Get guidance on applying for a Cultural Grant.

The Cultural Grants Program is intended to support a wide range of arts, culture, and heritage activity in Surrey including artistic practices (music, dance, theatre, literary, visual, media, inter-disciplinary, heritage, community-based and Indigenous arts) and cultural celebrations and events that reflect Surrey’s diverse heritage and community.

Program vision

The Cultural Grants Program supports and enhances Surrey’s arts, culture, and heritage sector through:  

  • Building organizational capacity and sustainability in each of existing and new local cultural organizations.
  • Investing in community-based cultural activities that promote awareness, access, participation and appreciation of arts, culture, and heritage.
  • Encouraging collaborative opportunities and partnerships.

General guidelines

  • All grant-funded events must be welcoming and accessible to the public.
  • Grants will be awarded annually for Cultural Celebration, Project, or Operating Support.
  • Only one grant application per organization per year will be approved.
  • Grants cannot be combined over multiple years.
  • Grants will be awarded based on the number of eligible applicants and the available funding for each year.
  • The City does not fund projects for 100% of funding. Organizations should review guidelines for specific grant types to see how much the City will support. 
  • Grants may be awarded for less than requested, based on the merit of the application and available funding.
  • The City reserves the right to retain up to twenty percent (20%) of the available grant funding as contingency funds.
  • City cultural investment strategies outlined in City planning documents will be taken into account when determining grant awards.
  • Grant recipients must still comply with all relevant regulations and procedures, including securing the appropriate permits for park use. Receiving a grant does not automatically confirm the approval of a City rental or event venue—including running programming or events in a City park.
  • Grant funding cannot support events hosted at private residences. Private residences are defined as “a separate dwelling, or a separate apartment in a multiple-apartment dwelling, that is occupied by members of a single-family unit”. This includes common areas within apartment buildings, properties, and all other areas that the general public cannot make bookings to utilize the space. 
  • Grant recipients are responsible for obtaining their own insurance, permits, and any other necessary approvals required to carry out their programs or activities.
  • All recipients must complete a final report at the end of their project in order to maintain good standing.
  • Groups who are not in good standing are ineligible to receive future Cultural Grants.
  • Groups must keep all receipts reported on their final report financial statement, and may be required to include them as part of their final report. 
  • Grant recipients must report to Cultural Grants City Staff (referred to as “City Staff” in guidelines below) any changes to the scope and scale of proposed projects. Email for more information.
  • Organizations are required to submit information on all of their funded events to the City of Surrey Event Page.
  • Organizations hosting ticketed events are requested to provide City staff with two complimentary tickets for attendance.

Grant recognition

  • Grant recipients must not use the City of Surrey logo on promotional material unless they have written permission from the City.
  • Instead, grant recipients must use the following phrase where possible when promoting programming:  
    “Funded in part with the support of a City of Surrey Cultural Grant”

Expenses not covered

  1. Activities that principally take place outside the City of Surrey.
  2. Projects that, in the opinion of the City, may be contrary to the public interest to approve for financial assistance.
  3. Ongoing core operations for Cultural Celebrations and Project grant recipients. 
  4. Capital Projects (equipment, new buildings, facility upgrades) will generally not be funded through the program.  
  5. Individual applicants. Payments cannot be made directly to individuals. Artists can apply with organizations, as funding will only be provided to groups or organizations. 
  6. Educational institutions, including SD36 (School District 36) and post-secondary institutions. Not-for-profits that work within schools are eligible to apply for funding. 
  7. Religious groups and political groups, or events that have an emphasis on religious activities. 
  8. For-profit organizations and business groups. 
  9. Deficit reduction. 
  10. Fundraisers.
  11. Contests. Contest funding refers to a scenario where grant funding is used to purchase prizes. Juried art shows where artists pay to participate are also not eligible for funding. 
  12. Bursaries and scholarships. 
  13. Art therapy, as defined as clinical psychotherapy involving expressive arts. 
  14. Student projects.
  15. Travel and hotel accommodations.  

Application process

  • Eligible applicants will be invited to an information session. This session will showcase the online application, as well as inform how to fill out the application form and address questions. 
  • The deadline for applications will be shared. All complete applications received by the deadline will be evaluated. 
  • The results of the evaluation and the related grants decisions made publicly available. Visit the Cultural Grants page to check for updates on when these announcements will come out. 
  • Each year there is a main grant intake period where completed applications that are received by the deadline are evaluated. 
  • In order to receive the funding for the year in which the organization is applying for, returning applicants must be in good standing. This means they have submitted all outstanding final reports from previous years to the satisfaction of the City before the final report deadline. The final report deadline is 60 days following the conclusion of the project.  
  • Organisations must have received confirmation that their previous grant reports were approved before receiving any new funding for future grant applications.  
  • Once applications are submitted, they are reviewed by City staff, evaluated by a committee, and approved by Council. 

Guidance for each type of grant

Get details on eligibility, coverage, and more.

Project grant

Under this category, grants will be provided to encourage partnerships and collaborations that result in cultural programs and initiatives.

Costs funded in this category may include any of the following:  

  • The grant award may contribute up to fifty percent (50%) of the project budget on a matching basis.  
  • Matching funds can be a combination of both cash and in-kind contributions. However, it's important to note that in-kind contributions in the form of volunteer hours are limited to a maximum of thirty percent (30%) of the eligible expenses. 
  • Organizations can apply for a maximum grant of $10,000 per year for upcoming projects.

The same projects cannot receive grant funding more than once. Speak to City staff if you have any questions.

Project grant eligibility criteria

To be eligible under this category, the applicant must be:  

  1. A not-for-profit organization (registered or non-registered)  
  2. Managing projects that are based in the City of Surrey. Non-resident organizations may still be considered for projects that take place within the City of Surrey's municipal boundaries and directly benefit Surrey residents. Priority will be given to projects that fulfill the following conditions: 
    • Employ and utilize a majority of Surrey-based artists for the project. 
    • Where there is no comparable organization based in Surrey. 
    • Avoid duplication of projects already offered by other organizations in Surrey. 
  3. Managing projects that start and finish within the project period. The project period lasts for 16 months, starting within the grant year.
  4. Demonstrating matching funds and/or in-kind contributions equivalent to the grant amount requested. 
  5. In good standing with the Cultural Grants Program. Returning applicants must submit all outstanding final reports from previous years to the satisfaction of the City before the final report deadline. The final report deadline is 60 days following the conclusion of the project.  
Cultural celebrations grant

Under this category, grants will be provided to eligible groups to support the organizations’ initiative to provide audiences with an original artistic experience as part of a larger event.

The costs funded in this category may include the following:

  • National standard artist fees paid to eligible artists. 
  • Honorariums paid to cultural professionals who may not meet the eligibility criteria of National standard artist fees. 
  • Supplies, materials, and services necessary for the artist's performance. 
  • Liability insurance and WorkSafeBC coverage, specifically to protect the artist.

Funding levels

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for up to $3,000 not to exceed 50% of eligible costs.  
  • Non-registered not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for up to $2,500 not to exceed 50% of eligible costs.

Cultural celebrations grant eligibility criteria

To be eligible under this category, the applicant must be:

  1. A not-for-profit organization (registered or non-registered).
  2. Based in the City of Surrey. However, non-resident organizations may still be considered for projects that take place within the City of Surrey's municipal boundaries and directly benefit Surrey residents. Priority will be given to projects that fulfill the following conditions: 
    • Employ and utilize a majority of Surrey-based artists for the project. 
    • Where there is no comparable organization based in Surrey. 
    • Avoid duplication of projects already offered by other organizations in Surrey. 
  3. Requesting a grant to support hiring an artist or artistic group to provide a cultural celebration experience. 
  4. Able to demonstrate how the proposed cultural celebration is accessible to the public and how the presentation of the artistic component benefits residents of Surrey. Organizations are asked to promote their Cultural Grant-funded event(s) on the City of Surrey events calendar.
Operating grant

The operating grant aims to support and sustain the work of mature, registered not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations that deliver consistent, meaningful, and original local programming, demonstrate sustainable administrative practices and organizational structures, and play a leadership role in enriching and enlivening Surrey’s cultural landscape.

  • Under this category, Surrey resident organizations that employ and compensate professional staff (i.e. executive director and/or artistic director) whose role is to enable the organization to plan, develop, and ensure its ongoing resilience, and who pay artists fees meeting national standards can apply for up to 25% of their annual operating budget to a maximum of $25,000 (previously $15,000).  
  • Organizations must apply each year.  
  • A funding approval in any given year should not be viewed as an ongoing source of funding.  

Operating grant eligibility criteria

To be eligible under this category, the applicant must:

  1. Have a clear and relevant mandate with a primary focus on arts and culture programming in Surrey.  
  2. Demonstrate a significant history of arts and cultural programming in the City of Surrey with proven community impact.  
  3. Based in the City of Surrey. However, non-resident organizations may still be considered for projects that take place within the City of Surrey's municipal boundaries and directly benefit Surrey residents. Priority will be given to operations that fulfill the following conditions: 
    • Employ and utilize a majority of Surrey-based artists. 
    • Where there is no comparable organization based in Surrey. 
    • Avoid duplication of services already offered by other organizations in Surrey. 
  4. Deliver a minimum of 75% of their programs to Surrey residents while ensuring programming is accessible to and prioritized for Surrey residents.  
  5. Have received at least two (2) project grants from the City of Surrey, and are in good standing with the Cultural Grants Program. 
  6. Be committed to providing arts and culture experiences that are open and accessible to all Surrey residents.  
  7. Demonstrate financial stability:
    • Provide evidence of diversified cash revenue including earned revenue, fundraising, donations, other grants.
    • Provide externally produced financial statements. 
  8. Demonstrate organizational capacity and sustainability:  
    • Have been operating for 5 (five) years as registered not-for-profit society in good standing;
    • Be supported by an active volunteer Board of Directors; 
    • Hire experienced and capable creative/artistic senior leadership and senior administrators, at least one of whom must be a paid Artistic Director, Managing Director, Managing Artistic Director, Executive Director or General Manager, compensated at industry standards comparable to similar-sized arts and culture organizations, and must maintain effective organizational structures.  
  9. Demonstrate a commitment to compensating professional artists commensurate with fees that meet national industry standards. 

Operating grant enhanced funding eligibility criteria

In 2022, the City introduced an increased grant amount for eligible organizations applying for operating grants that meet additional criteria with the intention to help support organizations fully based in Surrey, who provide year-round cultural programming to Surrey residents, and are seeking to develop as organizations, to also meet eligibility criteria for BC Arts Council and Canada Council grants for their field of practice.

Not all City of Surrey Cultural Grants applicants are expected to meet all the criteria for the enhanced amount of the operating grants (maximum $25,000) but may still be deemed eligible for regular operating grant funding (maximum $15,000) if they meet all but the enhanced grant criteria.

In order to meet criteria to receive enhanced operating funding, organizations must meet all of these criteria:  

1. Have a permanent address in Surrey from which the organization operates.

This is indicated by:

  • They operate a permanent facility with a Surrey address.
  • If they don’t operate a facility, the majority of their board have Surrey resident addresses.

2. Demonstrate arts and cultural programming for Surrey audiences year-round.

Programming for Surrey audiences is demonstrated by: 

  • Programming is offered at a verified Surrey address 
  • The Surrey public is invited and the programming is not limited to members.  
  • Programming is expected to be delivered in person and primarily advertised to Surrey residents 

Year-round programming is demonstrated by: 

  • monthly programming such as artist talks, or workshops 
  • an event series such as a season of performances.

3. Have arts/ cultural-based programming that primarily benefits Surrey residents  

  • Programming is hosted within a facility / venue with a Surrey address is considered to primarily benefit Surrey residents  
  • Programming, and/or the invitation to participate in programming is advertised and/or promoted to Surrey residents  
  • Those organizations offering some or most of their programming in a location outside of Surrey (e.g. in Langley, Delta or White Rock) or online, may not be given preference  
  • The programming does not present barriers to Surrey residents (e.g. programming is not offered to the public and may be restricted to those with memberships)  

4. Employ / compensate professional staff (e.g. artistic director, executive director).

  • Professional staff are those who contribute directly to the artistic production and artistic programming, that ensures the organization produces high quality experiences for audiences and contributes to the cultural development of Surrey.
  • Professional staff are those whose contributions to programming, including original content (program development, conducting, theatre production) and whose work is primarily credited for additional grants received by the organization (e.g. BC Arts Council or Canada Council) 
  • Compensation includes:  
    • Hourly wages  
    • Benefits including EI, insurance, WCB  
    • Compensation rates to be considered professional are those guided by national guidelines for artistic compensation  
    • Consideration to be given when this appears to apply: there is demonstrated merit for or a potential conflict of interest for an individual claiming multiple sources of compensation. An example would be a combination of the following  
      • board member, and/or:  
      • administrator and/or  
      • artistic director, and/or  
      • performer.  
    • Those whose paid work is fully dedicated to producing the cultural and artistic events which qualify for cultural grants funding and who are recognized as peers with others in their field of artistic practice, will be considered in the category of professional artistic staff  
    • Those who serve as staff for an organization, but whose work supports the organization, but who do not directly provide professional artistic services, such as bookkeepers, cleaners, administrative staff, will not be considered in this category.

5. Pay national standard artist fees to professional artists

  • Artists, when they are recognized as professionals by peers within their field of practice, are entitled to receive compensation for the services they provide  
  • The grant application demonstrates to whom and what fees were paid in the past, and a budget that demonstrates the fees to be paid for proposed programming  
  • Compensating artists on a sliding scale may be considered, although not as high as full professional fees. For example, lead artists in a theatre production may receive full fee, while those in an intern capacity may receive lower fees.  
  • While honorariums demonstrate understanding of the importance of paying artists, this will not be scored as high.
  • Those who serve as staff, on the organization’s board or the organizing committees, who receive fees for these services, are not to be included here.

6. Receive funding from BC Arts Council and/or Canada Council for the Arts for artistic productions. 

Surrey Civic Theatres (SCT) rental subsidy

Eligibility for this subsidy opportunity will only be considered for those cultural organizations who have applied for a City of Surrey Cultural Grant in the same year in which they intend to rent one of the three Surrey Civic Theatres: 

  • Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre 
  • Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre 
  • Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall 

This opportunity will prioritize those cultural organizations:   

  1. Who have not rented the Surrey Civic Theatres stages (Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre, Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre, or Centre Stage at City Hall) for their events ever, or in the past three years.   
  2. Who have already booked at Surrey Civic Theatres for their event, as indicated on the application form.
  3. Whose organization or artists would benefit from the experience of renting a professional theatre, to develop their art practice, build their audience, and qualify for support to continue their artistic work (i.e., qualify to submit grant applications to other funders, and to be competitive in a peer jury environment).  
  4. Whose event is primarily presenting artists.   

Costs subsidized in this category may include any of the following:   

  • Council-approved rental rates   
  • Front of House labour (Front of House Supervisor, ushers, concession staff)   
  • Technical labour (Civic Theatres technicians)   
  • In-house technical equipment   
  • Box office staff   

If your organization receives a SCT rental subsidy, the following conditions will apply: 

  • Receiving the SCT Rental Subsidy does not guarantee a rental. Organisations must contact Surrey Civic Theatres staff to arrange booking.  
  • The requested SCT venue(s) are operational and available on the date requested. For inquiries and to book your venue, please contact SCT venue Staff here:   
  • The subsidy for the SCT venue is limited to one rental agreement only   
  • The organization will be required to enter into a SCT rental agreement based on set rates and terms of use for the booking. 

Grants process

Staff will notify applicants of their confirmed grant awards in early 2024 after council has approved funding recommendations.

Payments process
  • Organisations will receive their grant funding in the form of a cheque. This cheque will be made out to the organisation and mailed to the address identified on the application.
  • Organizations that are still completing projects from previous grant cycles must complete there projects and receive confirmation that their final reports are approved, before receiving any further funding.
  • For grants of $1,500 or less, 100% of the full payment amount will be sent to the organisation. 
  • For grants of $1,501 or greater, 80% of the grant amount will be sent to the organisation. The remaining 20% will be released after City staff have approved the final report.
Final reports process 

Organisations need to send in final reports and receive confirmation of report approval in order to: 

  • Receive remaining 20% of grant funding (for projects over $1,500) 
  • Be in good standing in order to apply for future Cultural Grant funding.  
  • Final reports are due within sixty (60) days following the completion of the proposed Cultural Grant funded activities.  
  • Final report packages are emailed to all Cultural Grant recipients early in the year and can be requested at any time during the year by emailing
  • Final report packages must be complete in order to be reviewed by City Staff. 
  • Organisations must receive confirmation that their final reports from previous grant applications are approved in order to be in good standing and be eligible to apply for future funding.  
  • Failure to submit final reports may render the applicant ineligible to apply for future funding.
Occupational health and safety guidelines

Organizations/artists will be required to familiarize themselves with City of Surrey safety plans, policies, and protocols if using a City facility.


Appeal procedure

Appeals will be considered from organizations that have been: 

  • denied funding, or
  • where their final reports have not been approved

These are the general guidelines of the appeal procedure: 

  • In order to appeal, applicants are encouraged to email City staff to notify them of their intention to appeal. Email us at Staff will then advise on the next steps for the appeal process. 
  • Appeals will be considered when significant new information is presented that was not available during the original review process.
  • Appellants must notify City Staff in writing of their intention to appeal within twenty five (25) business days of the date that they receive notification of the City’s decision regarding their application or final report. 
  • The person appealing must clearly identify the additional information that they view as being important to their appeal of the decision.  
  • City staff will review all appeals and may refer the appeals to the evaluation committee and/or Council if deemed warranted.
Confidentiality statement

The information within the submitted application is collected in accordance with Section 26(c) and (e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used for the following purposes: determining suitability for and awarding of funding, tracking and distributing funding, program development and evaluation, and communication and outreach.

Information collected through the application process will be disclosed to the members of the evaluation committee in order to adjudicate this application. In addition, the applicant organization’s name, location of the proposed activity, funded activity, and award amount may be made publicly available, by way of the Internet, should funding be awarded.

For questions regarding the collection of personal information, please contact the Manager of Marketing and Communications | 13450 104 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3T 1V8 | 604-591-4011