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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Exhibition Assistance

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 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.

Deadline date(s)

The 2024-25 program is open from July 2024 until January 15, 2025, 1:00 p.m. ET.


Each recommender either sets its own deadlines or assesses applications on an ongoing basis until their budget is spent. See the Recommenders for Exhibition Assistance web page for deadline information.

Note that the list of participating recommenders is posted in July 2024 when the program opens and is subject to updates and changes during the program year. Be sure to check this list shortly before applying to a recommender to confirm that it is accepting applications.

If you choose a recommender that does not have set deadlines, be aware that the recommender will stop accepting applications once it has reached its funding limit for the year. This may happen at any time, including while you are working on an application. In this situation, even if you started your draft while the recommender was still available, you will not be able to submit your application, and it will not be considered for funding. If other recommenders are still accepting applications and your application is eligible, consider submitting it to one of them instead.



  • 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.

Grant amount(s)

  • minimum $500, maximum $2,000
  • You may submit up to three Exhibition Assistance applications at a time.
  • Each application must be for only one exhibition. You can apply to different recommenders for the same exhibition, or for different exhibitions.
  • 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.
  • If you are awarded more than one grant in a single third-party recommender program within its 2024-25 year, these grants will count as one grant toward your three-grant limit for 2024. The recommender programs are: Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials, Exhibition Assistance, Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators and Recommender Grants for Writers.
  • Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.
  • If your application includes ineligible expenses, OAC may reduce the recommended amount to cover only eligible expenses or withdraw the application.


  • If you have submitted three Exhibition Assistance applications during the 2024-25 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 OAC. You cannot receive more than one Exhibition Assistance grant to cover the same expenses.

Recent changes

  • The application questions have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.
  • Applicants no longer need to apply before their exhibition start date. When the 2024-25 program opens in July 2024, applicants may apply for exhibitions that start on or after January 16, 2024.
  • Photo printing is now an eligible expense.

Eligible applicants

  • professional visual artists, craft artists and media artists who reside in Ontario and have a confirmed, public exhibition
  • Ontario-based visual, craft and media artist collectives that have a confirmed, public exhibition


  • 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.

Ineligible applicants

  • undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full-time at an educational institution
  • incorporated not-for-profit or for-profit organizations
  • curators

What this program funds

Grants assist with the artists’ costs related to the presentation of artwork in a confirmed, public exhibition.

Eligible expenses:

  • presentation costs, including framing, display structures, mounting and installation hardware and supplies and construction of structural elements specific to an installation, photo printing for exhibition
  • audio-visual presentation equipment
  • technical and installation expenses and fees, including the cost of preparing or documenting artwork to present in a virtual/online exhibition
  • crating and transportation of works of art
  • exhibition venue rent or booth fee
  • exhibition promotional expenses
  • insurance

Only costs that are the artists’ responsibility, and not covered by the gallery or presenter, are eligible. See further details in the expenses section of the application.

Eligible exhibitions:

  • 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
Note: Virtual/online exhibitions are eligible if presented by a gallery/museum or other professional exhibition platform. Self-presented virtual exhibitions are not eligible.

What this program does not fund

Ineligible expenses:

  • art materials, studio costs and other expenses related to the creation of artwork
  • 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
  • hospitality

Ineligible exhibitions:

  • 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
  • self-presented virtual/online exhibitions, including online exhibitions and e-commerce sections on an artist’s own website
  • presentations in online shops

Activity timing

The exhibition for which you are requesting funding:

  • must start on or after January 16, 2024
  • must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant notification

Final report requirements

If you receive a grant, you must complete the project and submit a final report in Nova. 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.

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 the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any approved or minor changes to what had been outlined in the application
  • 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 exhibition announcement did not include the OAC and Ontario government logos or a statement recognizing OAC funding, also describe how you recognized OAC support during or after the exhibition: social media mention, verbal acknowledgement during an artist’s talk, etc. For more information, see OAC's Recognition Requirements for Project Grant Recipients.

To apply

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 will include:

  • basic information about the exhibition
  • a 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:
    • résumé
    • 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 details on 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 project 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:

Recommenders for Exhibition Assistance