In addition to provincial and federal government grants, some municipalities have arts funding programs for residents of their community. You may want to look at their different programs when applying for grants. For example, the City of Toronto also has a funding body for the arts called the Toronto Arts Council (TAC), and artists from Toronto can apply for funding from the TAC in addition to the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. These municipal cultural grant programs may be created and managed by municipal staff, or allocated or awarded to an independent non-profit organization in the community (e.g., a local arts council), which adjudicates and disburses the funds to local arts groups.
As municipal funding is organized on a local level, the scope, eligibility and programming interests vary from community to community.
This page provides brief summaries on public funding available in the following municipalities (hop to that section by clicking the link below, or keep scrolling):
- Guelph and Hamilton
- Kitchener and Waterloo
- North Bay
- St. Catharines
- Thunder Bay
To go to a list of municipalities that have arts funding programs outside of Ontario, click here.
Toronto Arts Council
The Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is the City of Toronto's funding body for artists and arts organizations. It is arms length from the city and a non-profit organization under contract to the City. Toronto Arts Council is run by a volunteer board, volunteer committees and a small complement of professional staff. An advisory panel of distinguished artists and managers further assist with this work. Toronto Arts Council’s volunteer board and committees are made up of artists, other arts professionals and arts supporters. To guarantee accountability, City Council appoints five of its members to Toronto Arts Council’s 29 member Board of Directors.
Toronto Arts Council funds artists, non-profits and charities. The municipalities covered by the Toronto Arts Council include:
- City of Toronto
- North York
- Any address with a postal code beginning with “M”
Note: When applying for a TAC grant, as an individual you must reside in one of the municipalities, with a physical address there. As a collective or ad hoc group 50% of the collective reside in one of the municipalities. For any uncertainties around your address, contact the TAC directly.
They fund Discipline-Based Programs:
- Creative Communities (formerly Community Arts)
- Indigenous Arts
- Visual and Media Arts
As well as strategic funding programs:
- Animating Historic Sites
- Animating Toronto Parks
- Artists in the Library
- Newcomers and Refugees
- Open Door Funding
- TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator
- TAC Leaders Lab
Unique to the TAC is their funding category for "Shows in a Festival" within the Theatre Projects grant. This provides a level of funding explicitly for shows which are part of a festival such as the Fringe Festival, Summerworks or Next Stage Theatre Festival.
Applications are accepted online through TAC Grants Online portal called Smart Simple.
Toronto Arts Foundation
The Toronto Arts Foundation is an affiliate organization of the Toronto Arts Council. They are a registered charity that works with individuals, corporate partners and government agencies to support and celebrate the arts in Toronto. Their resources for artists include several awards, links to Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs), and governance resources for non-profit boards.
Guelph and Hamilton
Guelph Arts Council
The Guelph Arts Council champions and grows opportunities for Guelph’s creative community through communications, resources for learning, and cultural programs and partnerships.
Awards are available for artists offering programs for youth under 25 through the Guelph Arts Council’s Youth Opportunities Fund. The GAC also offers a fund for artists living with debilitating health issues through the Sue Richards Artist Relief Fund.
The GAC has a Membership Program open to Artist Members, Organizational Members, and Arts Supporters. Benefits for Artists and Organizational Members include:
- Discounts on workshops, conferences, and other programs
- A profile on the GAC’s website
- Space to promote calls, news, and events in the GAC email newsletter
Arts Supporters receive invitations to special events, an e-newsletter, and a tax receipt for the price of membership.
The GAC has dedicated resource pages that include:
- Postings for paid and volunteer opportunities
- Calls for submissions
- Space for rent
- Local resources and organizations
Hamilton Arts Council
The Hamilton Arts Council communicates, advocates, and mediates for the arts and the role of the arts within the community of Hamilton, and aims to make the arts accessible and relevant to the entire community.
The HAC is a presenter of Hamilton Arts Week, a city-wide multi-genre festival that runs for two weeks each summer.
The Hamilton Arts Council does not directly fund individual artists or organizations. They do offer a comprehensive resource list that includes:
- Information on funding agencies
- Calls for submissions
- Community arts councils
- Templates and tools for best practices
- Support for writing artist statements and CVs
The Hamilton Arts Council’s Membership Program is free to access as an Artist, Organization, or Supporter. Membership includes:
- An online profile
- Access to apply for residencies
- Discounts at participating businesses
- Promotion of events or classes through Hamilton Arts Council’s social media channels and e-newsletter
Kingston Arts Council
The Kingston Arts Council serves as the primary resource of information and support regarding the arts in Kingston and the surrounding area as a funder, leader, advocate, resource, and facilitator of opportunities in the region.
Funding is available through the Kingston Arts Council in the form of Operating Grants and Project Grants provided by the City of Kingston Arts Fund. Project Grants are issued annually to organizations, individuals, and collectives.
The KAC offers multiple programs for artists to promote the access and development of art in the region. Past programs include talks on granting opportunities and pressing issues facing the arts and culture sector (Grant Talks, KAC In Conversation) as well as workshops to promote professional development (PLATFORM). Alongside the City of Kingston, the KAC provides support for programs such as the Mayor’s Arts Awards, City of Kingston Culture Days, and Kingston’s Arts Advisory Committee.
The KAC has created a resource list of funding agencies, professional development opportunities, and local arts organizations. In addition to these resources, the KAC has an Arts Job Board for opportunities within the Kingston region, and an arts events calendar.
Kitchener and Waterloo
Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation
The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation provides opportunities for donors to give to charities they are passionate about and enables charitable organizations to easily receive funds.
How the KWCF works:
Donations are made to the KWCF in the form of cash, stocks, or other assets and are invested into a permanent endowment fund. The endowment fund generates income that is then distributed through grants. The KWCF does not exclusively fund arts organizations; any registered charitable organization in the region can apply for funding.
Each year the KWCF focuses their granting on 3 areas of focus identified by Wellbeing Waterloo Region, a community-led council.
Organizations are able to apply for Community Grants and various private and community Funds managed through the KWCF, keeping in mind their 3 areas of focus will affect eligibility for funding.
Region of Waterloo Arts Fund
The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund contributes to the Waterloo Region’s arts and cultural sector by providing meaningful grants and support in applying for funds for individual artists and arts organizations.
The Arts Fund has two application deadlines per year, one in spring and one in fall. Applicants can apply for an Arts Fund Grant which includes all artistic disciplines, or a Community Arts Project. Grants are issued in two stages. Applicants that are shortlisted will be invited to move to Stage Two, which will involve the submission of support material, letters of support and/or commitment, work plan, and project budget.
The Arts Fund provides comprehensive support and resources for those applying for grants in the form of:
- Peer-to-peer support
- Annotated application forms and “how-to’s”
- Drop-in Open House for applicants
- Grant writing workshops
London Arts Council
The London Arts Council works to provide paid opportunities for professional artists through their programs in the health, education, and community sectors. They work alongside private, public, and community partners to build awareness, involvement, and support for artists in London.
Funding is available for independent artists, collectives, and organizations of all genres through the Community Arts Investment Program. Applications and further information including eligibility are open once per year.
In partnership with Tourism London the London Arts Council provides an events calendar where arts events are listed along with dining, tourism, and hospitality listings. Separately from Tourism London, the LAC has compiled an Arts Directory through Google Maps to provide a map of all venues and public art within London with links to their websites. Calls for submissions are also posted on the LAC website, including opportunities for student artists.
Creative Industries works to support the creative sector of North Bay through communicating the importance of a vibrant creative sector, and advocating for artists and organizations at a municipal, provincial, and federal level.
While Creative Industries does not directly provide funding to artists and arts organizations, they have compiled a resource list of funding agencies and local services. At this time, Creative Industries is working towards growing their capacity in order to sustainably provide funding directly to artists and arts organizations.
Arts Network Ottawa
Arts Network Ottawa is a bilingual organization that champions the arts in the Ottawa region and provides artists with connections to resources and opportunities.
Arts Network Ottawa is the steward of the ARTicipate Endowment Fund, which distributes annual funding in the form of Project Grants to artists and organizations.
ANO offers membership as an Individual, Organization, or Supporter for community members and businesses. Members have access to the following benefits:
- Voting privilege at the Annual General Meeting
- Preferred volunteer opportunities
- Email newsletters covering ANO news, advocacy efforts and curated calls for submissions and events listings
- Discounted rates for workshops, events, and the Artpreneur Conference
- Member rates for office and meeting space rentals
- A profile on the member directory
Membership must be renewed annually, with fees for Organizations and Supporters determined by annual budget.
Programs offered by ANO include professional development workshops, mentorship opportunities, community programming, and their annual Artpreneur Conference. This one-day conference brings business leaders and creative leaders together to share knowledge and connect over their successes and challenges.
For young emerging artists and arts administrators, the ANO’s Young Arts Leaders Collective works to fill the gap in support for those in the initial stages of their careers as artists and arts administrators.
A comprehensive resource database is available on the ANO website with information including producing tools (fundraising, marketing, outreach), opportunities for artists, industry information (unions and associations, arts service organizations), and career and organization development.
Ottawa Arts Council
The Ottawa Arts Council works to promote, advance, and advocate for the arts in Ottawa through supporting artists and organizations and providing opportunities to advance the arts sector in Ottawa. The Ottawa Arts Council is a bilingual organization.
While the Ottawa Arts Council does not distribute funding in the form of grants, awards are available to artists of all disciplines through the Arts Awards Program. Applications for Arts Awards jury members are accepted on an ongoing basis.
The Arts Council’s membership program includes the following benefits:
- Voting privilege at the Annual General Meeting
- Opportunities to participate in committees
- Group and individual health plans
- Member rates for boardroom rentals
- Member rates for Ottawa Arts Council programs and Events
- Promotion of events on member listings and monthly email newsletters
- Name of individual or group included in Member List
Members may apply for an Individual Membership which includes a student option, or a Group Membership with fees weighted to reflect the budget of the group.
Resources for artists and organizations including grant writing, board governance, and marketing and communications are available through the Arts Council’s Resource page.
Electric City Culture Council (EC3)
The Electric City Culture Council (EC3) exists to build capacity across the arts sector by delivering programs and services to artists and cultural/heritage professionals at all stages of their practice. These programs aim to assist these professionals enhance their practice, develop new skills, provide additional opportunities, and enhance access to the arts and culture in Peterborough.
While EC3 does not provide funding opportunities for artists or organizations, awards are available annually for six artists through the Peterborough Arts Awards.
Membership is available as either an Individual, Not For Profit, or Business. EC3 Members receive notices and discounts on programs, access to networking events, additional support, and opportunities to be involved in the development of advocacy programs and initiatives. All members are listed in the EC3 Membership Directory with a link to their website.
EC3’s programs and services provided for artists include residency programs, cultural incubators, mentorships, and professional development opportunities. Events Listings include not only arts and culture events but links to updates and final reports on EC3’s research and advocacy work.
St. Catharines Arts and Culture Advisory Committee
The St. Catharines Arts and Culture Advisory Committee was formed to advise City Council on programs and policies related to St. Catharines’ arts and cultural sector. The committee is volunteer-run and participates in creating and renewing cultural plans, and reviews applications to the St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program. The committee is made up of six community members, four artists, the CEO of the St. Catharines Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, and a non-voting representative of the Ministry of Culture.
As an advisory committee, funding and programs for artists are not directly delivered by the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. There are opportunities for awards through St. Catharines’ annual Arts Awards. The Advisory Committee is responsible for coordinating the event and selecting the recipients of the awards.
For more information on funding for artists and organizations in St. Catharines, see the St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program below.
St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program
The St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program exists to strengthen St. Catharines’ artistic and cultural sector with the understanding that a vibrant and healthy city depends on a strong creative sector.
The SCCIP has Sustaining Funding available for festivals and mid to large size organizations and Development Funding available for individual artists, small organizations, and ad-hoc groups. Applications are accepted annually and are reviewed by the St. Catharines Arts and Advisory Committee.
Sudbury Arts Council
The Sudbury Arts Council works to connect artists within Greater Sudbury with their audiences by encouraging participation, advocating on behalf of artists, and increasing accessibility. The Sudbury Arts Council is dedicated to supporting emerging artists by connecting them to existing networks and promoting equality for Anglophone, Francophone, and Indigenous artists and organizations in Greater Sudbury.
The SAC does not offer funding to artists or organizations, although awards are given annually during the Sudbury Celebration of the Arts to artists that live and work in the Sudbury area.
The SAC offers membership at the following levels:
- Individual Artist
- Individual Patron
- Student Artist
- Artistic Organization/Group
- Artistic Business
- Business Patron (for-profit organizations)
Members are listed in the SAC’s member and supporters listings, can submit events listings to the events calendar, have news shared on the SAC website and social media channels, receive newsletters, have access to a member-specific resource page, and receive first notice of calls for submissions. All members with the exception of Business Patrons also have voting rights.
Note: While not affiliated with the Sudbury Arts Council, Arts and Culture Grants are available through Invest Sudbury, an organization dedicated to business improvement and expansion in the Greater Sudbury area.
The City of Thunder Bay does not provide funding directly to artists or organizations. To recognize those within Thunder Bay’s arts and cultural sector, the Thunder Bay Arts & Heritage Awards are celebrated annually. Informed by the Inspire Thunder Bay Culture Plan, the City of Thunder Bay has committed to the growth of the arts and cultural sector within the city. This includes event listings, calls to artists, and links the City's art collection and public art happenings.
While there is no arts council within Thunder Bay, there are some opportunities available for the support and advancement of Thunder Bay’s arts and cultural sector through the City and the Baggage Building Art Centre. The Baggage Building Art Centre serves as a cultural and artistic hub by offering year-round programming including festivals, exhibits, and workshops. Individuals and groups are able to rent the facilities as well as submit proposals for workshops or classes to run through the BBAC. Upcoming events, classes, and calls to artists are posted on the BBAC page of the City of Thunder Bay’s website.
The Arts Council Windsor and Region strives to increase awareness of the value of the arts within their community, strengthen their creative sector through advocacy, and create and expand opportunities for artists and their patrons.
ACWR manages the ArtSpeak Gallery, which provides a non-juried space for artists to exhibit their work or host lectures and readings. The space is available for rent on a weekly basis, with a discounted rate for members. ACWR also provides a booking calendar to view availability, floorplan, and dimensions for advertising your booking on social media. ACWR will also advertise your booking online and in their email newsletter, lead time permitting.
Please note: while ArtSpeak Gallery is located at street level, there is no further accessibility information available online.
ACWR’s Membership Program is renewed on a yearly basis for a fee, and offers the following types of membership:
- Reciprocal, in which no fee is exchanged but both parties agree to reciprocal benefits.
Regardless of the type of membership, all ACWR Members have access to these benefits:
- Reduced fees on ACWR programs and rentals
- Reduced fees for ArtSpeak Gallery rentals
- Access to online resource library
- Assistance in grant writing
- Access to Health Insurance through AFBS’ Arts and Entertainment Plan
- Discounts with partnered organizations
- A listing in the Member Directory
Both members and non-members have access to the ACWR’s calls and submissions page, events calendar, and ACWR’s various programs and workshops for artists at all stages.
The ACWR has a free program for youth artists aged 16-29, the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective, that primarily focuses on visual art.
Municipal funding outside Ontario
The following municipalities also have arts funding available:
St. John's, NFLD
Charlottetown, PEI (see provincial funding)