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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Visual Arts 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 not-for-profit arts organizations, ad hoc groups, collectives, and independent curators to research, present or document the work of professional Ontario visual artists and connect them with Ontario audiences, or to undertake other initiatives that benefit the visual arts community. Projects may include exhibitions, festivals, catalogues/publications, curatorial research, residency programs (see full list in What this program funds below).


The program has four categories:

  • Galleries, artist-run centres and other not-for-profit arts organizations
  • Ad hoc groups and collectives
  • Independent curators – presentation projects
  • Independent curators – research projects


  • Individual artists are not eligible to apply for creation or presentation projects.
  • Projects must include the payment of professional artist fees.
  • Projects and programming activities that take place in galleries or artist-run centres that receive operating grants through OAC’s visual arts section are not eligible.


The following are priorities in this program:

  • to support significant opportunities for Ontario artists to exhibit and engage with Ontario audiences
  • to support artist-driven and emergent programming or activities
  • to support the development of artist-run centres/organizations
  • to support public art galleries to extend their capacities to work with contemporary Ontario artists
  • to support the development of independent curatorial practices

Deadline date(s)

October 23, 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 the deadline.

Grant amount(s)

  • Galleries, artist-run centres and other not-for-profit arts organizations: maximum $15,000
  • Ad hoc groups and collectives: maximum $15,000
  • Independent curators – presentation projects: maximum $15,000
  • Independent curators – research projects: maximum $10,000

Important: Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.

Recent changes

  • The application questions and evaluation rubric have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.
  • The program has defined new categories and funding priorities.
  • Non-arts organizations are no longer eligible.
  • The restriction stating that applicants could not apply to more than one OAC Visual Arts, Craft or Media Arts project program within the same year has been updated. You must receive confirmation of not being awarded a grant from one program before applying to another program. See the Ineligible Applicants section for details.

Eligible applicants

  • incorporated not-for-profit Ontario-based visual arts organizations, including artist-run centres and public art galleries
  • ad hoc groups and collectives made up of visual artists or arts professionals, with 50% of its members residing in Ontario
  • independent Ontario-based curators; curators must not be employed in a full-time curatorial position in a public gallery or artist-run centre
  • other not-for-profit arts organizations presenting visual arts projects


  • Galleries within a multi-purpose institution (such as a library, university, museum or municipality) must have their own board of directors or an advisory body responsible solely for the gallery.
  • Non-visual arts organizations must show they have appropriate visual arts professionals involved in the project

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

Ineligible applicants

  • individual visual artists applying to create or exhibit their art
  • independent curators who are enrolled full-time in undergraduate or graduate studies (including PhD level)
  • curators who have a full-time curatorial position in a public art gallery or artist-run centre
  • municipalities, universities and colleges (including private career colleges), commercial art galleries
  • organizations that receive a grant in the Public Art Galleries: Operating or Visual Arts: Artist-Run Centres and Organizations: Operating programs
  • organizations that receive an operating grant in other OAC programs, with the exception of organizations mandated to serve one or more of the OAC priority groups


  • Organizations applying as new applicants in Year One of the Visual Arts: Artist-Run Centres and Organizations: Operating or Public Art Galleries: Operating programs may apply only for projects taking place in their current fiscal year.
  • Artists, curators and collectives may only receive a grant from one of the following programs per year (based on the year of application deadline):
    • Craft Projects
    • Curatorial Projects: Indigenous and Culturally Diverse
    • Media Artists Creation Projects
    • Visual Artists Creation Projects
    • Visual Arts Projects

If you have already applied to one of these programs this year, you must wait to receive notification of not being awarded a grant before applying to another one.

What this program funds

The program is open to projects presented or undertaken in-person or in digital/virtual formats.

  • visual arts presentations, including exhibitions, festivals, mural projects, and related outreach/education/audience engagement activities, including exhibitions presented on digital/virtual platforms
  • catalogues and publications, printed and/or online
  • artist residency programs offered by an organization or collective; residencies must include a public engagement or presentation component
  • curatorial research projects
    • curatorial research, including artist/studio visits and interviews, curatorial writing, development of exhibition projects
    • presentation/production stage of a project is not funded in this category
    • funded projects in this category may ultimately be presented in any location
  • professional or sector development initiatives: activities and initiatives that benefit Ontario visual artists or the visual arts sector. This includes professional development workshop series, training initiatives, conferences and other activities with a community impact.


Ontario artists must be included in your project. Non-Ontario artists may also be included, but projects that do not include any Ontario artists are not eligible.


Projects that take place outside Ontario are eligible as long as they also include a component presented within the province, for the benefit of Ontario audiences.


You may consider:

  • grouping a series of programming activities to form a project (for example, an exhibition series)
  • separating out a specific program within a larger event as the focus of the application (for example, an exhibition within a larger festival)

Please contact program staff to discuss these options.

Eligible expenses:

  • artist fees for exhibitions and other professional services
  • curator/programmer fees, including fees to the applicant curator for research projects
  • technical fees and expenses for online or virtual presentations
  • travel and transportation
  • installation costs
  • publicity/marketing
  • catalogues/publications expenses, documentation, and design expenses and fees
  • equipment and venue rentals
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project
  • contract salaries or administrative fees
  • childcare and other dependant care fees (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: 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.




Projects must pay appropriate professional fees to artists, such as fees for exhibition, reproduction, lectures and workshops. Refer to the CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule. Artists’ travel and accommodation costs, per diems and catalogues are not considered substitutes for fees to artists for presenting their work.


The grant will not fund 100 per cent of a project. Your budget must show other community support by including projected or confirmed income or donations from other sources in addition to the OAC grant request. Examples: fundraising, earned revenue, other grants, donations of goods or services. The exception is curatorial research projects; grants can cover 100 per cent of the project expenses in this category.

What this program does not fund

  • activities that take place in a commercial art gallery
  • student projects, including projects involving a majority of students or undertaken for academic credit
  • individual artists and collectives applying to create their own work; please refer to Visual Artists Creation Projects 
  • individual artists applying to exhibit their own work; please refer to Exhibition Assistance
  • individual artists applying to attend a residency
  • exhibitions and other programming of the galleries or artist-run centres that receive grants in the Public Art Galleries: Operating or Visual Arts: Artist-Run Centres and Organizations: Operating programs, as well as activities that take place in these galleries/centres
  • major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment (including art acquisitions)
  • permanent public art commissions
  • fundraising activities
  • media arts projects; for projects that include both visual arts and media arts, please contact the program staff to determine the most appropriate program
  • competitions, awards, prizes, studio tours
  • ongoing administrative expenses such as permanent salaries or rent

Activity timing

The activity for which you are requesting funding:

  • cannot start before the deadline
  • cannot open to the public before you receive grant results
  • cannot finish before you receive your grant results
  • must be completed no more than two years after you receive the 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.
  • publications or other documentation produced for the 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:
    • images or audio-visual documentation of past projects or artwork to be presented as part of the project
    • documentation of past projects
    • critical writing samples
  • support documents:
    • résumés or bios for key organizers and participating artists
    • letters of agreement or support

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.