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RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program

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RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program (RBC EVAP)

Becoming a successful artist is about more than innate ability; it is a purposeful combination of opportunity, meaningful hard work, and mentorship.

The RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program (RBC EVAP) provides an opportunity for emerging visual artists in Calgary to develop their artistic practice; to showcase their work to the public through exhibitions, open studio, and speaking engagements; and hone their professional skills in order to build a solid foundation for a successful career.

RBC EVAP artists will participate in the following sessions:

  • Four professional development sessions (such as financial planning, grant writing, how to improve artist statements and bios, networking, etc.)
  • One-on-one mentorship opportunities with Arts Commons’ Visual and Media Arts Curator
  • Group mentorship sessions with established artists and curator
  • Two panel discussion events that connect emerging artists with local galleries and arts professionals

RBC EVAP artists will be featured in the following Arts Commons Galleries spaces:

Who is this program for?
The RBC Emerging Visual Artists Program at Arts Commons focuses on supporting visual emerging artists across all art forms who generally:

  • Self-identify as emerging or are between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • Are in the early stages of their career, in their art form, usually within the first few years.
  • Are demonstrably committed to devoting more time to their artistic activity.
  • Are involved in their creative community.
  • Have not yet been showcased outside their primary country of residence.
  • Devote a minimum of 24 hours per week to their art.
  • Make a financial commitment to their practice and seek their primary income from their artistic work.
  • Have little presentation or publication history.
  • Are enrolled in, or have recently graduated from, a related degree/diploma program.

Download our criteria guide and learn more about artist opportunities with the RBC EVAP program.

Artist Opportunities

FAQs

What are the basic requirements of the program?

As long as you self-identify as an emerging artist you CAN apply if:

  • You are over 35 years of age
  • You have been showcased outside of Canada
  • You have had several presentations or publication in my history
  • You have recently moved to Calgary/Moh'kins'tsis
  • You have recently started your practice or are working with a new medium in your practice

As long as you can commit to coming into the city at Arts Commons for each of the scheduled sessions (about one per month) you can apply if you live outside of Calgary/Moh'kins'tsis or reside outside of Alberta.

I’VE NEVER BEEN TO A UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE, OR HAVE NOT RECEIVED ACCREDITED TRAINING IN THE ARTISTIC DISCIPLINE I’M WORKING IN. CAN I STILL APPLY?

Yes, you may still apply to both TD Incubator and RBC EVAP. Many professional artists/artistic practices are developed through trial and error, lived-experience, mentorship, etc. However, be prepared to speak to your specific experience and education, however you may articulate it. Even if your education / training is not formal or accredited it is valuable to know so the curatorial team can best understand your professional artistic journey.

I’ve left my artistic practice and am returning to it. Can I still apply?

Yes, you may still apply to TD Incubator and/or RBC EVAP. Many artists leave their artistic practice to focus on other career paths or to manage changes to their personal situation. The important factor is that you are committed to a professional arts practice – e.g. this is a career, not an activity that you pick up and put down lightly.

Can my artist collective apply as a group or do we all need to apply individually?

Artist collectives may apply as a group for both TD Incubator and RBC EVAP. Please make sure it is clear on your application that you are a group and list the name of a main contact person. If your application is successful, we will ask for information from the other members of the artist collective.

What is the time commitment required of artists selected for TD Incubator/RBC EVAP?

The program schedules will vary at different times during the season, but artists can expect to spend approximately four hours a month in professional development, networking, and or mentorship events. When artists are exhibiting and/or performing, there will be a greater time commitment required and artists will be paid according to industry standards. Time commitment and expectations will be outlined as part of the offer that is presented to invited artists.   

Engagements will take place in person in Calgary/Moh'kins'tsis. If you do not live in the city, you must be able to commute in for these sessions.   

Will I have the dates for professional development and networking ahead of time?

Yes. All program dates will be communicated as part of the program offer.

What are the possible paid opportunities for performance and/or exhibition?

Artists will be selected to showcase their work in the Arts Commons Galleries and a CARFAC standard artist fee will be paid to those exhibiting artists. 

Do I pay to participate?

No, there is no cost to participate in the professional development, networking, and/or mentorship elements of either TD Incubator or RBC EVAP – these are offered to advance artists’ knowledge, networks and career. Selected artists ARE compensated for the work that they exhibit and/or perform for audiences, and all selected artists will have at least one opportunity to exhibit and/or perform for audiences.

Are you looking to present existing work or new work from artists?

We are looking to present the artistic work that is most important to the artist applying in both TD Incubator and RBC EVAP. That said, the artist fees are associated with presentations and exhibitions, therefore the fees do not cover the commissioning of new work, unless you are a resident artist in the Ledge Gallery or Lightbox Studio (associated with the RBC EVAP program).

Can I be selected to exhibit in more than one gallery?

No, selected RBC EVAP artists will exhibit once in an Arts Commons gallery space per season. TD Incubator artists may be included in many series, performances, and/or exhibitions.