Home but not alone: CBC launches Art Uncontained and $1 million artist fund with Canada Council

As we socially distance, Art Uncontained is where you'll find the art that's keeping us all connected. Meet us there.

As we socially distance, Art Uncontained is where you'll find the art that's keeping us all connected

CBC Arts: Art Uncontained. (CBC)

Today marks the launch of CBC's Art Uncontained, a new initiative connecting Canadian artists and art lovers that includes original programming from CBC Arts and across the CBC network, as well as a new artist fund in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts.

In these unprecedented times, Art Uncontained aims to offer inspiration for audiences and support to the Canadian artistic community. New original content includes:

  • Digital showcase of a selection of projects supported by the Digital Originals fund in partnership with the Canada Council of the Arts
  • CBC Podcasts' PlayMe: The Show Must Go On, featuring adaptations from Canadian playwrights whose projects have been disrupted by the pandemic
  • COVID Residencies, video diaries from artists sharing how isolation has affected their art
  • Pandemic Diaries, personal essays from writers and artists reflecting on how they're coping with the crisis
  • Provocative original theatre from the National Theatre School of Canada's Art Apart program, which supports young and emerging Canadian theatre artists
  • Scenes From An Exhibition, offering exclusive virtual tours of Canada's finest galleries and museums
  • CBC Books' Transmission, featuring Canadian writers reflecting on these uncertain times
  • CBC Music's Quarantunes, highlighting Canadian music created in isolation; Great Canadian Singalong, a virtual singalong to Blue Rodeo's "Lost Together"; Inside Voices, a collaboration with CBC Kids and a professional vocal coach; and regularly updated music listings of live-streams from Canadian musicians
  • CBC Podcasts' The Quarantine Chronicles, featuring new, original audio dramas exploring the limits of lockdown
  • A COVID-19 resource list for artists and freelancers and weekly virtual arts listings to help people explore culture from home
"Quarantine" by Vancouver illustrator Zoe Si, one of the artists featured in CBC Arts' COVID Residencies. (Zoe Si)

As part of the initiative, CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts have teamed up for the creation of Digital Originals, a new $1 million fund to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work to online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Creators can apply for a maximum of $5000 in funding per project, a selection of which will be curated and digitally showcased by CBC/Radio-Canada and receive an additional $1000 grant supplement. Artists can apply with a brand-new work or adapt their work for online sharing.

"Digital Originals will help to keep Canadian artists working while connecting them to audiences from coast to coast to coast," says CBC/Radio-Canada president Catherine Tait. "In this time of social isolation, CBC/Radio-Canada is delighted to collaborate once again with the Canada Council and to kickstart creativity, bring creators' work to new audiences and ensure that our cultural sector thrives, now and in the future."

Adds Simon Brault, director and CEO of Canada Council for the Arts: "In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, even as social linkages are unravelling because of forced confinement, local artists have understood and responded by sharing their works online in unprecedented numbers. The Canada Council for the Arts aims to further support digital creation, production and dissemination, now during this pandemic, when it is most needed, and into the aftermath, which we can expect to be long and difficult. We are grateful to CBC/Radio-Canada for continuing to partner with us in bringing the arts to life online."

More information can be found on the Canada Council website.

"Hex," a multidisciplinary visual performance piece by digital arts collective potatoCakes_digital funded by the National Theatre School of Canada's Art Apart program. (National Theatre School of Canada/

Radio-Canada also continues to add new cultural offerings to its digital platforms:

  • La commande culturelle is asking Canadians to submit their ideas for special cultural commissions — songs, readings, poetry, dance, comedy acts or visual art to help them get through these trying times. These "command performances" will be published on and on its Facebook page.
  • On the Radio-Canada OHdio app, Théâtre à la carte gives listeners the chance to revisit original theatre productions that were recently on stage or on the radio, adding to the app's robust cultural offering of comedy shows, audiobooks and music playlists that showcase Canadian talent.
  • ICI ARTV, Canada's only French-language specialty channel focused on culture, continues to promote local artists and their works through its programming, on its social media and on

As we socially distance, Art Uncontained is where you'll find the art that's keeping us all connected. Meet us there.

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

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