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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, 2022, 1 p.m. ET
  • In 2022 this program is in year 3 of a three-year cycle and is accepting new applicants.
  • Applications are available in Nova about 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 about five months after the deadline.
  • Normally, OAC operating programs only accept new applicants in year one of their multi-year cycle. This year is an exception: most operating programs, including this one, are open to new applicants in 2022.
  • After this year, 2023 will be the next deadline open to new applicants to this program.
  • Participation in this program is by invitation only. Potential new applicants must contact the program officer at least one month before the deadline to be considered for an invitation. This process will involve one or more discussions between OAC and the potential applicant to determine its eligibility to and fit with the program, what grant amount to request, and other particulars.

Recent changes

  • After being paused last year, multi-year cycles have resumed for all operating programs. The timing of cycles for some programs has been adjusted. A program that was in year 1 in 2020 may now be in year 1 again, for example.

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 about 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.