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Aboriginal Arts

The Ontario Arts Council recognizes the diversity and distinct histories of Aboriginal peoples in Ontario. We have programs designed to support a wide range of Aboriginal artists and art forms in this province. Aboriginal artists working in all disciplines are encouraged to apply to OAC programs. Programs in the Aboriginal Arts office are assessed by Aboriginal artists.

All OAC programs are open to Aboriginal artists and arts organizations. The term “Aboriginal” includes Status, Non-Status, Métis and Inuit people.

In fulfilling its mandate, the OAC serves one of the most diverse cultural, racial, linguistic and Aboriginal populations in Canada. Through its programs and services, the OAC supports artists, organizations and communities across Ontario, and welcomes all forms of artistic expression and practices.

Indigenous Arts Protocols

Shapeshifters Video Series

  • Aboriginal Artists in Communities (formerly Aboriginal Arts Education Projects) support projects that bring together professional Aboriginal artist(s) to work with individuals or groups of people from a community, to create, experience or present artistic work.
  • Aboriginal Arts Projects support professional Aboriginal artists, collectives, centres, councils and other organizations who want to develop and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal communities.
  • Aboriginal Presenters in the North – Music Events is a three-year pilot initiative to support Aboriginal presenters to produce music events in Northern Ontario.
  • Aboriginal Artists in Schools supports Aboriginal artists, including elders and traditional artists, who want to provide hands-on arts projects for students.
  • Aboriginal Artists Materials and Supplies Assistance provides grants of $500 Aboriginal artists working in the visual arts, crafts or traditional Aboriginal art forms for the cost of buying materials and supplies to make their work.
  • Aboriginal Curatorial Projects support independent Aboriginal curators, public art galleries, artist-run centres and other presenting organizations who work with Aboriginal curators to undertake a visual, media arts or craft exhibition project that presents and documents the work of professional artists.

For more information

  • Darlene Naponse, Acting Indigenous Arts Officer, 705-222-0263, toll free 1-800-387-0058 extension 0263,  
  • Kateri Gauthier, Program Administrator, 416-969-7424, toll free 1-800-387-0058 extension 7424,  

You are not limited to the programs listed above.

Other programs available to you

  • Community and Multidisciplinary Arts programs support artists, groups and arts organizations working collaboratively in schools and community settings.
  • The Northern Arts program is designed for artists, groups and arts organizations in Northern Ontario. See PDF FileOAC’s maps of geographic regions.
  • Organizational Development helps organizations build capacity through programs such as Compass.
  • There are programs that help individuals undertake residencies in Canada, and around the world.
  • Skills and Careers includes programs that support artists and arts professionals who want training or professional and career development.
  • Touring programs help artists, groups, arts organizations and performers interested in touring throughout Ontario, in Canada and around the world.