Vivek Shraya launches VS. Art Grant for marginalized musicians

The author and musician will grant $5,000 to an artist who is Indigenous, Black or a person of colour and between 18 and 28 years old to create their debut EP

There are a number of grant and funding opportunities for music in Canada, but many of those are shrinking, and there’s a critical spotlight being shone on those that do exist for the ways they can overlook marginalized artists. Vivek Shraya has experienced this first-hand and, much like Charlotte Day Wilson and her Work Film Grant, wants to help up-and-coming musicians navigate a more equitable system. 

So this week, the author and musician is launching the VS. Art Grant – a new $5,000 grant for a musician or group who is Indigenous, Black or a person of colour and between 18 and 28 years old to create their debut EP. 

Beyond the money, the grant (a sister project to her VS. Books publishing imprint and mentorship program) will also include periodic conversations and support from Shraya to discuss album vision, promotion and marketing and industry resources. 

“Rejection and creative practice go hand in hand,” writes Shraya at “But when you are a marginalized body, it isn’t just your art that gets rejected. Because of the ways our art is inextricably linked to our backgrounds and lived experiences, and the ways that arts industries are inherently racist, misogynistic and homophobic, any rejection a marginalized artist experiences has deeper implications… In short, every rejection a marginalized body experiences in the arts industry is undeniably, and painfully, personal.”

So she’s paying it forward. “I wanted to create a grant that – I hope – will feel worthy of the emotional fortitude you must conjure to apply, with the assurance that your application will be reviewed by someone who is brown and trans, someone who knows first-hand what it’s like to be rejected for making music that is different, unrelatable and jarring, and someone who, despite these barriers, remains, steadfastly, a music lover.”

Applications are due May 15 and can be found here.

@nowtoronto | @trapunski

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