit.

How are funding decisions made?

This is a competitive process. Mandatory requirements will be confirmed by the administrator of the initiative. All qualified proposals that meet mandatory requirements will be reviewed by a jury of respected artists.

How long will it take to get a decision?

We expect to complete the review process and communicate with approved projects within 3 weeks after the application deadline.

We’re here to help

For more information, to get help with filling in your application or to submit your application, please contact Christopher Gerlach, Advisor, Tourism and Event Coordinator at (867) 975-7804 or or get in touch with the Department of Economic Development and Transportation’s regional Arts Advisors (See contact information below) or your local Economic Development Officer.

Regional Arts Advisors:

Download the application form here.