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OAC creates dedicated Media Arts Office

The Ontario Arts Council is pleased to announce the creation of a dedicated Media Arts Office under the leadership of Mark Haslam, Media Arts Officer. Ontario’s independent media arts community has grown significantly over the past decade, and has seen the emergence of a provincial arts service organization for the sector. OAC’s new office will align programs for media arts organizations with recent program changes in the Media Arts section at the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Visual Arts Office is still led by Carolyn Vesely, Visual Arts Officer, and Lisa Wöhrle, Associate Visual Arts and Crafts Officer. The new Media Arts Office will collaborate closely with the Visual Arts Office, reflecting the complementary practices within the two communities. Some programs will be renamed and refocused. Details will be available in the early months of 2011.


English-speaking artists from National Capital Region now eligible for OAC grants

OAC has changed its application policy to include English-speaking applicants living in Quebec’s National Capital Region. Until recently, only French-speaking National Capital Region applicants could apply for OAC support. To be eligible, applicants must be recognized as Ontario artists and contribute actively to the artistic life of Ontario. Artists who seek assistance from the Quebec government for the same projects are not elegible. The National Capital Region in Quebec includes all the municipalities of Cantley, Chelsea and Pontiac and a portion of the municipalities of l'Ange Gardien, La Pêche, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Val-des-Monts and the City of Gatineau.

For details about the geographic area included in the National Capital Region, please refer to our PDF Fileboundaries map.


Most Ontarians believe arts are important to quality of life

The Ontario Arts Council released the findings of PDF FileThe Arts And The Quality Of Life: The Attitudes Of Ontarians, a commissioned survey conducted by Environics Research Group.

The findings show that a large majority of Ontarians believe the arts are important to the quality of life in their community and in their personal lives. The research also indicates ow strongly these positive attitudes are.

The OAC commissioned a similar survey in 1994. The new survey shows that the proportion of Ontarians with positive views on the arts and quality of life has generally increased since 1994.

Quick Facts

  • 95 percent of Ontarians say that the arts enrich the quality of their lives
  • 89 percent believe that if their community lost its arts activities, people living there would lose something of value
  • 81 percent of Ontarians think that the arts are important to their quality of life
  • 95 percent believe that the success of Canadian singers, writers, actors, painters and other artists gives people a sense of pride in Canadian achievement
  • 81 percent of Ontarians agree that the government should spend public dollars to support the arts

Read the press release


Arts organizations to comply with government’s Accessible Customer Service Standard by 2012

By January 1, 2012, all Ontario businesses and not-for-profit organizations with at least one employee must comply with Ontario’s Accessible Customer Service Standard. Organizations with more than 20 employees must report on their compliance with the new standard.

Requirements include:

  • developing customer-service policies and procedures for serving people with disabilities
  • training staff and volunteers to serve people with disabilities
  • allowing customers to bring service animals into a business
  • accepting feedback from customers with disabilities and responding or taking action on complaints
  • communicating with customers in a way that takes into account their disability

The government developed online tools to help organizations meet the new standard including webinars, FAQs and more. To learn about the Accessible Customer Service Standard, visit


$27 million Arts Investment Fund 

In late October, OAC mailed out copies of a Transfer Payment Agreement and program guidelines for the $27 million Arts Investment Fund to all eligible operating organizations. Payments will be disbursed after the agreements are signed and returned to OAC. The deadline to return the forms and the project plan is December 23, 2010.

About the Arts Investment Fund

  • The Ontario government recently launched a new three-year $27 million Arts Investment Fund  to strengthen not-for-profit arts organizations that receive operating grants from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).
  • OAC is complementing the government’s significant support with an additional $1.1 million over three years for English- and French-language book and magazine publishers in Ontario. Publishers includes for-profit entities that are not eligible for the Arts Investment Fund.
  • The $27-million fund will be paid out over three years, $11 million in 2010-11, $10 million in 2011-12 and $6 million in 2012-13.

Read the press release and the backgrounder for more information about the Arts Investment Fund.


Two new pilot programs for francophone visual arts in Ontario

As previously announced, OAC has launched two three-year pilot programs to address the needs of francophone visual artists, arts organizations and collectives in Ontario. The application deadline for the two programs this year is November 30, 2010. The program deadline may change in 2011.

About the new programs

  • Francophone Visual and Craft Artists (information in French only) will offer support toward the time and materials necessary to create new work, continue work in progress or to explore new techniques.
  • Francophone Visual, Media Arts and Craft Projects (information in French only) will provide support for exhibitions, film/video screenings, catalogues, publications, directories, lecture series, artists’ talks, artist residency programs offered by an organization and more.
Media Artists
Francophone media artists will continue to be served by OAC’s Avance médias program (information in French only).

Read the press release


Journeys to Health, One Video at a Time: OAC’s Artist in Residence (Health) pilot program

July 5, 2010: Women gather at the Four Villages Community Health Centre to watch stories unfold on the big screen. But these are no Hollywood films: the women are watching short videos they made themselves, videos about their journeys to health.

They never aspired to be videographers. These women came to Four Villages, in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, to access various programs and for community support. Four Villages provides primary health care services and programs, treatment, prevention of illness, health promotion and capacity building. The community health centre has two locations in west Toronto and serves a diverse population that includes isolated seniors, lower-income families and newcomers from Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe.

With help from artists in residence Emmy Pantin and Jennifer LaFontaine, from Toronto’s Centre for Digital Storytelling, the women use video editing software and voice-over narration, family photos, drawings and other materials to craft simple but moving videos. The videos are three to five minutes long and describe some of the challenges the women have faced in their lives. Read more