The program supports Ontario-based artists and artist collectives working in visual arts, craft and media art practices in the presentation of their artwork in a confirmed public exhibition.
This is a third-party recommender program. Using Nova, OAC’s online grant application system, artists apply to the galleries and organizations designated as recommenders for the program. These recommenders assess applications and submit grant recommendations to OAC. See About Recommender Grants below for more information on the grant application process.
Recommenders may identify priorities for funding in addition to OAC’s priority groups.
The 2020-2021 program is open from June 2, 2020 until January 15, 2021.
Each recommender either sets its own deadlines or assesses applications on an ongoing basis until their budget is spent. See the Exhibition Assistance – Recommenders web page for deadline information. Note that the list of participating recommenders is posted in June 2020 when the program opens, and is subject to updates and changes during the program year.
- Recommenders with set deadlines – You will be notified up to two months after the recommender’s deadline date.
- Recommenders that assess applications on an ongoing basis – You will be notified up to two months after the date you submit your application.
- It is possible that you will be notified after your exhibition has already started (or ended). In this case, if you are awarded a grant, it will be awarded retroactively.
- minimum $500, maximum $2,000
- You may apply for only one exhibition per application.
- You may receive up to $2,000 in Exhibition Assistance grants, for applications submitted during the program year. This amount can be from more than one recommender, and towards one or more exhibitions.
- Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.
- If you are awarded more than one grant in a single third-party recommender program within its 2020-21 year, these grants will count as one grant toward your three-grant limit for 2020. The recommender programs are: Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials, Exhibition Assistance, Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators and Recommender Grants for Writers.
- If your application includes ineligible expenses, OAC may reduce the recommended amount to cover only eligible expenses or withdraw the application.
- You may submit up to three Exhibition Assistance applications at a time.
- If you have submitted three Exhibition Assistance applications during the 2020-21 program year, you must wait to be notified of the results of one of them before you can submit another.
- If you have applied for the same expenses to more than one recommender, and are awarded a grant by one of them, you must contact the others to let them know. You cannot receive more than one Exhibition Assistance grant to cover the same expenses.
- Applicants no longer need to apply before their exhibition start date. When the 2020-21 program opens in June 2020, applicants may apply for exhibitions that start between January 15, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
- The application becomes available in Nova when the program opens in June 2020. Recommenders participating in the 2020-21 program are announced at that time.
- Ontario-based professional visual artists, craft artists, media artists and artist collectives who have a confirmed, upcoming public exhibition. Applicants must be Ontario residents with a permanent physical address in Ontario.
- For this program, eligible collectives are defined as unincorporated groups of two or more artists who create collaboratively and exhibit together.
- Collectives may apply in the name of the collective, or may choose an individual to represent it as the applicant.
- Only one individual can apply on behalf of the collective at any time. An amount awarded in the name of the individual counts towards their $2,000 limit for the program year.
- If the collective applies, OAC issues the grant cheque in the name of the collective. Grant cheques cannot be re-issued in the name of an individual.
- For a group exhibition, where artists present their own individual work, each artist must apply individually for their own expenses.
Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs for more eligibility information.
- undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full-time at an educational institution.
- incorporated not-for-profit or for-profit organizations
This program funds
Grants assist with the artists’ costs related to the presentation of artwork in a confirmed, public exhibition.
- presentation costs, including framing, display structures, mounting and installation hardware and supplies and construction of structural elements specific to an installation
- audio-visual presentation equipment
- technical/installation fees
- crating and transportation of works of art
- exhibition venue rent or booth fee
- exhibition promotional expenses
Only costs that are the artists’ responsibility, and are not covered by the gallery, are eligible. See further details in the expenses section of the application.
- exhibitions in Ontario, in other Canadian provinces and in international locations
- exhibitions in public art galleries, artist-run centres and commercial art galleries
- solo and group shows
- do-it-yourself (DIY) or self-presented public exhibitions
- exhibitions in alternative public locations such as community centres, restaurants or rented spaces
- art fairs, collective studio tours and exhibits at trade fairs
This program does not fund
- art materials and other costs related to the creation of artwork, such as photo printing and studio costs
- artist’s fees for exhibition and installation
- artist’s travel (travel costs are only eligible for performance art and site-specific installation)
- artist’s accommodation
- catalogues and documentation of artwork
- exhibitions in venues that are not open to the public
- theatrical-style screenings of film or video
- exhibitions presented for credit in a secondary or post-secondary program
The exhibition for which you are requesting funding:
- must be scheduled to open between January 15, 2020 and December 31, 2021
- must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant notification
Final report requirements
If you receive a grant you must submit a final report upon completion of the project. Do not submit your final report before receiving your grant cheque. See Terms and Conditions — receipt of OAC project grant funds for more information on reporting obligations. Complete and submit the report form in Nova.
Important: You must notify OAC to request approval if your exhibition venue or dates change. You must do this before any changes take place.
Final reports for this program require grant recipients to provide:
- a description of what was achieved with the support of this grant
- final expenses, if different from original application expenses
- an exhibition announcement or other document used to promote the exhibition to the public (1 to 3 images or a link)
- If the OAC logo/funding acknowledgement was not included in the exhibition announcement, also describe how you recognized OAC support during or after the exhibition, e.g. social media mention, verbal acknowledgement during an artist’s talk, etc.
Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. Before applying, you must create or update your profile in Nova.
Your application includes:
- basic information about the exhibition
- budget of eligible expenses
- your answers to application questions
- name of recommender you are applying to
- artistic examples – images or video documentation of your work:
- maximum of 8 images or 8 minutes of video
- support documents:
- letter/document confirming your exhibition (contract, letter of confirmation on letterhead, or email correspondence). This document must include:
- exhibition start and end dates
- name and contact information of exhibition organizer
- location and address of exhibition venue
Complete 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.
About recommender grants
Recommenders are organizations authorized by OAC to receive applications, review them and make grant recommendations. OAC allocates a budget to each of the participating recommenders.
Recommenders submit their grant recommendations to OAC, which are then reviewed by OAC for applicant and program eligibility. OAC then sends you an email letting you know that your notification letter is available online in Nova.
See the Guide to Project Programs for more information about grant decisions, grant payments and what you need to do if you get a grant.
Conflict of interest
Artists who have a conflict of interest with a particular recommender may not apply to that recommender. An artist is in a conflict of interest if they are:
- an employee or board member of the recommender organization
- a member of a committee or jury reviewing the Exhibition Assistance applications for the recommender
- immediate family members of those described above
Recommenders cannot approve grants that will be paid back to them in any way.
How recommenders assess applications
Recommenders establish their own processes for assessing Exhibition Assistance applications and making grant recommendations. A jury, committee, curator or other staff may take on this role for the recommender.
Recommenders base their funding recommendations on the quality of the artist’s work, OAC priority groups and other funding priorities they may establish.
Recommenders in zones 1 through 4 may recommend up to 40% of their Exhibition Assistance grant budget to artists exhibiting in their own program/gallery. Northern recommenders, in zones 5 and 6, may recommend up to 80%.
How to choose a recommender
For the Exhibition Assistance program, recommenders include public art galleries, artist-run centres and other community organizations throughout Ontario.
You must apply to a recommender located in the zone where you live. To find your zone, see:
Map of Exhibition Assistance Zones
You may also be eligible to apply to a specialized recommender. These recommenders can accept applications from artists in any zone.
The link below will direct you to a searchable database of the recommenders for this program:
Exhibition Assistance – Recommenders