Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

National Arts Centre unveils $23-million fund to support Canadian arts

National Arts Centre CEO Peter Herndorff in Southam Hall Theatre.

David Kawai

The National Arts Centre has lifted the lid on a major fundraising campaign that could become a significant force in commissioning new works from Canadians working in music, theatre and dance. But the NAC stopped short of giving any details about how the $23-million already gathered by its Creation Campaign will be disbursed.

The fund was launched and shepherded by Jayne Watson, CEO of the NAC Foundation, and includes a $5-million lead donation from Winnipeg philanthropist and NAC Foundation chair Gail Asper. A statement from the NAC said that the creation fund, which the Ottawa performance centre hopes to increase to at least $25-million, is intended "to provide a source of venture capital [to] artists and arts organizations" across Canada.

How those artists and institutions would be chosen, and by whom, remains a mystery that will not be solved till November, according to an NAC spokesperson. NAC president Peter Herrndorf declined several requests for an interview.

Story continues below advertisement

The fund appears to be an engine for realizing a commitment made in the NAC's Strategic Plan, 2015-2020, which says: "We will invest in research and development, workshopping and residencies of significant new works in music, dance and theatre." The report also calls on the NAC to "invest in promising new productions from arts organizations throughout the country that need to go 'back into the lab' after their first runs," with the idea that the retooled works might tour nationally and internationally.

"We believe that the NAC will pave the way for a new model in creation in this country," the report concludes. What that new model will look like remains a secret.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Robert Everett-Green is a feature writer at The Globe and Mail. He was born in Edmonton and grew up there and on a farm in eastern Alberta. He was a professional musician for several years before leaving that task to better hands. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at