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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Indigenous Arts Support and Career Catalyst programs report back

April 28, 2022

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is delighted to report on the $4 million allocated through the Indigenous Arts Support (IAS) program and the $1 million for the Career Catalyst: Project Grants for New Generation Artists program. These two one-time project programs were announced in November 2021 by the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.



Indigenous Arts Support

The IAS program was established to sustain the artistic practice and career development of First Nations, Inuit and Métis aspiring and established professional artists working in customary, traditional and contemporary art forms, as well as organizational development for Indigenous arts organizations and collectives. This program was designed to be flexible and relevant to the needs of Indigenous artists and arts organizations. Unlike other project programs, it allowed applicants to apply for a range of activities without the need for a specific project.


Grants for individuals

$1,388,000 to 142 aspiring and professional artists (including Culture Carriers with an artistic practice), curators, programmers, presenters and literary editors to support their creative practice and career advancement.
Full list of individual artists who received a grant through this program.


Grants for collectives and organizations

$2,275,000 to 26 collectives and organizations to build organizational and creative capacity.
Full list of collectives and organizations that received a grant through this program.


All 650 applications were assessed by Indigenous professional artists, other Indigenous professionals and Indigenous Culture Carriers in the disciplines represented in the program, who independently reviewed all grant applications.



Career Catalyst: Project Grants for New Generation Artists

This one-time program was designed for professional artists aged 18 to 30 to support activities and help build career momentum for individual artists who faced pandemic-related challenges.


There were 500 grants of $2,000 each allocated to new generation artists from across the province. In addition to being new generation, almost half of the grant recipients identified as racialized and 20 per cent as artists from Deaf and disability arts communities. Several grant recipients identified as Francophone or Indigenous and many also referred to their experience as newcomers to Canada.


Due to the volume of requests and the tight time frame to process the applications, OAC worked closely with peer assessors to fund a range of projects. Activities included hiring marketing expertise or building a promotional website; engaging in formal training or apprenticeships; building in-home studio space, purchasing art supplies and equipment, or acquiring digital tools and training to increase an individual artist’s capacity to present or collaborate online.