Inuktitut iPhone app to help Inuit artists

A new iPhone and iPad application hopes to help Inuktitut-speaking artists apply for Canada Council for the Arts grants.

App is also first-ever in Inuktitut-language

A new iPhone and iPad application is giving Inuktitut-speaking artists a leg up.

Called the CC Grant app, it helps users write proposals for the Canada Council for the Arts. The Canada Council awards hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to artists across the country.

A new Inuktitut-language iPhone and iPad application hopes to help Inuit artists write grant proposals for the Canada Council for the Arts. (Laura Wright/CBC)

It is the first-ever downloadable program in the Inuktitut language.

Inuit art is well-known across the globe. Prints and knits from Cape Dorset and Pangirtung are highly valued and carvings from any given community are unique and desired.

The Canada Council recognizes that, but wondered why so few Inuit applied for grants.

"We began looking at ways to improve access for artists living in remote areas to access our grant applications and our programs," said Donna Gazale from the Canada Council.

21st Century technology meets ancient language

Myna Ishulutaq teaches Inuktitut at the Pirurvik Centre in Iqaluit. She says it could really help artists who are writing in a second language, or who only speak Inuktitut.

"This will really help Inuit, to artists who apply, not just needing a translator all the time but now they'll be able to read and understand on their own," said Ishulutaq.

Mathew Nuqingaq is an artist and he has done some consulting for the council over the past twenty years. He was one of the first to see the app.

"There are so many artists that are here in Nunavut, I think we have the most artists, and we are the least that get the funding," said Nuqingaq.

He says it’s a step forward to help more Inuit make a career out of their craft.

"It’s great because when the artist gets the funding, it's a living allowance," he said. "They get to live without having to think about having to sell their pieces for a while and then they get a collection. That way, when they get a collection, they'll get a showing in a gallery,"

The only concern Nuqingaq takes is the Council's lack of an Inuktitut-speaking employee to further help Inuit artists to apply for funding.

But after this, he hopes that step is not far behind.

The app is free and available on iTunes and the Android market. It’s also available in English and French.