Youth in culture pilot program

On this page

Program information


  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 4 pm
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2024 at 4 pm

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

You can submit your application in writing, or by audio or video recording through our online funding portal.

Contact information

Objectives of the program

First-time applicants are encouraged to apply.

We will fund projects up to $1,000.

Funding priorities

Following the peer-assessed evaluation of submitted proposals, the Cultural funding support unit will look at prioritizing applications from the following Indigenous and equity-seeking communities:

  • Anishinabe Algonquin Nation
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, People of Color)
  • People with visible and invisible disabilities
  • Non-ambulatory persons
  • D/deaf people
  • Refugees / Immigrants / Newcomers
  • People living in poverty
  • Rural residents
  • Francophones
  • Seniors / Older adults
  • Women+
  • Youth

The City of Ottawa recognizes that people identify themselves in many ways. Terms used to self-identify are continually evolving. With this understanding, the Cultural funding support unit uses terms recommended by community members through various consultations.

Application process

Grant writing assistance

We are available to support you in the following ways:

  • Answer your questions about eligibility
  • Review a draft of your application
  • Help you with navigating the online funding portal
  • Provide you with financial aid if you require accessibility support
  • Provide feedback on your previous applications

Our team will need advance notice to provide any personalized assistance. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss the options available to you. You can submit a draft application for feedback up until September 13, 2023 at 4 pm.

Here is an instructional video that demonstrates how to sign-up and complete your first application.

Have questions? You can participate in a virtual information session. Visit information sessions to see a full list of dates.

Application process steps

Your Cultural Funding Officer can provide additional information regarding this program, your eligibility, and the application process.


You are eligible if you: 

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 30
  • Are current residents of the city of Ottawa and have lived in Ottawa for at least one year prior to the application deadline date, or are Anishinabe Algonquin and live within a 150 km radius of Ottawa

What projects are eligible?

Funding is awarded to projects that further your professional career in the arts, heritage or cultural sectors.

This program is intended to provide you with an artist fee and/or cover project/living expenses relating to:

  • Creation and production: research, creation, production, and presentation projects relating to arts, heritage, or culture
  • Training: masterclasses, workshops, residencies and other training opportunities in the arts, heritage, cultural festival or agricultural fair sectors (including administration and/or management training)
  • Mentorship: opportunities for youth to work with mentors within the arts, heritage, festivals and fairs sectors. Mentors include established cultural workers, professional artists, or elders/knowledge keepers including administration and/or management training

Examples of eligible projects

Creation projects:

  • Completing a series of paintings
  • Producing a play
  • Conducting genealogical and/or historical research
  • Creating your own traditional dance regalia

Training projects:

  • Covering expenses, including travel, related to taking a masterclass
  • Providing you with an artist/administrator fee during an unpaid internship with an arts, heritage, or cultural organization, including festivals and fairs
  • Taking a course in a First Nations, Inuit, or Metis language

Mentorship projects:

  • Receiving mentorship from an elder in beadwork
  • Working with an established storyteller
  • Working with a recognized knowledge keeper on a language preservation project

Who is not eligible?

  • Organizations, including collectives
  • Individuals who have received three or more grants from this program
  • City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives may not apply for individual cultural funding or awards. City of Ottawa staff are required to act in compliance with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct and all applicable laws and regulations

What is not eligible?

  • Projects that are not related to the arts, culture or heritage sectors
  • Commercial initiatives, sales and commissions
  • Projects that have been completed prior to the application deadline date
  • Projects that are part of your school, college or university’s curriculum
  • Fundraising initiatives
  • Projects paid for entirely through other sources
  • Projects that are eligible for funding under the City of Ottawa’s Creation and Production Fund for Professional Artists


  • You can only submit one application at a time within this program.
  • You can only receive one funding allocation for the same activity.

Meeting all eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding.

Assessment criteria

Your application will be evaluated by a committee of your peers who will use the following criteria to evaluate your request.


  • Relevance of the proposed project as it relates to the applicant’s previous cultural experiences
  • Strength of the goals and objectives
  • Clear intent to pursue a career in arts, heritage or culture


  • Benefit to the applicant’s career

Effective planning

  • Realistic goals and appropriate planning
  • Effective and appropriate budgeting

Allocation of funding

An applicant’s success in obtaining funding depends upon the peer assessment committee’s final evaluation and the funding available within the program.

Availability of City of Ottawa funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.

The amount requested is not necessarily the amount awarded.

If you are not awarded funding

Try again! If you do not receive funding, you are encouraged to try again. The program’s limited envelope cannot fund all applicants, regardless of their merit.


All funding recipients are required to submit a final report detailing how they used the funding awarded to them. This report must be submitted to and approved by the Cultural Funding Support Unit either:

  • following completion of the funded activities or
  • twelve months after receipt of the funds or
  • before subsequent application to the program

Without a report approved by the Cultural Funding Support Unit, you will be deemed ineligible for subsequent funding. Reporting forms are available through the online portal. Exceptions include: funding programs that are not currently live on the portal, and reports submitted for funding received prior to the 2022 cycle. Please contact for the report template.

Application questions and required materials

Before you begin:

It is recommended that you prepare your responses and documents prior to starting your online application. It is much easier to edit your responses in a word document and copy/paste your answers into the online form when you are ready to apply.

To complete the online application form you will be required to:

1. Provide responses to the application questions provided below either in writing or via recording.

  • Questions marked with an * are mandatory.
  • Pay attention to word counts, as you will not be able to submit if over the maximum

2. Provide all supporting and required documents including:

  • Your written answers to the application questions listed below OR your audio/video recording. 
  • Your résumé/bio (examples: your artistic, heritage or festival practice, work, volunteering and/or school)
  • If your project is a mentorship, please submit a letter from your mentor, accepting that they voluntarily enter into a mentoring relationship with you for the purpose of this project and that they are prepared to commit to the number of hours confirmed above. Please include a description of what the mentorship includes, their name, the date and their signature.
  • Your support material files and links with their accompanying descriptions.

Application questions


  1. Provide a detailed description of the project.* (max 1000 words)
  2. Provide a project timeline with start/end dates.*
  3. Include your résumé/bio or tell us about your previous cultural experiences (examples: your artistic, heritage or festival practice, work, volunteering and/or school).*
  4. For mentorship projects only:
    1. Describe the nature of the mentorship, and list desired outcomes in the detailed description of the project section.*
    2. Provide your mentor’s letter of approval in the application portal.*
    3. Provide your mentor’s résumé/bio as an attachment on the portal.*


  1. How will this project help further the development of your career in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors?* (max 750 words) 

Effective planning

Fill in the attached budget template on the portal OR answer the following two questions:

  1. What are the costs associated with your project?*
  2. If your expenses exceed the amount requested in this application ($1,000), how will you cover the extra expenses?*

How to submit support material

Applicants must submit support material which will be reviewed by the evaluation committee. It plays an essential role in the assessment of the application as it gives the evaluators an indication of the merit of the work proposed and provides documentation of past and proposed activities.

Examples of support material: promotional material, program brochures, media coverage, photos, annual reports and publications, video or audio recordings or links to web pages or social media.

You must submit support material via the online portal by uploading the files directly or by inputting the URLs. Different programs have different requirements, so please check them carefully.

Exceptions include: funding programs that are not currently live on the portal, and reports submitted for funding received prior to the 2022 cycle.

Should you require accessibility accommodations, please contact

For all submissions:

  • File names cannot contain any special characters including accents, commas or hyphens. Please rename all files in plain text. Provide a brief description of the content.
  • Jurors have limited time to review support material. The total time allotted to review all audio and video files cannot exceed 7 minutes per application. Please select your material with this time constraint in mind. Provide cue times as part of your description.
  • QuickTime, and Apple specific files are not accepted (.mov; .aiff; .numbers; .pages).
  • Test all electronic materials to ensure readability and quality.

Contact information

For specific information on your application, or to discuss eligibility, contact:

General inquiries

For general information, technical issues, or to request an application form, contact