Thursday, June 16, 2022

Grants & Funding for emerging and professional artists

The Talent Trust is committed to supporting emerging artists in any way we can through funding, mentorship, collaboration, and promotion.  Each year, we provide scholarships and special awards to emerging artists to help support the cost of their studies.  We know this is a big help to each recipient, but we also recognize that there are other expenses or projects that may need support.  Have a look at the funding opportunities below, you or an artist you know may be eligible!

Arts Equity Funding Initiative

This program helps emerging and established professional artists from designated communities who have historically faced barriers to accessing funding support. Designed to support artistic growth, development, production and dissemination, the initiative is available to the following designated communities of artists:

  • Indigenous (Mi’kmaq as well as other First Nations, Métis and Inuit)
  • African Nova Scotian
  • Black
  • Racialized people of Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or mixed racial descents
  • Artists who are deaf, partially deaf, or hard of hearing
  • Artists who have disabilities
  • Artists who have mental illness or are mad-identifying

Create - up to $15,000: supports projects to develop or create new work

Present - up to $12,000: supports the public presentation of artists’ work.

Professional Development - up to $12,000: provides funding to strengthen artistic or administrative capacity through formal study programs, mentorship, workshops, apprenticeship, conference, and other professional development activity.

The deadline to apply for this grant is September 15, 2022. 

Mi'kmaq Arts Program

The Mi’kmaq Arts Program supports the development and continuation of Mi’kmaq art forms in the territory of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). Arts Nova Scotia recognizes the specific needs and practices of the Mi’kmaq arts community and acknowledges a new funding program is required. 

Arts Nova Scotia aspires for all Nova Scotians to have opportunities to engage with the art forms that derive from Mi’kmaq language, world views, practices, and protocols.  Nova Scotia-based Mi’kmaq artists, groups (including ad-hoc groups) or organizations are eligible to apply. It is important to be recognized as an artist in the Mi’kmaq community as Peer Assessment Committees consider community connections. 

Creation Grant - $500 - $15,000: Assists with projects that involve the creation of a new work of art in any form including cross-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary work(s).

Presentation Grant - $500 - $12,000: Assists with projects that involve public presentation of artistic work(s).  

Professional Development Grant - $500 - $12,000: Assists with projects that involve activities intended to strengthen artistic or administrative capacity through formal study programs, mentorship, workshops, apprenticeship, conferences and other professional development activities.

In addition, applicants can be awarded in the same 12-month period as a Creation, Presentation or Professional Development grant a Visual Arts Materials Grants:

Visual Arts Materials Grant - up to $750: Assists artists working in the visual arts, crafts or traditional/customary art forms to create artwork. Grants of up to $750 are to help cover the cost of buying art materials and supplies.  This grant is intended for artists who in need material support only. 

The application deadline is September 15, 2022. 

Music Performance Trust Fund Scholarship Initiative

Music Futures Scholarship, open to students who do not have a family member affiliated with a musician’s union but who are pursuing degrees in music. This is the revitalization of a scholarship originally offered by the MPTF beginning in 1996.  There will be 30 scholarships of $2500 each awarded this year.

Scholarship applications are open June 1, 2022 to July 15, 2022.

Hot Docs: Film Funds

Hot Docs is dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary. Through its Film Funds, Hot Docs provides documentary makers with development, production, and completion grants, as well as professional development opportunities. Applications are currently being accepted through the following programs: The Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund supports filmmakers telling engaging, high-quality stories that embrace music artists in all their forms and that demonstrate Canadian music's role in the world. The Fund also welcomes international music stories told through the lens of Canadian filmmakers. Grants ranging from $15,000 to $60,000 are provided, along with creative and professional development support. The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund provides production grants of up to $20,000 to Canadian documentary filmmakers. In order to be eligible, applicants must be a corporation unaffiliated with any licensed network or programming undertaking. The deadline to apply for both of these programs is July 27, 2022.

Bloomberg Philanthropies: Asphalt Art Initiative

Bloomberg Philanthropies' Asphalt Art Initiative seeks to help cities use art and community engagement to improve street safety and revitalize public space. The Asphalt Art Initiative grant program funds visual art, typically painted murals, on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure in cities, with the following primary goals: improving street and pedestrian safety, revitalizing and activating underutilized public space, and promoting collaboration and civic engagement in local communities. The Initiative is currently accepting applications in Europe, and will provide up to 20 European cities with grants of up to $25,000 each, as well as on-call technical assistance. Eligible sites should be on or adjacent to active roadways, and may include crosswalks, intersections, vehicle/parking lanes, plazas, sidewalks, or transportation infrastructure such as traffic barriers, highway underpasses, or utility boxes. All cities in the continent of Europe with at least 100,000 residents within the administrative division of the city are eligible to apply. The application deadline is July 11, 2022.

Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarships will be open in January 2023.

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Welcome Susan Hanrahan and Michelle Lahey to the Talent Trust Board of Directors

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust Annual General Meeting was held on May 30, 2022.  It was wonderful to come together to reflect on the 2021-22 fiscal year, and NSTT's 77th year serving the arts community! 

The successes, growth, and support the Talent Trust offers to Nova Scotia's emerging artists wouldn't happen without the support of our Board of Directors.  They volunteer their time and expertise each year to ensure the Talent Trust meets its mission and goals.  We warmly welcome Susan Hanrahan and Michelle Lahey to our Board of Directors.

Susan Hanrahan recently retired after working 33 years with Craft Nova Scotia, 26 of them as the organization’s Executive Director. In that role, Susan worked to provide Nova Scotian craftspeople opportunities to participate in exhibitions, art fairs, trade shows, educational and best-practices missions, conferences, and partnerships with craft organizations and events both here and across Canada, the USA, and Europe. Susan was a founding member of Craft Alliance Atlantic Association, and was heavily involved with the Canadian Crafts Federation, Arts Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Cultural Network, and the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia. 

“The right support at the right time can make a huge difference to an artist’s career. Not only does the Nova Scotia Talent Trust contribute financial assistance through scholarships and awards, it also provides the critical validation and encouragement so necessary to the growth and development of all artists. For more than 75 years, the NSTT has made significant contributions to the well-being of our provincial cultural community. I am honoured to serve on the NSTT Board as it continues this vital work.” - Susan Hanrahan

Michelle Lahey is an instructor in Cape Breton University's School of Arts and Social Science. She also serves on a number of boards including: Talbot House and the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design. She regularly volunteers for the Free Legal Clinic located at the Sydney courthouse.  Michelle obtained her B.A. from Cape Breton University, and received her LL.B., and B.C.L. from McGill University in 2017. After graduating, Michelle articled with a regional firm in Nova Scotia, until she was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in June 2018. In April 2019, Michelle joined the Sydney law office of LaFosse MacLeod.

"The Nova Scotia Talent Trust's mission is integral in ensuring the continued vibrancy of Nova Scotia's arts community. By supporting emerging artists with important financial assistance, the Trust directly impacts the province's cultural landscape and fosters the growth of its creative industries. I am delighted to help advance this vital work as a board member." - Michelle Lahey

Once again, welcome to Susan and Michelle.  And a thank you to our returning Board members: Adrian Hoffman (Acting Chair), Victoria Hines (Vice Chair), Natalie Wells, (Treasurer), Breagh MacKinnon (Secretary), Pamela Ritchie (Development Committee Chair), and Wallace Smith Jr.  Your commitment and dedication to the Talent Trust is very appreciated by all.  

You can find the full roster of our NSTT board on our website. 

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Welcome Charlotte Wilson-Hammond as a Talent Trust Lifetime Honorary Director


Today, we acknowledge Charlotte Wilson-Hammond 
and her outstanding contribution to the Talent Trust.

Since moving to Nova Scotia in 1971 as an emerging visual artist, CharlotteWilson-Hammond has been an incredible support and advocated for the arts, both provincially and nationally.  She is a founding member of Visual ArtsNova Scotia, Eye Level Gallery and the Coalition For Arts and Culture.  

Charlotte has served on the Board of Governors of NSCAD University, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Conference of the Arts, and Canadian Artists Representation (CARFAC). 

She also served on the Nova Scotia Talent Trust Board of Directors for over 20 years.  During this time, she served as Chair for several years and served on every committee at one time or another.  Charlotte's enthusiasm, energy, and passion for the arts have made a lasting impact on the Talent Trust for years to come.

In 2004 Charlotte won the Portia White Award in honour of her outstanding artistry.  Charlotte used this award to establish the The Charlotte Wilson Hammond/Visual Arts Nova Scotia Award. This $1000 annual award is given to an emerging visual artist who shows exceptional commitment and potential each year.  This award has supported 17 emerging artists so far, with the latest recipient being Charles Bourne in 2021. 

It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to have had Charlotte serve on our Board of Directors for so many years.  We cannot express our gratitude enough for her commitment and dedication to the Talent Trust.  We look forward to seeing Charlotte at future events as our newest Honorary Lifetime Member.

Thank you, Charlotte!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Team Talent Trust Success at the Bluenose Marathon!

What an amazing experience for Team Talent Trust this past weekend at the Bluenose Marathon! 

Thanks to the hard work of the Team Talent Trust walkers/runners a total of $4678.62 was raised!
Thank you to everyone who supported Team Talent Trust. Your support provides scholarships to young artists when they need them the most. 
Team Talent Trust Members:
  • Catilyn Dwyer, NSTT supporter
  • Natalie Wells, NSTT Treasurer
  • Victoria Hines, NSTT Acting Chair
  • Andrew Son, NSTT scholarship recipient
  • Andrea Urquhart, Executive Director
  • Jacqueline Steudler, Former ED & NSTT supporter

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.  

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Mìos nan Gàidheal | Gaelic Nova Scotia Month

Celebrate Gaelic Nova Scotia Month by learning about Gaels past and present! You you can access Talent Trust scholarship recipients Abby and Ella Hanson's *FREE* virtual presentation by visiting their website and clicking on their photo. 

Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig!

For more events happening during the month visit the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia's website

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.  

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Join Team Talent Trust in the Bluenose Marathon


Over the last 78 years, the Talent Trust has supported over 1,000 Nova Scotians studying in the arts. 

We believe in the creativity of our up and coming artists. They enhance our communities and our cultural landscape. 

Scholarship recipients tell us that it's not just the monetary support but also the acknowledgement of their hard work through their professional peers (our jury panel) that gives them confidence to continue to follow their passion.  Be a part of our growing support team. 

Run for a colourful and creative future.

Join Team Talent Trust in the Bluenose Marathon Charity Challenge May 20-22, 2022! 

Click here to join or donate! 


Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.  

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Curtis Botham: Residency and Exhibitions

Visual Artist and former Talent Trust scholarship recipient, Curtis Botham, has been busy creating!

Curtis is one of two Artists in Residence at the Chester Art Centre. As part of the residency there will be an Artist in Residence Exhibition, which runs from June 8 - 15, 2022. The residency and exhibition is being shared between Curtis and textile artist Elise Campbell. 

Artist Statement (from the Chester Art Centre website) 

While in Chester, I’ll depict the local fishing/aquaculture industry, as part of a larger project I’m working on throughout 2022. I’ll avoid touristy, picturesque depictions, aiming instead for a documentary-style representation of the realities of commercial fishing. I hope to give viewers a fresh understanding and appreciation for the processes of fishers/aquaculturists, and how they shape their communities. My Chester project will culminate in a series of charcoal artworks on exhibition. I plan on connecting with the Chester Heritage Society, locals working in the industry, and conservation groups in order to facilitate an honest depiction of this quintessential Maritime industry.  

Curtis also had two pieces purchased by the Nova Scotia Art Bank in 2020 + 2021. Both pieces were made during his first Artist in Residency in New Glasgow (Sept. 2017 to Sept. 2018). The Art Bank is having an exhibition of the last two years' purchases at the Yarmouth Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and one of his drawings (Clear-Cut Forest) will be included in the show. The 2020 and 2021 Art Bank Purchase Exhibition opens Saturday, May 14, 2022. There will be an in-person reception/celebration on Thursday, May 26, 2022. 
Curtis also supports the Talent Trust though the $1,000 Curtis Botham Scholarship. This scholarship will be presented in 2022 to a Talent Trust visual arts applicant, studying at NSCAD University in fine arts (drawing and painting), working towards a Bachelor's degree or doing one of NSCAD's residency programs.  
Botham was the winner of the Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/VANS Award in 2017 and the 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award in 2018.
Join Team Talent Trust in the Bluenose Marathon Charity Challenge May 20-22, 2022! Click here to join or donate! 
Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter. 
Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

India Gailey Album Release: to you through


Cellist, composer, improviser, and former Talent Trust scholarship recipient, India Gailey, is releasing a new solo cello album called to you through on Redshift Records on May 13. It features works by Fjóla Evans, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Yaz Lancaster, and Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti. 

The album can be pre-ordered here. 

And there is a release concert on May 13, 8pm at St. George's Round Church.  

Tickets for that are available here.

About India (from her website):

India Yeshe Gailey (she/they) is an American Canadian cellist, composer, and improviser currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Pinned as “a young musician to watch” (Scotia Festival), she draws from many eras and genres to craft poetic narratives of sound, most often performing in the realms of classical and experimental music. She frequently works with living composers, musicians outside of the Western Classical tradition, and the intersection of standard and obscure. She has toured across Canada, The United States, and Germany as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator. India is also a member of the award-winning environmental quartet New Hermitage, which recently released their fifth recording, Unearth, to critical acclaim. 

India recently completed her Master of Music degree at McGill’s Schulich School of Music under the tutelage of Matt Haimovitz. Since then, she has worked with several much-admired composers of our time, including Philip Glass, Yaz Lancaster, Amy Brandon, Michael Harrison, Anne Lanzilotti, Nicole Lizée, and Andrew Noseworthy. India’s most recent work has been presented by organizations such as the Canadian Music Centre (TO), Government House (NS), International Contemporary Ensemble (NY), Metropolis Ensemble (NY), and Upstream Music (NS). India released her debut album, Lucid, a collaboration with three other emerging Canadian composers, in 2017. 2022 will bring the release of her new solo cello album to you through on Redshift Records, a recording of Lizée’s “Bookburners,” ft. NYC-based turntablist DJ P-Love, as well as a series of commissioned works written especially for India by Canadian composers. 

India holds numerous honours, including awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, the Canada Council for the Arts, Acadia University, and McGill University. In 2021, she was bestowed an “Emerging Artist Recognition Award” from Arts Nova Scotia. Venues at which she has performed or held residencies include the Canadian Music Centre, Domaine Forget, Garth Newel Music Center, Green Lake Festival, Halifax Jazz Festival, OBEY Convention, Open Waters Festival, Scotia Festival of Music, Tuckamore Festival, and other various halls, galleries, homes, bars, gardens, and castles. She can also be heard regularly on CBC and CKDU radio stations. 

India received her Bachelor of Music degree from Acadia University, where she studied with Norman Adams and Christoph Both. Over the years, she has played in masterclasses for renowned cellists such as Emmanuelle Bertrand, Colin Carr, Denise Djokic, Blair Lofgren, Antonio Lysy, Philippe Müller, and Shauna Rolston. Chamber music mentors include Denise Lupien, Ilya Poletaev, members of the Daedalus, Kronos, and Shanghai string quartets, Garth Newel Piano Quartet, Apple Hill Chamber Players, and Gryphon Trio. She studied improvisation with Jerry Granelli and Javanese Gamelan with Ken Shorley. 

As a composer, India is inspired by interdisciplinary interaction, and her compositions often explore environmentalism, magical realism, or minimalism. In addition to her musical studies, she has studied visual art at NSCAD University, and as a child studied ballet and contemporary dance, these other disciplines informing her compositional work. She has written music for Ear Camera, Keep Good (Theatre) Company, The Acadia Gamelan Ensemble, New Hermitage, and for various combos of musicians and dancers. She is currently working on a new body of work for solo cello. When not creating music, India enjoys making visual art, writing poetry, facilitating social meditation, and being with the trees, rocks, sky, and earth.

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter. 

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Talent Trust Scholarships: Frequently Asked Questions

Scholarships — Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know if I'm eligible for a Talent Trust scholarship? 

Visit our Eligibility page for the list of criteria.

What kind of study programs does the Talent Trust support?

  • University arts programs
  • College arts programs (like NSCC)
  • Programs in film, dance, theatre, music, literary arts, visual arts, or circus arts offered by private institutions
  • Private studies with one teacher
  • Summer classes in the arts
  • Summer festival study opportunities
  • Mentorships
  • Artist residencies
  • If you’re considering a study program not on this list, please let us know so we can assess its eligibility. 
    (We don’t fund the Verbier Music Festival Orchestra summer placement because it is free.)

Do you support arts teacher training?  

No. We don’t provide scholarships for teacher training programs. 

Do you support art therapy training?

No. We don’t provide scholarships for art therapy training programs. 

Do the application requirements change from year to year?

Possibly. We regularly review our application requirements, so they could change from one year to the next.

Tip: Review the General Application Guidelines and support material requirements for your discipline before you begin your application. You can find all updated files at

I study with a private teacher. What do I need for my application? 

Collect all the information required in the General Application Guidelines (page 2). See our General Application Guidelines for details.

Combine all the information from your teacher in one PDF file before adding it to your application. 

Late submissions of private teacher information will not be accepted. 

Tip: Get in touch with your teacher at least a month before the deadline. 

What browser should I use to submit my application?
Our system is built to work best with Chrome. Note: Microsoft's Internet Explorer is out of date and will not work with our system.

How long does it take to complete the online application?
According to our latest survey, plan on spending an hour or more to complete the application process. If you have all your information before you begin, you may be able to shorten that time.

Tip: Plan ahead. Carefully review all the application and support material requirements before you begin.

Do I have to complete the application at once? Can I start today and finish it tomorrow? 

The system is able to save everything so you can work on your application a little at a time. 

Tip 1: Use Chrome as your browser for best results. 

Tip 2: If you have any technical problems let us know right away.

How much can I ask for in my Budget?

Our scholarships are between $800 - $4000. You can only ask for a portion of your study expenses.

How many video links can I attach to my application?  

One video link. Combine your videos into one file. Your video index needs to indicate at what time each piece starts and ends, e.g.  introduction 0:00 – 0:32, first music piece title 0:32 – 2:58 etc

Tip: In addition to the video index in your application, add the start time of each piece in the video information section on YouTube. Don't change the video link until the end of the application year.

I don’t want anyone to see my application video. What can I do? 

On YouTube you can set the video to unlisted. Only people with the link can see it. Do not make the video private. If you do, we won’t be able to view it. 

I’m a visual artist. Can I upload separate images of my work? 

No. You need to upload a portfolio in PDF format containing all your images and the information of each image. 

Use high quality photos (no large files); no frames should show (crop if necessary), only your artwork is important

Your images should be 72 dpi for your digital portfolio (300 dpi is only required for printing)

Each page should contain a single image of your work and its description (10 images = 10 pages)

Keep it simple! (maximum file size is 8 MB)

What happens after I submit my application?  

Our staff will look through your application to make sure all required files are attached and your links work. If we see anything that could be improved, we’ll send you an email and ask you to send an updated version by email.

When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email that also contains the date when you will be contacted with your application results. 

Be patient: our staff will get in touch with you as soon as possible. 

Tip: The earlier you apply, the more time you will have to improve your application. 

I made a mistake in my application and only noticed after I pressed submit. What can I do? 

Email our staff at scholarship(at) and let us know right away. We can adjust your application for you. 

Do not try to update your application yourself! The system will create duplicates which will make it difficult for us to know which version is the correct one. 

Start your application process early so you have enough time to thoroughly review it. 

Save your application and read through it a day or two later to catch any small errors. Then submit it.

COVID-19 adjustments in 2022

Given the importance of maintaining social/physical distancing, and possible self-isolation for some, we understand that meeting some of the application requirements for the Spring/Summer scholarship deadline will not be possible. For example, it may not be possible to record your videos in a studio/theatre or to have someone accompany you for your piece. 

Please know we will be understanding of these limitations and will welcome modifications (filming in your living room, solo performances rather than being accompanied, etc.). Please do your best to meet the requirements that are within your control. (side note: Always hold your camera horizontal so that the Scholarship Selection Committee members can see you fully.)

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter. 

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Meet Spencer MacKay, 2022 Nova Scotia Talent Trust Ambassador

We are thrilled to announce Spencer MacKay is this year's Ambassador. Spencer received a Talent Trust Film scholarship as well as the Sheila S. MacKenzie award in 2021.  He is already an accomplished and promising film director, with many exciting projects in the works.  You can follow Spencer's work here.

Spencer describes how the support of the Talent Trust, as well as the inspiration from his grandfather, has impacted his journey as an artist:  

I am incredibly honoured to have been recognized as the 2022 Ambassador for the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. Since graduating the NSCC Screen Arts program in 2018, I’ve been working as a local writer, director and film producer in Halifax. In the years since graduating, my films have fortunately found success and awards on the festival circuit, I’ve been lucky enough to receive national coverage when CTV National News across Canada took notice of my film, Same Nightmare, and discussed it with me on the air, and I’ve also participated in fifty-six-hour film challenges as well to further challenge myself as an emerging young artist.

Like it has been for a lot of people, this pandemic has been a challenge for me both personally and artistically. On an artistic level, it’s forced me to be more methodical and realistic with the choices I make because there’s so many health and safety factors to consider now that weren’t there three years ago. On a personal level, I lost my grandfather last spring following a stroke he had, and given how close the two of us, it was a very challenging loss to process.

We were so close that to me he was my father figure that I’d look to growing up (I never knew my biological father growing up). Just like I am, my grandfather was very passionate about the arts and was a producer and director of theatrical productions himself. Watching him all through growing up, I quickly learned how to take what I was seeing from my grandfather and apply it all to film productions instead of stage productions (though I do still have a great love and appreciation for the theatrical side of the arts as well).

My grandfather was a hero and a role model for me all through growing up, and especially as a person with a disability in a mobile wheelchair, being able to watch him all through growing up and see that he never let his MS take away his ability to live, was a really great example for me to have. My grandfather passed on March 5th 2021, following a two week stay in the hospital, and as he was in the hospital, I was actually finishing my application for the scholarships deadline. In fact, I’ll never forget that the last conversation we ever had on the phone was me telling him that I was working on that very application. I had never received any kind of financial support as an artist before and so this was a really big deal for both him and I.

When he passed away, I was devastated, and even now as I sit writing this letter for you, I’m sitting with this deep lump in my throat over how much I miss him. I have to be honest and say that I was in a pretty dark place grieving in the weeks that followed his passing, but the thing is, my grandfather never wanted to be mourned or grieved. Instead, he wanted to be celebrated and honoured. He really hated the idea that the family would put their lives on hold for him (he never wanted to be a burden to anyone). The only real way for the family to do that was to go on doing what he knew they loved doing the most, and when I received word back that I had received the Talent Trust’s support for my mentorship and project (which is entitled Scouter Joe ), it gave me a reason to do that and through that, I wasn’t just continuing to do what I loved the most, but also what he loved the most.

One of the things that my grandfather was particularly known for in the town of Amherst, Nova Scotia, was founding the non-profit organization, Showcase Productions. My grandfather believed very strongly in investing in both, the youth, and the arts, so he set up an organization just like the Talent Trust that would raise money to give young people (specifically in the Cumberland County area) scholarships and bursaries to study the arts in a post-secondary education. My grandfather believed that everyone should have access to study the arts (if they wished) regardless of their financial circumstances and worked to bridge the gap for so many young people whose lives were transformed as a result of the work that organizations like both his and the Talent Trust do on regular basis. If he was still around today, I think he’d be really happy to see that his own grandson was supported in the exact same way by another organization, as he had supported so many others with his organization.

I think that having the Talent Trust’s support to pursue the mentorship and Scouter Joe project was instrumental in me processing my grief over my grandfather’s loss because it gave me something to wake up and be excited about doing while also bringing me closer to him in a way because it allowed me to do something that he also would’ve loved doing with me. It wasn’t just on a personal level that their support helped with, it was also on an artistic level too. Having the Nova Scotia Talent Trust’s support to pursue the mentorship and project was instrumental in my artistic development because it helped pave the way for me to receive support from other organizations too. Thanks to the Nova Scotia Talent Trust’s support and the mentorship that was supported as well, they showed me what made grant applications strong and what made grant applications weak. Thanks to the Nova Scotia Talent Trust’s support, I was also able to show other organizations that I had experience with managing money on a film production budget.

In the last twelve months alone since receiving the first support I’d ever receive as an artist with the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, I’ve gone on to receive a grant from Arts Nova Scotia, AFCOOP’s “Independent Filmmakers Grant”, the “Won Lee Fellowship” Award from Tangled Art + Disability in Toronto, Canada, and my first ever grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. Not to mention the “The Shelagh Mackenzie Award” from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, which single-handily funded a micro-budget passion project that I’ve been trying to make since 2019 and was finally able to direct in January of this year. I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better because I’ve had the support of the Talent Trust. I can also say with certainty that I know I wouldn’t be the only recipient who could say that statement either.

To anyone reading this who has helped support me from within the organization, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and to anyone reading this in general, please continue supporting the artists of tomorrow, because they need you, what you do matters, and the decisions you make are what changes these artists’ lives."


Spencer MacKay

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Catching up with Valerie Colgan, NSTT recipient 1958

It is always exciting to catch up with past scholarship recipients and learn about their achievements, especially those artists who began their artistic journeys many years ago.  Valerie Colgan received a Talent Trust theatre scholarship in 1958 to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.  After completing her training, Valerie remained in London where she has been acting and teaching theatre for the past 64 years.  

Valerie has had an exceptional career, with an extensive CV that includes film, television, theatre, and radio.  There are far too many roles to list, but some of her most famous roles include Lucilla Harris in Anne of Green Gables (1972), Outer Space Controller in Aliens(1986), and War Department Clerk in Saving Private Ryan (1998).  Her work also includes many plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End, and Chichester Theatre Festival, as well as over 100 BBC radio plays.

She has spent many years teaching theatre at several universities and colleges.  She served at The City Literary Institute as the Head of Drama, Dance and Speech Department with 3500 students in 1990, and Head of Performing Arts Department with 7000 students in 1994.  Valerie is a Trustee of The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, a charity that supports smaller-scale theatre projects in London.  She is also an Honourary Governor of Sadler's Wells Foundation, one of the world's leading dance organizations that supports and mentors emerging artists.

Now 86, Valerie is still acting and teaching.  She was thrilled to catch up with the Talent Trust to update us and express thanks for the support in starting her artistic career so many years ago: "I am writing to thank you very sincerely for helping me when I was young.  You gave me a grant in 1958 to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for three years and I have been acting and teaching acting in London ever since.  At 86, I can say I have had a wonderful life thanks to your early help.  Yours gratefully, Valerie Colgan."

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Scholarship Applications for May 1 Deadline Now Accepted

Applications are now being accepted for Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarships for studies between September 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. The deadline is May 1 at 5 p.m. ADT. Learn more here.

Apply early so that we can help you improve your application and avoid last minute technical problems.

We advise applicants to read the submission guidelines  carefully and to submit applications early since there are a number of changes for film, music, visual arts, dance, circus arts, literary arts, and theatre this year.

Please let the studying artists in your life know about our scholarship program.

For questions about scholarships and applications please get in touch with our Scholarship Program Coordinator Jackie Dowling at scholarship(at)

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Wildhood: Canadian Screen Award Nominations

Congratulations to former Talent Trust scholarship recipients Bretten Hannam (writer and director) and Gharrett Paon (producer) whose film Wildhood was nominated for Best Motion Picture at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards.
Gharrett was the winner of both the Shelagh MacKenzie Award and the 2011 Canada Game Young Artist of Excellent Award in 2017.
Other nominations Wildhood received are:
  • Best Achievement in Casting
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Direction
  • Best Leading Performance
  • Best Supporting Performance  
Wildhood will be in theaters March 11, 2022
Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.
Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)