Indian Summer Arts Society announces ‘Culture Lab: Artist as Healer’ bursary for South Asian artists

A new multi-year initiative will see artists collaborate with the wellness community to develop healing methodologies through art

[Editor’s Note: In response to feedback from the community, Indian Summer Arts Society has extended the deadline for applications to 11:59 p.m. on December 17 to allow for more people to participate.]

THE Indian Summer Arts Society on Tuesday announced the launch of the ‘Culture Lab: Artist as Healer’ program and invited South Asian artists to apply for a $25,000 bursary by December 17 at 11:59 p.m.

The project resources South Asian artists who live and work in the Metro Vancouver region in any medium or discipline to work collaboratively with other artists, mentors, and medical and wellness communities to develop healing methodologies through art. The selected artist (or collective) will receive a $25,000 stipend for five months and additional funds of up to $20,000 to cover associated costs.

“South Asian healing practices are many and varied, as is the art created in the community,” said Sirish Rao, Indian Summer Festival’s Artistic Director. “We explore what could be possible if we created a space and resources for artists to collaborate with the wellness community, and reclaim the position of the artist in society as a healer. There’s no denying over the past two years, the arts have gotten us through these tough times.”

Based on research, mentorship and learnings, the artist will produce a work –- an event or workshop or interactive project —  that engages the community and inspires other artists and healthcare professionals to bridge the gap between art and healing. This incubation lab will run annually with separate artists/collectives from 2022-2024, with learnings documented, evaluated, and shared along the way.

Dr. Arun Garg, who set up the South Asian Health Institute at Fraser Health Authority and is the former President of the BCMA, is a mentor and partner in the project. He said: “It is rare for an arts organization to reach across disciplines in the way that ISAS has consistently done. Healing is a complex art and elements of sight, smell, hearing are as critical as any other elements. This project will give us the the tools for integrative thinking and a holistic approach to healing.”

The Vancouver Foundation is the major supporter of this project. Community Partners also include the Canada India Network Society (CINS).

For more information on ‘Culture Lab: Artist as Healer’ proposals and criteria, visit