New partnership between the GNWT and Canada Council for the Arts will strengthen arts and culture organizations in the NWT

News Releases

Yellowknife — October 3, 2023

The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Canada Council for the Arts are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support the growth and sustainability of the arts and culture in the Northwest Territories (NWT) through capacity-building and sector development.

Through this partnership, the Canada Council will provide the GNWT with a financial contribution of $750,000 over three years.

The activities that will be co-developed with community input, and delivered by the GNWT over three years, include:

  • Recruitment of a full-time Arts Advisor located in the NWT to provide on-the-ground assistance and help build local capacity for grant application and jury assessment processes for arts and culture organizations seeking financial assistance.
  • Creation of a unique funding program to eligible arts and culture organizations of the NWT, with a focus on meeting the needs of Indigenous community organizations outside of Yellowknife. The new program will launch in 2024 and NWT artists and arts organizations will be informed of the new program.
  • Promoting the new funding, organizing outreach sessions, and offering capacity-building opportunities for arts and culture groups and organizations.
  • Increasing access to funding provided by the Canada Council for the Arts for NWT arts and culture organizations.

This partnership grows out of a shared desire to develop more responsive ways of supporting Northern Indigenous arts and culture organizations. It aligns with a renewed commitment by the Canada Council to meet the unique and varied cultural realities of the North, including through co-delivery initiatives. It also supports goal four of the GNWT’s Arts Strategy to strengthen the arts sector by increasing access to territorial and federal arts and culture funding.


“We look forward to working together with the Canada Council for the Arts to better support the arts and culture in the NWT. This co-delivery partnership will assist NWT artists by supporting capacity-building of regional community arts organizations. Building stronger regional organizations will increase opportunities for the public to experience and engage with the arts in meaningful ways.”

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment


“In partnering with the Government of the Northwest Territories, we are building on the community conversations that the Canada Council has had over the years with members of the Northern and Indigenous arts and cultural sector.  I am excited for this co-delivery partnership to make funding available across the North, while also nurturing meaningful relationships that enable those involved to thrive on their own terms.’’

- Michelle Chawla, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Quick Facts

  • In 2021, the GNWT released the NWT Arts Strategy that sets out a vision for how it will help support the arts and creative sector. The release of the Arts Program Review in November 2022 was the first key action item of the NWT Arts Strategy to be completed. The GNWT agrees with all the Arts Program Review’s recommendations and has started to make operational changes.
  • The NWT Arts Strategy Progress Tracker provides an overview of the progress towards all actions and deliverables of the plan.

Related Links



For media requests, please contact:

Government of the Northwest Territories

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories


Canada Council for the Arts

Communications and Engagement


1-800-263-5588 Ext. 5151