NAC launches $100K relief fund for artists streaming concerts from home

Jim Cuddy is kicking off a new concert series called #CanadaPerforms Thursday afternoon, as part of a partnership between the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada to support performers trying to keep their shows going amid the coronavirus outbreak.

With concert and performance venues across the country shut down in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the NAC and Facebook have launched a $100,000 fund as short-term relief to support artists who are livestreaming their performances online.

Cuddy will deliver the first #CanadaPerforms show from a studio on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, alongside Blue Rodeo bandmate Colin Cripps, as well as his sons Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley. It will be streamed from the NAC’s Facebook page.

Others slated to perform in the coming days include Serena Ryder, William Prince, Irish Mythen, Erin Costelo and Whitehorse.

Further artists will be announced as they are confirmed.

“Canadians are at home, fighting isolation and loneliness. We hope #CanadaPerforms will amplify a movement already started with more and more artists turning to online platforms to find audiences, and provide those artists some much needed financial support until they can get up again on stage in front of a live audience,” Heather Gibson, NAC executive producer of variety & popular music, said in a statement.

Canadian performing artists (including musicians, comedians, dancers, singers, theatre artists and ensembles of less than 10 people) can apply by email to the NAC at [email protected]. Performers are asked to send their names, a description of a 45- to 60-minute livestream performance they will give, their chosen date between Thursday and March 31, 2020, and what streaming platform they will use.

Performers will receive a $1,000 grant, with NAC staffers and industry leaders to select the fund recipients. Some artists will also have their performances shared by the NAC through its Facebook page as part of #CanadaPerforms.

“We recognize the challenges that come with distancing and isolation. Music, dance and theatre have an enduring power to comfort, to inspire, to lift our spirits. Equally, performers thrive on their relationship with audiences,” said NAC president Christopher Deacon.

“In this challenging time, artist and audience, indeed all of us, need each other more than ever.”


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