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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Skills and Career Development: Indigenous Arts Professionals and Arts Professionals of Colour

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.



This program supports Ontario-based Indigenous arts professionals and arts professionals of colour, or ad hoc groups and collectives made up of Indigenous arts professionals or arts professionals of colour for professional development and skill-building opportunities that advance applicants’ work and careers. It funds all contemporary and traditional art practices that are supported at OAC. Projects can include: study and training, mentorship, internship and apprenticeship and documentation of art work.

Deadline date(s)

May 2, 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)

  • Skills and Career Development: 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.

Eligible applicants

  • individual Indigenous arts professionals and arts professionals of colour
  • ad hoc groups and collectives made up of Indigenous arts professionals or arts professionals of colour

Important: You may only receive a Skills and Career Development grant once every two years.

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

Ineligible applicants

  • applicants who have applied to and have not received notification that their application is unsuccessful for a Chalmers Professional Development Projects grant
  • applicants who have received a grant for this program and have not yet completed and reported on their project, or in any of the following programs:
  • applicants who have received a grant in the professional development category for the Deaf and Disability Arts Projects program and have not yet completed and reported on their project
  • students enrolled full- or part-time at a college or university in an undergraduate program
  • graduate/post-graduate students enrolled in a course of study whose project is directly related to their arts discipline, field of study or thesis topic

What this program funds

  • Study and training: to help cover the cost of arts professionals’ attendance at conferences, master classes and workshops or training courses
  • Mentorship: to help cover the cost of developmental relationships between arts professionals and mentors
  • Internship and apprenticeship: to help cover the cost of arts professionals working in temporary positions that emphasize on-the-job training. The applicant must initiate the internship/apprenticeship, and it cannot replace a current position at the group/arts organization
  • Documentation of art work: to help cover the costs of professional preparation of materials that document an arts professionals’ skills, training and abilities

Eligible expenses can include:

  • artist fees – payment to yourself or other individuals engaged in the project. Artist fees should be calculated based on time or contribution to the project. The program does not fund living and personal expenses – do not include these as the rationale for the calculation of artist fees.
  • travel (out of town transportation, accommodation, meal allowance)
  • tuition, registration or study fees
  • mentor fees
  • workspace/equipment rental
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project
  • educational materials
  • childcare and other dependant 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

  • fundraising activities, contests or competitions
  • major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment
  • creation projects
  • ongoing salaries or office rent
  • business ventures
  • accredited college or university programs
  • enrolment in an ongoing course of study
  • marketing
  • promotion
  • hiring of agents or business professionals
  • business planning

Activity timing

The activity 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

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.
  • 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:

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 – Professional Development Projects.

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

Program-specific definitions

Arts professionals: are defined as artists, arts administrators, community animators, curators, programmers, technicians and arts educators who are engaged in creating, producing, promoting, performing, presenting, distributing and/or programming artistic work.

Study and training: include conferences, master classes and workshops or training courses that broaden arts professionals’ knowledge, refine their artistic approach and/or allow them to acquire greater mastery of their art or professional practice above the basic level.

Mentorships: are developmental relationships between professional artists and mentors in which the mentor (a more experienced artist or elder) shares information, skills or knowledge and standards or best practices that will advance the artists’ careers, enhance their education and build their networks. The artists should receive the primary benefit of the mentorship.

Internships and apprenticeships: are temporary positions that emphasize on-the-job training, giving work experience in the field or artistic practice above the basic level. The internship/apprenticeship must provide education, not merely employment, and the intern/apprentice should receive the primary benefit.

Documentation of art work: are materials that document an artist’s skills, training and abilities. Examples are: professional preparation of demo recordings for musicians; archival recording of works in performance for dance artists; demo reels for theatre artists; documentation of visual arts work; documentation of learner’s support material for arts educators; websites as a presentation tool.

Indigenous: Individuals who self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

OAC is referring to people of colour based on the Government of Canada’s definition of “visible minorities,” which is “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”