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ArtStarts Showcase

Are you an artist interested in reaching new audiences by bringing your touring performance or workshop to schools? Do you want to inspire young people to learn about the world and themselves through the arts?  

Apply to the ArtStarts Showcase - an event that brings together a network of schools and arts programmers interested in booking arts experiences for young audiences. Successful applicants will join the ArtStarts Artists on Tour Directory and be supported to tour schools across BC.

Additional benefits include:

  • An integrated booking service to facilitate school tours
  • A marketing platform to share your work suited for young audiences
  • Professional development opportunities to continue to expand your practice and connect with peers and mentors

The 2019 ArtStarts Showcase will be presented in Spring 2020. Approximately 30 artists across disciplines will present a sample of their touring performance or workshop followed by a Q&A. 

QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, and/or LGBT2QIA people who are also Black, Indigenous, and /or people of colour) performing artists have an opportunity to apply for our QTBIPOC Showcase Intensive happening this August. This initiative is focused on supporting QTBIPOC artists to apply to Showcase and join the Artists on Tour Directory to perform on stages in front of young people.  Learn more about this opportunity! 

As an organization we are working towards the following goals:

  • Building capacity for artists who face barriers to the presentation of their work;
  • Supporting students who face barriers to accessing art in education;
  • Empowering educators to facilitate arts-integrated learning experiences for K-12 students;
  • Inspiring adult stakeholders to advocate for arts integration in their schools and communities;
  • Promoting arts integration as a solution to the current status of the arts in our province and society; and
  • Responding to social justice opportunities in the education system through the arts.

An Important Note on our Anti Oppression Mandate

Why has ArtStarts implemented an Anti Oppression mandate?

We recognize that we are uniquely positioned to support social justice opportunities in the education system. We would like to address systemic issues and colonial practices, especially those that we have perpetuated. One way we can start this work is by creating a more equitable Showcase application process.

This year, we will prioritize the following equity groups at our Showcase:

  • Artists of colour, especially Indigenous and Black women
  • Artists who identify as LGBT2QIA*, especially LGBT2QIA artists of colour
    *Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spririt, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual   
  • Artists living with a visible or invisible disability, especially disabled artists of colour

In order to ensure access, we are able to waive the $75 application fee for the groups noted above. If you are an artist who identifies with any of the equity groups noted above, or a group that we may have missed, and require an accessibility accommodation, please connect with Pavan Thind, Program Manager at 604.336.0626 ext 105 or

We are committed to providing students with accessible arts-based experiences in their schools and consider an intentional representation of equity groups an important part of this commitment. We take cultural safety and appropriation seriously and encourage artists to self-identify on this application form to help us ensure that students are thoughtfully engaging with traditional knowledge and stories in context.

The revised BC curriculum offers an approach that we support:

“ ... [C]o-operate and engage with experts from the community when learning about culture-specific contexts to avoid offence or misrepresentation or appropriation of culture. Cultural appropriation includes use of cultural motifs, themes, “voices,” images, knowledge, stories, songs, drama, and so on without permission or without appropriate context or in a way that may misrepresent the real experience of the people from whose culture they are drawn.”

Part of ArtStarts’ mandate is to challenge colonial, Eurocentric definitions of “art,” and beliefs about who gets to be an artist. One of the ways we plan to enact this mandate is by building capacity for artists who face barriers to both the creation and presentation of their work. We aim to address these barriers by providing a more equitable Showcase application process.

What’s Next?

Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions below to familiarize yourself with the application process to ensure you have met all the criteria and collected all the application pieces.

How to Apply!

Applications to perform in the 2020 ArtStarts Showcase will open on July 15, 2019


performances booked in 200 communities across British Columbia.

July 15, 2019

Applications Open

Spring 2020 (dates TBA)

ArtStarts Showcase

QTBIPOC Showcase Intensive

Applications Open

Get in Touch

Pavan Thind
Program Manager
604.336.0626 ext 105

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  • Why perform at Showcase?
    If you would like to join the Artist on Tour Directory, an annual resource (print and online) produced by ArtStarts that features listings of professional artists available to perform in urban, rural and remote regions across BC, you must apply and be accepted to the ArtStarts Showcase. The Artist on Tour Directory is accessed by school districts, across the province, which schedule performances through ArtStarts' Booking and Touring service. Last year, we booked over 2,100 performances in 200 communities across BC.
  • Who performs?
    From dancers and storytellers to musicians, theatre groups and more, the range of performing artists presented at the ArtStarts Showcase and Conference always proves to be diverse, engaging and of the highest calibre. Showcasing artists represent an outstanding mix of artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.
  • Who attends?
    Showcase attendees include BC School District art professionals, school representatives and community arts programmers, all of whom book touring performers for young audiences, along with delegates from across the province.

Application Process

  • Who can apply to Showcase?
    • Residents of Canada
    • Artists available to present a 9-minute (new artists) or 5-minute (returning artists) excerpt of your school performance on one of the Showcase dates: March 4 & 5, 2019.
    • Artists available to tour BC schools for at least 4 weeks (including at least 3 weeks outside the Lower Mainland) between September 2019 and June 2020.
    • Artists able to perform for an average school audience of 350-500 students. (Exceptions: storytellers, work shopping artists and groups offering two shows to smaller audiences for the same fee as one for a larger audience).
    • Artists who showcased in 2018 are not eligible. Some exceptions may apply.
    • Artists must have completed the Criminal Record Check process, as outlined below.
    • Submit your application by 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.
  • What are the application and subscription fees?
    The following is a list of fees to expect when applying to the ArtStarts Showcase. All fees are non-refundable.
    • Application Fee: $75 CDN
  • Application Checklist
    • I have read the assessment rubric
    • I have read and understood the guidelines and ArtStarts’ newly implemented Anti Oppression Mandate
    • I am available to Showcase on March 4 & 5, 2019
    • I am available to tour BC for a minimum of three weeks
    • I have submitted my non-refundable payment of $75 CDN

Online Application

  • What does the online application form include?
    The application form includes:
    • General Info – Artist and show information.
    • Your acknowledgement of ArtStarts Anti Oppression Mandate
    • Showcase History – For current ArtStarts artists.
    • Description of your art practice.
    • Proposed Show: While you may have several shows in your repertoire, please indicate the specific one that you would like to showcase and tour. Describe the concept of the performance or workshop you wish to tour in schools.
    • Description how your performance is relevant for young audiences.
    • When did you first develop this show? Describe the process of developing this show.
  • How do I determine my fee structure?
    Fees include travel and accommodation costs. This preliminary fee range is an estimate only. If accepted to showcase, ArtStarts will work with you to finalize these rates. By January 2019, fees will be considered final and cannot be changed during 2019-2020 school year.

Application Materials

  • What support materials do I need to submit?
    • Video: This is the most important piece of your application.All artists, including those who have already showcased, must submit up to two links to online videos. This link will be sent to selection committee members across BC and should reflect a performance recorded for a school or age-appropriate audience.
      • Video requirements:
      • Must be 5-10 minutes long.
      • Must be an online video (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo). DVDs will NOT be accepted.
      • Must showcase the performance you hope to present in schools.
      • Performances held in front of school audiences are preferred.
      • Must be a live recording.
      • Pre-recorded music over footage will not be accepted.
      • Exceptions apply to artists currently on ArtStarts’ Artists on Tour Directory, and professional theatre companies with new shows in early stages of production.
    • Artist CV: Please submit your professional CV of group and/or individuals. Include training, performance history in communities and/or schools as well as performance description, touring experience, etc.
    • References (mandatory for new artists only): Applicants must submit three letters of support from schools, community presenters or professional peers. References do not need to be submitted by current members of ArtStarts' Artists on Tour Directory.

Selection Process

  • What is the assessment process?

    All applications will be assessed by a jury of educators and artists. A regional committee also reviews the applications and provides feedback to the jury for consideration. 

    IMPORTANT: Download the assessment rubric that the jury will use to assess your application. Providing evidence to meet the criteria in the new and improved rubric will be your key to success.

    The rubric includes three key areas of assessment:

    Art Practice (33%)
    Technical ability and professional art practice.

    Concept + Relevance (33%)
    The translation of the art form to the audience experience.

    Execution + Engagement (33%)
    The artist’s capacity to build a relationship with the audience. The jury will primarily look to your video.

    In order to move forward in the selection process, applications must receive a minimum score of 66%.

  • How am I being assessed?

    The most important elements of your application are your answers to the application questions and your video. The jury will also review the provided support materials to complete the assessment process.

    Your video will be used to:

    • Understand the expression of your art form.
    • Assess whether your performance is rehearsed and refined.
    • Assess your stage presence and ability to sustain audience engagement.

    Your CV will be used to:

    • Assess technical artistry.

    Your References will be used to:

    Demonstrate support from schools, community presenters or professional peers

Key Dates

  • Mark your calendar!

    There will be a total of approx. 40 applications selected. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by December 1, 2018.

    Dates to Remember:
    • Application Due: October 31, 2018
    • Selection Committee: November 2018
    • Notifications to Artists: December 1, 2018
    • Fees & Content December 22, 2018
    • Artist Mentorship Session: January 2019
    • Contact Room Registration Opens: January 2019
    • Criminal Record Check January 2019
    • Showcase Information Session: Early 2019
    • ArtStarts Showcase: March 4-5, 2019