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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Maggie Lucas

Program Administrator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058

Erika Iserhoff

Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058

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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.

Indigenous 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 Ontario Arts Council (OAC) supports Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) creativity and celebrates the vitality of diverse cultural and artistic expression.


Indigenous Artists in Communities and Schools Projects is a multidisciplinary program supporting projects that bring together Ontario-based, professional Indigenous artists and arts professionals in communities and schools to provide access to the arts and create meaningful art experiences that transmit Indigenous artistic skills and cultural knowledge to participants.


The program is open to emerging, mid-career, and established Indigenous artists and arts professionals.


It welcomes applicants working in both customary/traditional and contemporary Indigenous art expression.


Indigenous OAC staff members administer the program, and applications are assessed by juries comprised of Indigenous artists.


The program has four categories:

  • Indigenous Artists in Communities: provides funding for participatory activities which promote learning, collaboration, and engagement between practicing Indigenous artists and individuals (who aren’t professional artists) in communities throughout Ontario
  • Indigenous Artists in Schools: provides funding for artists to promote hands-on learning activities for children and youth in schools, with a focus on teaching creative artistic expression from an Indigenous perspective
  • Indigenous Languages Revitalization: provides funding for arts projects in which the primary purpose of the project is the creative use and transmission of Indigenous languages through the arts
  • Indigenous Artists in Northern Fly-in Communities: provides additional funding for Indigenous artists living and working in Northern fly-in communities, and funding for travel and accommodation expenses for artists to share and collaborate on art projects in Northern fly-in Indigenous communities (see definition below)

Important: All individuals working on an application for an organization (including ad hoc groups and collectives) must create a personal profile in Nova and link it to the organization’s profile. See the Nova User Guide for step-by-step video instructions on how to set up profiles, start applications, and more.


Note: Applicants may apply to only one category.


Disciplines funded by the OAC:

  • Dance
  • Literature
  • Media arts
  • Multi and inter-arts
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual arts and craft


  • projects that provide people of all ages with access to authentic Indigenous artistic and cultural expression and experiences
  • projects that involve, support and pay fees to Indigenous artists  
  • projects that take place in remote Northern fly-in Indigenous communities
  • projects that take place in Indigenous communities and schools
  • projects that use and revitalize Indigenous languages
  • projects that use and revitalize traditional Indigenous art practices and cultural knowledge
  • projects that apply an Indigenous approach to contemporary artistic expression

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.
  • OAC can arrange offline submissions for persons with limited internet access and oral applications for Indigenous persons. For additional information, read the Alternative Services and Application Processes page or call the program administrator.

Grant amount(s)

  • Indigenous Artists in Communities: maximum $15,000
  • Indigenous Artists in Schools: maximum $15,000
  • Indigenous Languages Revitalization: maximum $15,000
  • Indigenous Artists in Northern Fly-in Communities: maximum $17,000


  • This program is for Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) applicants only. In the application you will be required to state your Indigenous nation and community and clearly speak to your lived experience.
  • Vulnerable sector screenings are required for those working directly with vulnerable groups. For more information visit .
  • Consult the program officer if you wish to discuss your eligibility or other details about your project.
  • Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.
  • Individual applicants who receive a grant over $500 will be issued a T4A, including individuals who apply on behalf of a group.

Recent changes

Eligible applicants

  • Professional artists and arts professionals (emerging, mid-career, or established) who are First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, and are residents of Ontario
  • Ontario-based ad hoc groups and collectives comprised of a minimum of 50 per cent Indigenous members
    • Note: All members must be professional artists or arts professionals. At least 50 per cent of members must reside in Ontario (or both members in the case of two-person collectives).
  • Indigenous-led Ontario-based not-for-profit Indigenous arts organizations, non-arts organizations, centres and councils
  • Culture Carriers who are First Nations, Inuit, or Métis (see definition below)
  • Ontario schools run by First Nations or Indigenous Education Authorities, applying to bring in Indigenous artists

Note: Co-applicants are eligible. Both co-applicants must be Indigenous. In such situations, grant amounts awarded will be split equally between the co-applicants.


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

Ineligible applicants

  • non-Indigenous applicants
  • non-Indigenous schools and school boards
  • teachers and artists who are employed full- or part-time by a school that is involved during the project
  • colleges, universities, and municipalities
  • for-profit organizations (except publishers)
  • hobbyists
  • artists, ad hoc groups, collectives, and organizations that are not based in Ontario

What this program funds

  • co-creation, production, exhibition and presentation activities in all arts disciplines communities and schools, where community or school members are the audience or participants
  • workshop series, art camps, summer programs, experiential arts learning activities, after-school art programs, community pow wows
  • arts activities held in schools, community centres, health centres and galleries as well as site specific and land-based projects
  • fees and expenses for Indigenous Culture Carriers; this term includes Elders, knowledge keepers, traditional educators and language holders (see definition)
  • fees and expenses to support plans for community care and cultural safety (for example, Aunties, Elders, or social workers)
  • preparation time, insurance for the project's duration, vulnerable sector checks, and administrative activities
  • transportation, accommodations and meals, materials and supplies, and equipment rental (if applicable)
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project

This program also supports:

  • childcare and other dependent 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 communities and schools
  • projects that don’t include community or school members as participants or audiences for the project
  • projects that do not have a confirmed participating community or school
  • projects that do not include fees for professional artists and arts professionals
  • projects that include faculty or student formal academic course work and research  
  • fundraising activities, competitions, contests, and talent shows
  • major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings, and purchase of major equipment, such as a table saw, computer, large format printer, studio set-up or renovations
  • school board costs beyond artists fees and travel expenses
  • administrative or operating expenses for communities or school staff
  • for profit business enterprises

Activity timing

The activities 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.

      Note: Project completion schedule should consider the time required to fulfill OAC acknowledgement obligations (see Final report requirements section below).

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.
  • 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:

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 – Activity Projects.

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

Program-specific definitions

Access to the arts: Opportunities for people to experience the arts and participate in cultural life, regardless of geographic, racial, social, economic or physical realities.


Arts professional: An artist, arts administrator, community animator, curator, programmer, technician or arts educator who is engaged in creating, producing, promoting, performing, presenting, distributing and/or programming artistic work.


Community: Either a specific locality (city, town, First Nation) or a group of people who have a common interest, bond or experience.


Indigenous: This term refers to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.


Indigenous ad hoc group or collective: An ad hoc group or collective that meets the basic eligibility requirements for an ad hoc group or collective, as defined in the Guide to OAC Project Programs, and at least 50 per cent of whose members meet OAC’s definition of Indigenous. Both individuals listed as the group’s key contacts in Nova must meet this program’s eligibility requirements for individual applicants.

Note: Ad hoc groups are formed for a one-time project, while collectives have ongoing activity.


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 is Indigenous. This person must be listed as “Head of Artistic / Programming” in the key contacts on the organization’s profile in Nova.


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. Indigenous Culture Carriers include Elders, knowledge keepers, traditional educators and language holders. They have developed skills through training or practice, are recognized by their communities as significant contributors to Indigenous cultural practice, and have engaged in community-based cultural activity on a regular basis.


Northern fly-in community: A community in northern Ontario where access is only by air or by a seasonal winter road, and for which there is no year-round road access.


Professional artist: 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.