COVID-19 Update: May 5, 2020

The Winnipeg Arts Council continues to operate while keeping a close eye on the effects of COVID-19 in our community and communicating with other agencies, artists and arts organizations.

Winnipeg Arts Council staff are currently working, however the office is closed to the public and we will not be taking any in-person meetings in the immediate future. You can continue to contact us by email and we encourage you to reach out where you have questions or concerns.

The Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts

The 2020 Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts has been cancelled. We cannot in all conscience invite the arts community to support this event given the difficulties they face, regardless of whether the limitations on public gatherings are lifted this summer.

The Winnipeg Arts Council Awards

We hope to reschedule the Winnipeg Arts Council Awards for the fall so that we can celebrate the artists and arts organizations that are now, through any means possible, making a difficult time endurable. We are currently looking at October and will post updates as we have them.

Awards Nominations:

In the meantime, we continue to welcome nominations in each of the five Awards categories. The nomination deadline has been removed, meaning that submissions will be accepted on an ongoing basis until dates have been confirmed. Please visit for nomination information.

Impact on the Arts Community

The Winnipeg Arts Council did a quick consultation with arts organizations and museums in March to estimate the immediate impact of COVID-19 and found that for March and April alone, losses amounted to more than $8 million and some 900 temporary job losses. A more detailed study of the Canada-wide picture was recently completed by the Canada Council for the Arts and you can find out about it here.

Information About WAC Grant Programs 

Multi-year Grants

Payments have now been issued to all organizations receiving three-year Operating, two-year Program Support and Museums grants. If you have not received your full grant, please let us know by email. As previously stated, organizations which have reduced, rescheduled, or cancelled events and programming as a result of COVID-19 will still receive their 2020 grant.

Multi-year grant amounts have been revised to reflect the City of Winnipeg’s cut to the Winnipeg Arts Council. All multiyear grants over $15,000 per year will be reduced by 10% for 2020. Grants of $15,000 and under per year will remain at their 2019 levels.

While we are aware that changing circumstances make it impossible to develop new programming plans with any certainty at present, we appreciate being kept abreast (by email) of new developments.

Project Grants

Organizations and collectives that submitted the required programming revisions for Project Grant applications will have their requests assessed in the coming weeks. Applications for which no update was submitted have been removed from the competition.

Organizations holding 2019 Project Grants for activities which have not yet been completed or which have been derailed by the pandemic should contact the Winnipeg Arts Council as soon as possible.

Individual Artist Grants

Individual Artist Grant applications submitted at the March 10 deadline are currently being assessed and any updates will be made to all eligible applicants via email and on the WAC website.

Professional Development Grants

The Professional Development Grant program remains suspended indefinitely.


Artists and organizations currently holding grants in *any* program for activities which are impacted by COVID-19 should be in contact with the Winnipeg Arts Council by email to determine what steps, if any, are necessary. We understand that the circumstances will be different for each and every artist and organization and we will work with you to manage the situation as best we can.

Please note that because of the rapidly changing nature of the situation, circumstances may change at any time. We understand the uncertainty caused by the situation and we sympathize with all who are affected, in our sector and beyond.

Other information and links

Official Government Pages related to COVID-19

City of Winnipeg’s COVID-19 information page

Province of Manitoba’s Current Risk Status page

Government of Canada’s COVID-19 information page

Information for Artists and Arts Organizations:

It is paramount that artists and organizations document, as much as possible, the effects of the COVID-19 situation. This includes the financial, artistic and any other impacts you are sustaining as a result of this unprecedented public health crisis. There are many places to get information and we have assembled a list of resources which may be helpful. Keep in mind that things change quickly and for the most up-to-date information, phone or email the agency you are looking for.

Eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit including the allowable earnings and other criteria continue to evolve. Currently (as of April 27, 2020) individuals are allowed to earn up to $1,000 in employment of self-employment income in a four-week period. For self-employed people this net income (i.e. after your expenses are deducted from your gross). Artist royalties may be considered income depending on the nature of the work. For more information see

Government of Canada: Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Public Funders

Manitoba Arts Council

Canada Council for the Arts

Department of Canadian Heritage

Other local/ national resource pages

Creative Manitoba


Calgary Arts Development Authority and the Banff Centre have both compiled extensive lists of resources (some Alberta-only content) 

Dr. Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University, has published this guide to government assistance programs related to COVID-19. It is not specific to the arts, but it is updated regularly