Great Cities are Arts and Culture Cities

2024 City Budget – support a $2M increase to TAC’s core budget


The arts shape Toronto’s identity and are key to the city’s revitalization. The time is now for the City to give back. After all, a caring and affordable city values the lives and careers of every resident, including artists and arts workers

Quick Links 

What We’re Asking  

Actions to Take: Here’s how you can help.  

Read our Deputation to Budget Committee, made January 22, 2024, HERE 



On February 1, 2024, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow released her proposed 2024 budget, detailing no increase – and no decrease – to Toronto Arts Council’s (TAC) budget. We appreciate the City’s continued trust in our services and value our ongoing partnership. However, TAC has not received a substantial increase to its core budget in five years, meaning our grants cannot keep up with inflation.   

2024 is the time for this increase to happen, and there’s still hope. In her introductory letter prefacing this year’s draft budget, Mayor Chow signaled the possibility of a last-minute boost:  

“I have heard from many Members of Council and Torontonians about additional priorities. Some have a desire to restore windrow services into the budget. Others are interested in more funding to festivals, the arts and community safety. I have allocated $8 million for the February 14 City Council meeting for a collective decision on these and other outstanding issues.” 



We ask that Mayor Chow honour her commitment to increase TAC’s budget by $2M in 2024.  
▶ Did you know? 
TAC relies on the City for 100% of its funding with over 90% of funding going directly to artists, arts organizations and arts workers.


As the city’s arms-length arts funding agency, it’s our duty to inform our partners at city hall about the pressures, concerns, needs and opportunities facing Toronto’s arts organizations and artists. We are a trusted resource and direct line to artists, which is why this funding increase must go directly to TAC. 
But we can’t do it alone! Your voice is crucial. Here’s how you can help: 

▶ Email your City Councillor and let them know that you value the arts

For a list of City Councillors and their emails, Go HERE.   

In your email: 

Let’s be appreciative! Acknowledge City Council’s support for the arts to date.  

Voice your support for a direct increase to TAC’s budget by $2M in 2024. 

Share the impact of TAC funding and the arts in Toronto. Below, you’ll find specific examples of how TAC funding supports Toronto’s residents and the City as a whole. Reference any of the examples below or share a personal story. 

✔ CC the Mayor and Budget Committee in your email. 

✔ Send this email before February 14, 2024.

Need help getting started? Go HERE to open a sample email template.



Artists Live Here 

  • 32,000 artists and arts workers live in Toronto. That’s 40% of the Canadian total and twice as many as any other Canadian city. 
  • In Toronto, 1 in every 50 workers is a professional artist. 

Source: More than 32,000 professional artists in Toronto. Hill Strategies, 2023

Great Cities are Arts and Culture Cities 

The arts contribute to the liveability of Toronto. JUMP AHEAD for examples of how TAC funding supports Toronto’s residents and the city



  • TAC funding supports livelihoods with funds going directly to artists, arts workers and organizations: In 2023, TAC gave over 900 grants to artists and arts organizations, totalling over $23 million. 
  • TAC funding is truly representative of community needs: TAC is the city’s arms-length funding agency that operates on a peer-review process, meaning we rely on our arts communities to make funding decisions. 
  • TAC centers equity across all aspects of its work, including prioritizing investment in programs serving newcomers, Indigenous artists, Black artists, and youth arts. 
  • TAC has a low cost of delivery compared to other arts councils, at just $0.77 per Toronto resident.
    • By comparison, the per capita cost of grant delivery of other municipal arts councils in Canada ranges from $2 to over $4 per resident. 
  • TAC grant recipients create an economic leverage of $15 for every $1 of grant funding provided – an extraordinary return on investment. 

✷ In addition to our $2M ask we also support a funding increase to our partners at the Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs) so that they can continue to engage communities through the arts in areas outside of the downtown core. ✷ 



Arts add value beyond the dollar and help address pressing social issues


▲ TAC funding increases social and professional connection for youth and newcomers 

“Arriving here as a refugee without much support or direction, I found solace and discovered my voice through participating in free arts programming throughout the city. [I want to] emphasize how crucial the support of organizations like the Toronto Arts Council is for artists like me. After all, what's a city without its artists? You can't grow anything without planting seeds.” 
- Warda mohamed Youssouf. Founder, House of Arts, recipient of TAC’s Animating Toronto Parks funding program.


TAC funding encourages creative solutions to help those living with mental health and addiction issues.  

“When you have a mental health issue, your competence to tell your own story is questioned in a way that’s extremely distressing... We’ve heard that [our] workshops give participants a space to feel ‘perfectly safe just to be myself’; a place where ‘I can be heard, without prejudice or stereotypes.’ We’ve heard about their efficacy as a healing tool: ‘I’ve lost some feelings of sadness and isolation. I belong!’ and ‘I’ve been in hibernation a long time. As a result of this group, it feels like spring again.’”  

- Kathy Friedman, co-founder of InkWell Workshops, a writing program for people living with mental health and addiction issues. InkWell Workshops has received several TAC grants through Creative Communities Projects.


TAC funding boosts youth engagement and increases community safety 

 “[Wheel it Studios] is an initiative that continues to build a culture of peace as its lessons on cross-cultural/cross-neighbourhood understanding and collaboration will have long term empowering impacts on our community.”  

- Ruben 'Beny' Esguerra, co-founder of Wheel it Studios, a program that offers hands-on studio recording training for youth participants in two Jane-Finch neighbourhoods. Wheel it Studios has received several TAC grants through Creative Communities Projects.


▲ TAC funding helps people build life skills 

 “[Theatre] helps the artists work through anxiety, understand complex social dynamics, practice interpersonal skills, and it's also really fun. A lot of life skills are practiced too: showing up on time, being prepared, managing timelines, etc... These artists are very well suited to this job. What they need is more job opportunities.”  
- Jordan Campbell, Facilitator, Purple Carrots, an organization that provides inclusive and accessible arts-based programming, specializing in diverse neuro and physical abilities. Purple Carrots has received several TAC grants through Creative Communities Projects.


▲ TAC funding honours Indigenous creativity 

“The support the Pemmican Collective received from TAC was instrumental in allowing our collective to continue to build up Indigenous playwrights. Too often, resources are given to Settler run companies, who then in turn are tasked with Indigenous engagement, which translates into tokenistic box checking. By supporting Indigenous led initiatives such as this, TAC is investing resources directly in a group that continues to fight for equal place on our country’s stages.” 
- Members of the Pemmican Collective. In 2022, the collective received its first grant from TAC through the Indigenous Arts Projects program.


TAC funding recognizes and encourages Black creativity 

“As someone who has always tried to push Black creatives beyond the boundaries of what is expected of us, I smiled numerous times during [the peer review] process as there were so very many projects that were doing just that. Animation, books, movies, sculpture, events, youth development, fashion, podcasts, fantasy, satire. Provocative. Visionary. Inventive... I look forward to the blossoming renaissance in Black creativity.”  

- Powys Dewhurst, Programmer, Facilitator, Producer, and peer assessor for the 2022 Black Arts Projects panel


▲ TAC funding leverages city services to boost civic engagement  

“The Artists in the Library program is such an incredible opportunity for the community and for artists to connect with each other.” 

- Lisa Marie DiLiberto, Artistic Director, FIXT Point


▲ TAC funding supports leading Toronto organizations 

 “Operating funding that you can count on allows you to invest in long term change, which is particularly important for Tangled Art’s work, which straddles art and advocacy. It has allowed Tangled Art to establish itself as a site for political engagement and a place for us to create Disability culture.”  

- Cyn Rozeboom, Executive Director and Sean Lee, Director of Programming, Tangled Art + Disability


TAC funding promotes health & well-being 

“[MabelleArts has] inspired me in terms of art and its ability to transform community and I saw that we were really missing that in a community health centre setting. We offer so many programs but we were really missing a vibrancy and a life that arts can create... The reward for arts engagement is the happiness and health of our clients.”  

- Julia Graham, Stonegate Community Health Centre, partner of the Arts in the Parks initiative.


▲ TAC funding encourages community gathering 

TAC supports arts and culture festivals for the pivotal role they play in public and youth engagement, career development for emerging artists, neighbourhood revitalization and stimulating the visitor economy. Each year, TAC funds more than 75 festivals and invests over $3 million in festival activity, including operating grant support for 41 organizations that run recurring festivals.  

From large international festivals like HotDocs, to community-run festivals like JAYU Festival, TAC funding supports community gathering for everyone.


▲ TAC funding inspires and launches careers 

“After I came out, I started to volunteer with the Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival just to meet other queer folks, and that’s when I was first exposed to short films and experimental films and I kind of fell in love with the possibilities... This city is very important in me making the decision to become an artist… it was important for me to turn to the Toronto Arts Council first before thinking about the Ontario or Canada Council. That local support of my peers is really significant and personally meaningful to me.” 

- Michèle Pearson Clarke, 2019 – 2022 Toronto Photo Laureate. Michèle received her first ever arts grant from TAC in 2015.