RBC Emerging Artist Award

Nominations are now closed

RBC Emerging Artist ProjectThe RBC Emerging Artist Award was established to recognize and encourage the achievements of Ottawa artists who are in the early stages of their career in the arts and are working towards becoming recognized professional artists, while engaging with the community.

This award is presented by RBC and the Ottawa Arts Council to recognize emerging artists of all disciplines in Ottawa. The recipient will receive a $5,000 award and two finalists will receive $1,000 awards.

Past recipients

How to Apply

An individual may apply for the award by filling out this form and gathering the required supporting documents, including a letter of recommendation and other materials. The completed package should be submitted to awards@ottawaartscouncil.ca via WeTransfer.com, before the deadline.

Career Level Guidelines

The following guidelines are intended to guide the artist in identifying their level of art practice. For the purpose of this award, we consider an emerging artist as:

  • Having a body of work they feel reflects the accomplishments of an emerging artist.
  • Having dedicated between two and eight years to their professional practice
  • Having received local or national exposure with limited, if any, international exposure.


Should the applicant not fully meet these criteria but still wish to apply, they are asked to provide a brief statement (100 words) to contextualize their decision to identify at this level of practice.

The jury may assign applications to Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Artist Award if they deem that category more appropriate to the applicants career level.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for this award must:

  • Nominate themselves or be nominated by an individual or group who may only endorse one applicant in each category per year.
  • Have lived in the National Capital Region (defined as 75 km from Parliament Hill) for the previous two years.
  • Be involved in Ottawa’s professional arts community and work as a professional artist that seeks payment for their work.
  • Be recognized by artists working in the same artistic discipline and has a history of public presentation or publication.
  • Not have previously received this award.
  • Not have been shortlisted for this award in the previous year.
  • Not be currently enrolled in full-time training.

Evaluation Criteria

  • The applicant is clearly recognized as an emerging professional artist.
  • The artistic merit of the applicant’s body of work, outside of basic training.
  • The applicant demonstrates involvement in Ottawa’s arts community.
  • The applicant demonstrates a commitment to further career development.


The Ottawa Arts Council is engaged in applying an equity lens to our programs, as such, we strongly encourage applicants from Indigenous and equity-seeking communities to self-identify. 

Support Documents

These documents will help the jury better understand the nominee’s artistic practice and contributions to the Ottawa arts community.

Your Applications and Support Documents must be submitted via WeTransfer.com to awards@ottawaartscouncil.ca. Incomplete or late packages will not be reviewed by the jury.

Please include the following documents in the application in 12 pt font:

  • Completed Form
  • Short Biography
    A short bio describing the nominee in 100 words or less.
  • Artist Statement
    A text of up to two pages that explains the nominee’s art practice to the interdisciplinary jury.
  • Artist’s CV
    A CV of up to three pages that demonstrates the nominee’s achievements as an artist, their participation in art projects (such as exhibitions, performances, recordings, published works, etc.), and their formal and informal training.
  • Letter of Nomination
    The application must include a letter that explains why the nominee should receive this award. It should describe their professional artistic development and their involvement in the Ottawa arts community.
  • Additional Letters of Support
    You may also include up to five pages of additional letters of support to strengthen the application.
  • Support Materials
    Include up to 10 pieces of support material that is appropriate to your artistic practice and strengthens your application. Be sure to fill out the Support Materials List for any materials included in the application. Your support materials can include any combination of the following up to a total of 10 pieces: Images
    • Up to 10 JPGs, at least 1920x1080 px, no more than 5 MB per file. Audio
    • Up to 3 files (or links), 3 minutes each or with a maximum total running time of 9 minutes. Video
    • Up to 3 files (or links), 3 minutes each or with a maximum total running time of 9 minutes. Text
    • A single document (DOC, TXT, or PDF) containing one or more excerpts of your writing (poetry, creative writing, original composition, script, etc.) with a maximum length of 10 pages.

Please use Adobe Acrobat to complete the PDF form.