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Ontario Arts Council
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Zhe Gu

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

Yamari Martin

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

Public Art Galleries: Operating

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 ongoing operations of not-for-profit, professional public art galleries in Ontario.


The program’s priorities are to support diverse public art galleries that demonstrate a commitment to Ontario’s visual arts infrastructure, including exhibition/presentation, production, distribution, artist development, and opportunities created for the public to interact with contemporary visual art.

Deadline dates

June 2, 2021, 1 p.m. ET
  • For 2021, the OAC has put a pause on the multi-year cycles of all operating programs. All current operating grant recipients will need to submit a streamlined application that will be reviewed by a panel of peers.
  • The OAC will not be accepting new applicants to any operating programs in 2021. Once it is confirmed when this program is accepting new applicants, it will be noted here.
  • Applications are available in Nova approximately two months before the deadline.
  • Financial and statistical reports must be submitted through Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC) before the deadline.
  • Grant notification will be available approximately five months after the deadline.

Recent changes

  • Grant notification is now available approximately five months after the deadline.

Eligible applicants

  • Ontario-based, not-for-profit corporations, or national not-for-profit corporations with the head office in Ontario
  • Organizations must have:
    • at least $75,000 in total revenues for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenues for the current and requested years (for applicants not currently receiving funding from this program)
    • at least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming, as of the application date. If your organization does not meet this requirement, consider applying for project funding
    • a range of revenue sources
    • an active board of directors/governing body
  • Public art galleries must:
    • have a distinct and separate space solely for gallery purposes that is secure and dedicated to exhibitions and interpretation of contemporary visual art. The organization’s mandate may also include the collection of visual art
    • serve the public with visual arts programming for a minimum of 10 months of the year and for a minimum of 1,500 hours. The hours may include hours open to the public, hours reserved for public school tours, and events
    • employ professional staff, including a full-time director (minimum 35 hours per week). The director is responsible for the gallery’s operations, programs and services. This person may also serve as the gallery’s curator
    • meet the physical standards relating to security, environmental control, art storage and collection management set out in the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) publication Environmental Standards for Art Galleries
    • adhere to a code of professional standards, ethics and legal requirements set out by OAAG, Canadian Museums Association and the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization
    • pay exhibition, copyright and reproduction fees to professional artists


  • If your gallery is within a multi-purpose institution (i.e., library, university, museum, municipality), you must clearly demonstrate your independence by being able to fulfill all OAC eligibility requirements separately and distinctly from the multi-purpose institution.
  • This includes a fully segregated and itemized financial statement specifically for the revenues and expenses of the gallery.
  • Galleries within a multi-purpose institution must be governed by a board of directors or an advisory body solely responsible for the gallery.

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

Ineligible applicants

  • non-arts organizations
  • municipalities, colleges and/or universities

To apply

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

Before applying, you must:

Your application includes:

Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova.

For information on how assessors rate applications see the Evaluation Rubric - Operating Programs.

Program-specific definitions

Public art galleries: promote and encourage understanding of the visual arts. Their professional staff create the context in which artists’ works are seen in relationship with community and culture. Through exhibitions, publications, education and outreach initiatives, public art galleries present and interpret works of art, and hold art collections in trust for their communities.