Home » ACWB Blog » May 2019’s Centre Stage with Nerdvana: The Web Series & Erin Schwab

May 2019’s Centre Stage with Nerdvana: The Web Series & Erin Schwab

Written by Hanna Fridhed, Engagement Coordinator


This month, for the very first time, Fort McMurray will host Tri-Level Meetings. These quarterly meetings, typically held in Edmonton or Calgary, bring together different levels of government related to arts funding- municipal, provincial and federal. May 8 through 10, ACWB is proud to welcome the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton Arts Council and Calgary Arts Development to Fort McMurray as part of these meetings. The visitors will have the opportunity to see: ‘Suddenly Mommy’ which is a one-woman show at Keyano’s Recital Theatre, view We Heal: An Exhibition in the Keyano gallery and meet with local artists, heritage, and arts organizations from around our region. Also, Canada Council will host one-on-one sessions with artists from any discipline to discuss the organization’s grant opportunities and best practices to utilize while applying for grants. These sessions are a continuation from the information session and artist one-on-ones Canada Council held last month. This is a great opportunity for local artists to learn more about obtaining funding, provincial level grants and how they can help further their artistic development and bring visions to life.
The evening of May 8, residents will have an opportunity for informal discussions with representatives from the different areas during the Meet and Greet Event held from 5:30pm-8:30pm in the Keyano Rehearsal Hall, hosted in partnership between ACWB and Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre.


Learning opportunities such as these are valuable to artists to further their practice. Even if an artist feels they are not ready to apply for a grant, having made connections to different organizations and hearing first-hand some ‘tips and tricks’ for successful application is a great to have when the time comes.


Erin Schwab, a visual and woodwork artist in Fort McMurray, received funding for her professional art practice from Alberta Foundation for the Arts grants and local municipal grants that helped cover the cost of workshops for her students. “Without access to the funding the work would not happen or be substantially reduced in scope and access for participants,” says Erin. “Artists often bear the financial burden to start projects that can reach far into the community and have continuing impact for years, with only the hope of recovering costs, let alone making a profit. Grants allow the artist to make choices not burdened by personal affordability but what will have the greatest impact on their work and participants.”


Local artist group NERDVANA has also benefitted from receiving grants. NERDVANA: The Web Series, which was made possible through the Telus STORYHIVE program, has been nominated for the Miami Web Series Awards, and has prompted the group to begin writing Season 2. The group behind NERDVANA has applied for and received funding on several occasions, culminating in 2017 when they received $100,000 to create NERDVANA: The Web Series Season 1. “The funding was a tremendous help that allowed us to compensate all the artists involved in our projects. It literally saved us from dying from exposure as we were able to rent generators to keep us warm during the cold Fort McMurray shoots,” says director Tito Guillen.


Learning how to write grant proposals can be an arduous process: “It’s not fun. The process varies between funding bodies, but they often ask for many of the same things,” explains Schwab. “Budget, project proposals, statements about the work, resume, portfolio, and then the final reporting once the project is complete. The more you do it the easier it gets, and you begin to build relationships with the funding bodies which is important.”


If you are interested in learning more about Canada Council and their New and Aspiring Artist program, visit