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Indigenous Arts Support: Grants for Collectives and Organizations

This was a one-time program. There will be no further deadlines. For information on other activities supported by OAC, see our complete list of grant programs.

If you received a grant in this program, you must submit a final report upon completion of the project. A final report form, including information on what you are required to provide, is available in Nova

For a reminder of what activities and expenses were supported by this program, read the archived information below.


Quick Facts: 

What does this program support?  

  • A wide range of administrative and artistic activities and expenses that help Indigenous arts organizations and artist collectives build organizational and creative capacity. 

How much can you receive?  

  • Indigenous artist collectives: $25,000 maximum 

  • Indigenous arts organizations: $60,000 maximum  

  • Established Indigenous arts organizations: $225,000 maximum 


Who can apply?  

  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis arts organizations  

  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis artist collectives  


When are applications due?  

  • Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until January 18, 2022, at 1 p.m. ET. 

  • The application form is available in Nova.  

  • You will find out whether you got a grant in March 2022.  

Click here for a preview of the application questions.


When can your activity take place? 

The activity for which you are requesting funding: 

  • cannot start before December 16, 2021

  • must be completed and reported on by March 15, 2025 

Before applying, read the Complete Program Information below.


Complete Program Information 


The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) respects Indigenous creative expression and worldviews and recognizes the diversity, vitality and importance of Indigenous cultural and artistic practices in our province. This one-time program aims to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis arts organizations and eligible artist collectives to build organizational and creative capacity. It funds a wide range of administrative and artistic activities and expenses. 


The program welcomes arts organizations and artists collectives working in customary, traditional and contemporary arts practices. It will be administered by Indigenous staff members, and applications will be assessed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.


You do not need to have developed a specific project in order to apply. The application form requires only basic information on how you would spend the grant. It then asks about who you are and what you do; the impact you have on artists, audiences and the communities you engage with; and examples of past projects. Much of what you need to provide is information you already know or content that you can reuse from past grant applications, your website or elsewhere.


This program is very flexible: one grant application can include several different activities, and grant recipients can make changes to their project plans, in consultation with the program officer, as long as new activities are eligible. Grant recipients will have three years to spend and report on their grant.

The program has three categories:  

  • Indigenous artist collectives: $25,000 maximum 

  • Indigenous arts organizations: $60,000 maximum  

  • Established Indigenous arts organizations: $225,000 maximum 




The program’s priorities are to support:  
  • projects that reflect the range of artistic practices supported by OAC  
  • organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to long-term impact for Indigenous artists and communities 
  • collectives and organizations located in regions across Ontario, including northern, rural and remote communities 
  • collectives and organizations that, in addition to producing and/or presenting artistic work, also offer activities that engage the public in other ways (for example, workshops) 

Who can apply? 

Eligible applicants 
This program accepts applications from: 
  • Ontario-based Indigenous artist collectives (with some exceptions – see “Ineligible applicants” section below) 
  • Ontario-based Indigenous arts organizations  
  • Established Ontario-based Indigenous arts organizations 

Here are the definitions and eligibility requirements for each type of applicant: 

Indigenous artist collective: A group of individuals who have a history of working together on artistic projects. The group must: 
  • have one of the following as its primary purpose:  
    • presenting (shows, exhibitions, festivals, series)  
    • publishing literary and artistic material (books, magazines) 
    • providing services to artists and arts organizations (for example, industry showcases or skills training for professional artists)  
    • offering activities in schools and communities (for example, workshops or opportunities for community members to create a work of art together) 
  • have a history of hiring artists from outside the collective and/or providing services to artists on a regular basis 
  • have completed at least two projects (or one full year of activities, for collectives with continuous rather than project-based activity) 
  • have at least two members who: 
    • are professional artists or arts professionals who meet OAC’s eligibility criteria for individuals (see the Guide to OAC Project Programs)  
    • will be responsible for the administration of the grant on behalf of the collective  
  • have at least 50 per cent of its members be Ontario residents 
  • have at least 50 per cent of its members meet OAC’s definition of Indigenous 
  • have an artistic/programming lead (such as an artistic director) who meets OAC’s definition of Indigenous and who is listed as one of the key contacts on the collective’s profile in Nova 
  • be able to deposit a grant cheque in the name of the collective 
  • not be a corporation 

Examples of artist collectives that might meet the above definition include: 
  • storytelling series 
  • collectives that present dance or opera productions 
  • unincorporated theatre companies 
  • local music associations that organize professional development opportunities for members 
  • collectives of craft artists that offer arts activities in schools and communities  

Indigenous arts organization: An incorporated not-for-profit organization, or a for-profit book or magazine publisher, with a focused mandate to create, present, program, publish or provide services for Indigenous professional artists. (See the Guide to OAC Project Programs for eligibility requirements of incorporated organizations.) The organization must have an artistic/programming lead (such as an artistic director) who meets OAC’s definition of Indigenous. This person must be listed as “Head of Artistic / Programming” in the key contacts on the organization’s profile in Nova

Established Indigenous arts organization: An Indigenous arts organization that receives a grant from one of OAC’s operating programs, or that meets the eligibility requirements to apply to any OAC operating program. (See the Guide to OAC Operating Programs and the web page of your artistic discipline’s operating program.)  

Note: New operating applicants must have annual revenues of at least $75,000. 

See definitions of “Indigenous,” “Indigenous Culture Carrier” and “professional artist or arts professional” below.  

  • All applicants must be working in an artistic discipline funded by OAC: 
  • The disciplines listed above include customary, traditional and contemporary arts practices, including, for example, powwow dance, drumming, storytelling, basketry, beading, quillwork, regalia design, throat singing, spoken word poetry, literary translation (into Indigenous languages, English or French), new media, video and electronic games, virtual reality, etc. If you’re not sure if your practice is supported by OAC, we encourage you to contact program staff. 

Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs for more information on general eligibility requirements and restrictions. 

Ineligible applicants 

This program does not accept applications from: 
  • ad hoc groups (groups that are formed for a one-time project) 
  • collectives or organizations that only undertake creation projects 
  • music bands and ensembles 

Note: Members of the above groups are encouraged to explore and may be eligible to apply to Indigenous Arts Support: Grants for Individuals


What does this program fund? 

Eligible activities and expenses 

Your project must include at least one of the following organizational or creative capacity-building activities:  
  • developing or implementing financial or fundraising plans  
  • providing training or development to staff or board members 
  • engaging in organizational planning or development (for example, strategic planning, staff succession planning, developing a fundraising, audience development, outreach or marketing plan; this does not include artistic planning) 
  • incorporating as a not-for-profit organization 
  • hiring administrative or artistic programming/curation staff (including interns and increasing the hours of existing part-time staff) 
  • participating in arts events or training opportunities, or using tools and services offered by arts or Indigenous organizations 
In addition to the above, this program also funds the following activities to help you strengthen your collective or organization: 
  • researching, creating and/or developing artistic work   
  • purchasing or gathering art materials and supplies 
  • renting office, rehearsal, presentation or exhibition space, a studio or other workspace  
  • purchasing or upgrading technology, small equipment or tools (maximum 50% of the grant)  
  • planning artistic activities and initiatives 
  • presenting artistic work to the public or in schools, such as concerts and exhibitions 
  • publishing books, ebooks, zines, catalogues and other works (in Indigenous languages, English or French) 
  • offering arts activities in schools or communities (for example, giving workshops or helping community members create a work of art together) 
  • marketing artistic work to presenters or audiences 
  • developing your website  

You can use this grant to pay for: 
  • artist fees, including fees to collective or staff members for the time spent on the project 
  • administrative fees and expenses, including time collective or staff members spend on the administration of the project  
  • art materials and supplies 
  • purchase or upgrade of technology, small equipment and tools (maximum 50% of the grant)  
  • rental of office, rehearsal, presentation or exhibition space, a studio or other workspace (that is not already covered by other government funding) 
  • rental of equipment  
  • fees to a mentor, consultant, specialists, coaches or instructor, including gifts to Indigenous Culture Carriers  
  • training courses, continuing education courses, workshops, and webinar registration fees 
  • exhibition and production costs, including paying application and exhibition fees, framing and installing works, hiring technical staff, buying, renting or creating sets, props or costumes, renting a venue, catering, and documenting events 
  • translation of artistic and marketing materials to and from Indigenous languages 
  • marketing costs, including hiring a publicist, creating and buying ads, professional headshots for promotional purposes, creating press releases, one sheets, posters, and other publicity materials 
  • website costs, including web hosting fees, web development and design, and website maintenance
  • membership fees paid to arts organizations or co-ops 
  • shipping artwork and equipment for program-eligible activities  
  • travel for program-eligible activities, including travel outside of Ontario or Canada 
  • childcare and other dependant care fees enabling individuals to take part in the project (this does not include regular, ongoing expenses) 
  • expenses related to making the project accessible to audiences and project participants (other than the applicant) who are Deaf or have a disability 
    • Note:  If you identify as Deaf or as having a disability, you may apply for supplementary funds for your own accessibility expenses through Accessibility Fund: Project Support
Note: Although you don’t need to include a budget with your application, be sure to track your expenses as you work on the project, as you will need to list them in your final report if you receive a grant.  

Ineligible activities and expenses 

This program does not fund: 
  • fundraising activities for charities or organizations that are not the applicant 
  • student projects for a collective or staff member’s degree, course work or studies 
  • faculty or research projects 
You cannot use this grant to pay for: 
  • creation, production and presentation activities supported by another OAC project grant that you have received or applied for 
  • accredited undergraduate or graduate college or university programs 
  • home-based overhead such as rent and living expenses 
  • personal expenses 
  • architectural or engineering feasibility studies  
  • major capital expenditure, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment 

Deadline date(s) 

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until January 18, 2022, at 1 p.m. ET.  
  • The application form is available in Nova
  • You will find out whether you got a grant in March 2022. 

When can your activity take place? 

The activity for which you are requesting funding: 
  • cannot start before December 16, 2021 
  • must be completed and reported on by March 15, 2025 

How much can you receive? 

  • Indigenous artist collectives: $25,000 maximum
  • Indigenous arts organizations: $60,000 maximum
  • Established Indigenous arts organizations: $225,000 maximum
  • To decide grant amounts, OAC will consider the budget size and capacity of organizations, and the available program budget. Few grants will be awarded at the higher end of the grant maximums, particularly for the Established Indigenous arts organizations category. 
  • A grant awarded by this program does not count toward the recipient’s maximum of three grants per year. (In other words, after receiving a grant from this program, an organization or collective can still apply for and receive three more OAC grants in the same year: three project grants, or two project grants and an operating grant.) 
  • Applicants with grant request amounts above $30,000 will be required to submit a financial statement with their application as follows: 
    • Requests over $30,000: review engagement (or, if available, audited financial statement) 
    • Requests over $50,000: audited financial statement required 

How to apply 

Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. 

Indigenous staff are happy to answer questions about the program and application. They can also help individuals with no internet access, limited bandwidth or who are not comfortable with technology. See the Contact section on this web page for their phone numbers and email addresses. 

Before applying, you must:  Your application will include: 
  • your answers to application questions
  • artistic examples: It is mandatory to include 1 to 2 examples of artistic support material. Each of the following file types is considered one example: 
    • video (up to 3 minutes) 
    • audio (up to 3 minutes) 
    • images (up to 3 images) 
    • written (up to 5 pages) 
  • support documents: 
    • financial statement (for applicants requesting $30,000 or more) 
Detailed instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova

For help creating a profile or submitting an application in Nova, see the Nova User Guide

How applications are assessed 

This program uses a peer assessment model to review applications. Assessors are Indigenous professional artists, other Indigenous arts professionals and Indigenous Culture Carriers in the disciplines represented in the program who will independently review all grant applications.  

Applications to this program are assessed on three criteria: artistic merit, impact and viability. Assessments are based on answers to the questions in the application and artistic examples. 
Assessors will use the Indigenous Arts Support: Grants for Organizations evaluation rubric to guide them in rating applications. Artistic merit, impact and viability will be rated on a three-point scale: 
  • 3 = excellent 
  • 2 = good 
  • 1 = poor 

Applications must be evaluated at a rating of “good” or higher in all assessment criteria to be considered for a grant. 

This program uses an advisory panel model to provide advice and help to set priorities for funding – advisors do not make final decisions on grant amounts. The program officer makes final grant recommendations to the CEO (for grants of $30,000 and under) and to the OAC board of directors (for grants over $30,000). Recommendations are based on advisors’ assessment, OAC’s strategic plan and policies, the program’s budget and priorities and the number of applications to the program.  

For more about the OAC assessment process, see the Guide to OAC Assessment and the Indigenous Arts Support: Grants for Collectives and Organizations evaluation rubric. 


What do you have to do if you receive a grant? 

If you receive a grant, you will have to complete the project and submit an interim and final report in Nova. See Terms and Conditions — receipt of OAC project grant funds for more information on reporting obligations. 

Your interim report will need to include: 
  • a description of the parts of the project you have started or completed 
  • a timeline and plans for how and when the remaining grant amount will be spent 
Your final report will need to include: 
  • a description of the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any changes to what had been outlined in the application 
  • a list of final project costs 
  • a sample of work created or presented with help from the grant, if applicable (for example, a few photos of a visual arts exhibition or a video clip of a performance)
  • documentation and/or an explanation of how you acknowledged or will acknowledge OAC support for your project. 
    • This should include samples of OAC logo recognition on any promotional or other materials produced in conjunction with the project, such as publications, brochures, posters, invitations, websites, videos and films.  
    • This could also include a description of verbal acknowledgement at public events or the intention to include OAC acknowledgement in associated future activities or materials. 

Program-specific definitions 

Indigenous: The OAC recognizes that there are different ways of understanding Indigenous identity, such as family relationships, nationhood, community and cultural knowledge, accountability and belonging. For the purposes of this program, the term Indigenous includes status and non-status First Nations, Inuit and Métis.  

Individuals who identify as First Nations, Inuit and Métis should be able to describe their Indigenous identity in relation to community and culture. This includes those whose relation to community and culture has been affected by displacement. Artistic/programming leads of Indigenous arts organizations and artist collectives will be asked to declare their identity and demonstrate their relation to community and culture in the grant application. The application will also need to indicate whether other collective, staff and/or board members are Indigenous.  

Indigenous Culture Carrier: Someone whose role within First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities is to preserve, maintain and transfer the knowledge of specific Indigenous worldviews, cultural practices and traditions through art and creative practice. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable. Indigenous Culture Carriers include Elders, knowledge keepers, traditional educators and language holders. They have developed skills through training or practice, are recognized by their community as a significant contributor to Indigenous cultural practice, have engaged in community-based cultural activity on a regular basis, and have received compensation and/or recognition for this in a way that reflects their practice, community or Indigenous protocols.  

Multi- and inter-arts: Practices, activities and events that have two or more artistic forms present in equal balance in the creation, production and presentation of work.  

Professional artist or arts professional: 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 their work and actively practices their art. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable. Professional artists may work in customary, traditional or contemporary arts practices, or in a combination of these. 

  • In this program, the term “professional artists” includes Indigenous Culture Carriers with an artistic practice in any artistic discipline funded by OAC.  
  • The term “arts professionals” includes programmers, curators and arts administrators. It does not include managers or agents.