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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Madeline Legg

Program Administrator

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Finding local artists and arts organizations

If you are interested in inviting an artist or arts organization to work with your community or in your school you can refer to these resources. If you are an artist or arts organization, you are encouraged to complete a profile on these sites as applicable. If you are aware of other resources, please email the Program Administrator.

For an introduction to the field of community-engaged art, have a look at Resources for community-engaged arts.

Artists in Communities and Schools Projects

Until this program opens in Nova, the Ontario Arts Council’s online granting system, program information may change. This includes deadline dates and specific information on eligibility. Be sure to visit this page after the program opens in Nova, but before starting your application.


The program supports the research, development and realization of community-engaged arts projects in Ontario. Activities involve professional Ontario artists and community members working together to design, develop and realize collective creative experiences.


Community-engaged art practices are forms of collective artistic expression. In this field, individuals who aren’t professional artists actively participate in the artistic process, and the artistic process is considered as important as the final artistic product. Both the social and artistic outcomes of community-engaged art have value.


Excerpted from Framing Community: A Community-Engaged Workbook


The program has three categories:

  • Planning: to help cover the costs of co-planning and co-designing community-engaged arts projects.
  • Project: to help cover the costs of realizing community-engaged arts projects.
  • Two-year project: This category is available to community-engaged arts collectives and organizations that have received two or more OAC project grants through community-engaged arts or arts education grant programs within the last five years. Activities must take place over the period of two years.

Mentorship: up to $3,000 in additional funds are available in any category to cover the costs involved in mentoring professional artists from OAC priority groups, to build their skills and experience in project planning and/or facilitating community-engaged arts projects.

  • Applicants may be either mentors or mentees.
  • Mentees must be professional artists and members of at least one OAC priority group.
  • The names of mentors and mentees must be included in the application along with artistic examples of their work and their CVs.


The program’s priorities are to support projects that:

  • work with sectors beyond the arts, such as health, education, justice and the environment
  • provide a sense of community, social connection, civic engagement and contribute to building a more just society
  • reduce barriers to arts participation
  • increase access to the arts for underserved or marginalized communities
  • employ Ontario artists in Ontario communities

Deadline date(s)

April 24 and October 16, 2024, 1 p.m. ET
  • The application form will be available in Nova about two months before the deadline.
  • You will find out whether you got a grant about four and a half months after each deadline.

Grant amount(s)

  • Planning: maximum $7,500
  • Project: maximum $12,500
  • Two-year project: maximum $20,000
Up to $3,000 in additional funds are available in any category for mentorship costs of both mentees and mentors.

Recent changes

  • The application questions and evaluation rubric have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.

Eligible applicants

  • professional artists, including co-applicants, who are Ontario residents
  • ad hoc groups and collectives that have 50 per cent of its members residing in Ontario
  • Ontario-based not-for-profit arts organizations and non-arts organizations
  • school boards not partnered in OAC’s Artists in Residence (Education) program (for artist fees and travel expenses only)
  • schools run by First Nations or Indigenous education authorities

Important: Non-arts organizations, schools run by First Nations or Indigenous education authorities, and school boards must have an arts partner. Arts partners can be professional artists, arts collectives, ad hoc arts groups, or arts organizations.

Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs for more eligibility information.

Ineligible applicants

  • municipalities, colleges and universities
  • amateur arts organizations such as, community theatre companies
  • artists who are employed by a school involved on a full- or part-time basis during the course of the project
  • school boards who are partnered with the Ontario Arts Council in the Artists in Residence (education) program
  • current recipients of an operating grant in the Arts Organizations in Communities and Schools – Operating program
  • organizations that receive an operating grant in other OAC programs, with the exception of organizations mandated to serve one or more of a OAC’s priority groups

Important: Organizations applying as new applicants in the Arts Organizations in Communities and Schools: Operating program may apply only for projects taking place in their current fiscal year


The following are not eligible to apply to the Two-Year Project category:

  • organizations receiving OAC operating funding
  • seasonal camps, festivals or events

Note: If granted a two-year project, organizations cannot re-apply to this program until the final report is approved.

What this program funds

  • projects that actively include community participants in the creation and production of artistic works
  • artists’ fees
  • support specialist fees (including translators, Elders, therapists, etc.)
  • honoraria for project participants
  • snack and beverage expenses for participants
  • travel expenses
  • venue or studio rental
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project
  • materials costs
  • administrative costs associated with the artists or arts ad hoc group, collective or organization only
  • marketing, outreach and promotion expenses
  • 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 audience members and project participants (other than the applicant) who are Deaf or have a disability
    • Note: Applicants to this program who identify as Deaf or as having a disability may apply for supplementary funds for their own accessibility expenses through Accessibility Fund: Project Support.

What this program does not fund

  • events or activities that take place outside of Ontario
  • tours (see Touring and Circulation Projects)
  • professional productions for young audiences (see discipline-specific project programs)
  • major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment
  • fundraising activities
  • projects that don’t include a confirmed non-arts community partner
  • projects that don’t pay professional artists
  • activities that have exhibitions, performances or presentations by amateur or professional artists as the primary goal or outcome
  • career training for professional artists including emerging professional artists
  • activities that have art therapy as the primary goal or outcome
  • faculty or student projects associated with their research, course work or studies
  • non-arts partner administrative activities
  • school board costs beyond artists’ fees and travel

Activity timing

The activity for which you are requesting funding:

  • cannot start before the deadline
  • cannot finish before you receive your grant results
  • must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant results
Important: If your project has a public launch, it must not be scheduled to open to the public before you receive your grant results.

Final report requirements

If you receive a grant, you must complete the project and submit a final report in Nova. See Terms and Conditions – receipt of OAC project grant funds for more information on reporting obligations.

In your final report you will need to provide:

  • a description of the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any approved or minor changes to what had been outlined in the application
  • a final budget
    • If the budget you submit shows a surplus of more than $250 (revenues as compared to expenses), you may be required to repay the surplus amount to OAC.
  • photos, videos, audio tracks, participant feedback forms, websites and/or other documentation of the completed project
  • documentation and/or an explanation of how you followed or will follow OAC’s Recognition Requirements for Project Grant Recipients
    • This should include samples of any promotional or other materials produced for the project that show the OAC and Government of Ontario logos. Read logo guidelines
    • This could also include social media screenshots or a description of how you recognized OAC or plan to do so in future activities or materials tied to the project.

To apply

Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. You will be able to do this approximately two months before the deadline.

Before applying, be sure to:

Your application will include:

  • basic information about the project
  • your answers to application questions
  • a project budget
  • artistic examples: documentation of your artistic and community work. If you do not have documentation of your community work, provide two letters of reference
  • support documents: résumés or bios for artists including mentees and other support specialists, letter(s) of confirmation from partners outlining their commitment and contributions to the project, or, for applications to the Planning category in early stages, letter(s) of intent from potential partner(s)

Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova.

For information on how assessors rate applications see the Guide to OAC Assessment and the Evaluation Rubric – Community-Engaged Projects.

For details on creating a profile or submitting an application in Nova, see the Nova User Guide.

Program-specific definitions

Access: People, regardless of geographic, racial, social, economic or physical realities have equal opportunity to experience the arts and participate in cultural life.

Co-creation: A process to create a final product where non-artists and professional artist(s) work side-by-side and have equal input and impact on the outcome.

Letters of confirmation or intent: Letters confirming participation in the current project must be written by either the arts or non-arts partner(s) on the project who is/are not the applicant are a mandatory item(s). Non-arts community applicants must include letters from their arts partners or artists. Arts applicants must include letters from their non-arts community partner(s) or groups.

Letters must confirm participation in the current project with relevant time period. Letters may additionally speak to community relationship, contribution to the project, expected impacts and value of the project, etc. All letters must be signed, and ideally be written on letterhead. Do not include reference letters. If you cannot get a partner letter, it is recommended that you wait to apply to the next deadline.

(Exception: Applicants to the Planning category who are in the early stages of the project may submit a letter(s) of intent from potential partner(s) instead of a letter(s) of confirmation.)