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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Ontario Arts Presenters 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 aims to develop audiences for the arts in Ontario regions outside of Toronto. It supports Ontario-based presenter organizations, ad hoc groups and collectives led by volunteer community members, as well as municipalities, colleges and universities to present professional artists in all OAC-funded disciplines and to offer associated audience engagement activities. The program supports activities in communities with limited professional arts activity.


Note: For self-presentation projects and those where the primary purpose is not audience development, see OAC’s specific discipline programs.

The program has two categories:
  • Volunteer-led organizations, ad hoc groups and collectives
  • Municipalities, colleges and universities


The program’s priorities are to support:
  • activities that include the presentation of Ontario artists and their work
  • activities taking place in isolated or fly-in communities in Ontario

Deadline date(s)

February 13, 2024, 1 p.m. ET
  • The application form will be available in Nova about two months before the deadline. It will only be visible to applicants that have contacted the officer (see below).
  • You will find out whether you got a grant about four and a half months after the deadline.


  • All those interested in applying must contact the program officer at least two weeks before the deadline, and ideally 1-2 months before the deadline, even if they have applied before. The program officer will confirm their eligibility and fit with the program. Once eligibility is confirmed, applicants will receive access to the application form.

Grant amount(s)

  • Volunteer-led organizations, ad hoc groups and collectives: maximum $7,500
  • Municipalities, colleges and universities: maximum $5,000
Important: Due to the number of applications we receive and the limited funds that are available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested. Projects should include a range of revenue sources.

Recent changes

  • The application questions and evaluation rubric have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.
  • Applicants must now contact the program officer at least two weeks before the deadline (and ideally 1-2 months before the deadline) to confirm their eligibility, even if they have applied before.
  • Activities proposed in applications do not have to be confirmed at the time of the program deadline.
  • Self-presentation is not eligible in this program. Many other OAC project programs support self-presentation. See specific discipline programs for eligibility.

Eligible applicants

  • Ontario-based ad hoc groups and collectives that are volunteer-led with no paid management and/or programming/curation staff.
    • They must be located outside of Toronto and be comprised of two or more community members who reside in Ontario.
  • Not-for-profit arts organizations that are volunteer-led with no paid management or programming/curation staff.
    • They must have a head office in Ontario and be located outside of Toronto.
  • Ontario-based municipalities, colleges and universities located in regions outside Toronto.
    • Note that these applicants may have paid programming/curation staff.

Ineligible applicants

  • individuals
  • organizations that receive an OAC operating grant
  • ad hoc groups and collectives composed mainly of students
  • ad hoc groups and collectives composed of professional artists / arts professionals (see discipline programs)
  • Toronto-based ad hoc groups, collectives and organizations (see discipline programs)

What this program funds

  • Projects where the primary activity is the presentation of professional artists in one or more of the following disciplines:
    • Dance
    • Literature
    • Media arts
    • Multi and inter-arts
    • Music
    • Theatre
    • Visual arts and craft
  • Associated audience engagement activities


  • Presentations may include performances, exhibitions, screenings, readings of professional artists and associated audience engagement activities that take place in Ontario and outside of Toronto.
  • Presentations must be open to public audiences.
  • Presentations may be part of a festival or series (including youth and family series).
  • Presentations may be part of a touring circuit or presenter network that block-books artists or arts groups.
  • Programming does not need to be confirmed at the time of the deadline. Applicants must describe the overall artistic vision and how it determines the proposed programming.

Eligible presenters must: 

  • pay guaranteed presentation fees to professional artists or arts groups in accordance with union rates or recommended industry standards
    • Refer to the following organizations for guidance on artist fees: Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists (CADA- ON), Canadian Actors’ Equity (CAEA), Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC), Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA), The Writers’ Union of Canada
  • provide the venue and supply technical and promotional support
  • demonstrate a thorough knowledge of audiences in their communities
  • include a range of revenue sources (box office, merchandise sales, fundraising, other grants, etc.) 

Eligible expenses include:

  • artists’ presentation fees. This may include expenses related to non-Ontario artists that are being presented for the benefit of Ontario audiences
  • artists’ travel, transportation, per diems and accommodation
  • production costs, including rentals
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project
  • marketing and promotional costs specific to the festival, event or series
  • 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

  • projects led by organizations, ad hoc groups or collectives that have paid programming/curation staff (full-time, part-time or contract staff) (municipal, college and university presenters excepted)
  • festivals, events or series that take place outside of Ontario or in Toronto
  • self-presentation
  • creating, commissioning, co-producing or rehearsing a work
  • competitions
  • programming supported by OAC’s Theatre Connects or Connexions théâtres programs
  • projects in which the primary activity is artistic skill development, such as creative workshops, arts education workshops or hands-on activities in schools or communities (see OAC’s Artists in Communities and Schools Projects program)
  • fundraising
  • major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment

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


  • Any major changes to the programming schedule or budget must be approved by the program officer.

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 minor or approved 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

Before applying, be sure to:

For information on how assessors rate applications see the Guide to OAC Assessment and the Evaluation Rubric – Activity Projects.

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.

Your application will include:

  • basic information about the project
  • your answers to application questions
  • a project budget and budget notes
  • artistic examples: It is mandatory to include at least one, maximum three, examples of the work of artists or arts groups that will be presented or has been presented in the past. Each of the following file types is considered one example:
    • video (maximum 3 minutes)
    • audio (maximum 3 minutes)
    • images (maximum 5 images)
    • manuscript (maximum 3 pages)
    • images of your presentation venue or past event (optional, 2 maximum)
  • support documents:
    • biographies of key artists or histories of arts groups being presented (mandatory)
    • website (optional)

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

Program-specific definitions

Presenter: An organization, ad hoc group or collective that selects tour-ready work for presentation and pays a presentation fee to the professional artist or arts group. A presenter provides the venue, supplies technical support, promotes the event, and presents the work in a professional manner to a public audience. A presenter may show artistic work as part of a series or a festival.

Isolated or fly-in communities: Northern Ontario communities that have infrequent flights, have no roads leading in or out or have restricted road access, and that have a higher cost of living.

Ontario regions outside of Toronto: This includes all Ontario-based addresses with the exception of ones with a postal code beginning with ‘M’.

Self-presentation: The presentation of artists who are volunteers or members of the applicant organization, ad hoc group or collective, including the presentation of the applicant organization, ad hoc group or collective itself.