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Aboriginal Arts Projects

Grants to Ontario Aboriginal Artists and Nonprofits
for Creation, Research and Exhibition of Original Art

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Ontario Arts Council

Deadline Date:

02/17/16 5:00 PM Delivery or postmarked by date.


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Grants of up to $30,000 to Ontario artists and nonprofits to support the creation, promotion, presentation, distribution and programming of Aboriginal artistic work. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff to determine eligibility in advance of the deadline.

Funds may be requested in the following grant categories:

1) Research and Development for New Work - This category funds research and development, that will lead to the creation of new work by individual artists, arts organizations, collectives and ad hoc groups. Artistic research, exploration and experimentation including workshops/residencies are also eligible. All emerging, mid-career and established artists (including curators) working with all art forms are welcome to apply.

2) Creation of New Work - This category funds the creation and production of new work by individual artists, arts organizations, collectives and ad hoc groups. This new work can be in new media, film/video, painting, sculpture, craft, quillwork, beading, pottery, dance, theatre, music, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, spoken word, and storytelling etc. All emerging, mid-career and established artists working in all art forms are welcome to apply.

3) Presentations, Exhibitions, Publications and Festivals - This category funds arts organizations, artist collectives and ad hoc groups undertaking projects in which the primary purpose is the presentation, promotion and distribution of Aboriginal arts by Aboriginal artists. This category funds exhibitions, individual and series presentations, publications (anthologies, art catalogues, online publications etc), festivals and innovative audience development projects.

4) Connections and Partnerships - This category funds arts organizations, artist collectives and ad hoc groups undertaking projects that will bring artists together through conferences, workshops, gatherings; or other activities that will benefit the artists’ career development and/or foster artistic relationships and networks.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 153420

Estimated Size of Grant:

Individuals: Up to $15,000.
Organizations: Up to $30,000.

Term of Contract:

The project cannot be completed before June 15, 2016 and must be completed by June 15, 2018.

The final report is due 3 months after completion of the project.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility: This program is open to professional, Ontario-based Aboriginal artists, including artists’ collectives and not-for-profit Aboriginal organizations, centers and councils.

To be eligible for OAC project funding, an individual artist must:
-Be Aboriginal. The definition of Aboriginal includes Métis, Inuit, Status and NonStatus peoples.
-Be a resident of Ontario.
-Be a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada, or have an application pending for Permanent Resident status and, if requested, be able to provide documentation to verify this.
-Have been a resident in Ontario for at least one year before making this grant application.
-Be a professional artist. The OAC defines a professional artist as someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for her or his work, and actively practices his or her art. Short breaks in artistic work history are allowed.

Artists must continue to live in Ontario for at least eight months a year, with the following exceptions:
-Artists who live in Ontario may leave the province for up to one year and continue to be eligible for OAC support if the absences are temporary (e.g. for an educational or artistic opportunity) and they do not also apply for support from the jurisdiction of their temporary residence.
-Artists living permanently in Quebec municipalities in the National Capital region are eligible for OAC support if they, are applying to the OAC in English or French; have been recognized as Ontario artists; contribute actively to the artistic life of Ontario; have not sought assistance from the Quebec government for the same project.

To be eligible for OAC project funding, collectives, groups and organizations must be:
-Incorporated not-for-profit Aboriginal organizations, and book and magazine publishers, must be located in Ontario.
-Ad hoc groups, collectives or unincorporated organizations must operate on a not-for-profit basis. Most of the group members must be professional artists or arts professionals, with at least 50% of the members located in Ontario.
-Ad hoc groups and collectives with 50% Aboriginal membership. If your organization receives OAC operating funding, please check your operating guidelines to see if you qualify for project funding.

Not Funded:
-Colleges, universities and municipalities
-Events or activities that take place before the application deadline
-Events or activities that are completed before the results of this competition are announced
-Events or activities that take place outside of Ontario
-Fundraising activities
-Capital expenses.

Pre-Application Information:

Note: You are strongly encouraged to call with questions about your application before the deadline. Because the Council receives so many telephone calls during the weeks before the deadline, please call with questions as far in advance as possible.

If you are a first time applicant to OAC or are unsure whether your project fits with this or other OAC programs, contact:
Janice Lambrakos, Information Services Coordinator
1-800-387-0058 ext. 7429 / 416-969-7429,

You may hand deliver your application to the Council office on the deadline day. Grant notification letters will be mailed out four months after the application deadline.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Kateri Gauthier, Interim Program Administrator
416-969-7424, toll free 1-800-387-0058 extension 7424

Ontario Arts Council
121 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto ON M4W 3M5

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario;

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