2021 Arts Funding - Key Messages

Arts funding in 2020 and 2021 - TAC Responds to COVID-19

Beginning in March 2020, Toronto's arts sector has faced an existential threat to survival.

Toronto Arts Council, recognizing that it was imperative to pivot as many in the community had, worked diligently to respond to the immediate needs of the arts community.
▲ With performances cancelled, contracts were terminated and artists needed immediate financial support. Before the launch of CERB, in collaboration with Toronto Arts Foundation and City of Toronto, TAC introduced TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund. Thanks to the generosity of donors responding to the Foundation’s fundraising campaign, and the efforts of staff who worked into the night, a total of $833,667 to 982 individuals was disbursed to applicants in record time, with the first payments to artists disbursed within 10 business days after opening the Fund in March.
▲ Recognizing the monetary constraints on many organizations with fixed costs TAC accelerated grant payments to annual and multi-year funding recipients to help them avert a crisis. 
▲ TAC maintained funding to projects and individuals, knowing that artists would continue to explore, develop and disseminate new work in music, theatre, dance, literature, media, visual, community, and indigenous arts.
▲ In doing so we hosted 68 days of adjudication and assessed 3626 applications. We recommend the largest number of grants in our history totalling $23,397,603, including TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund.
▲ Understanding the critical need for timely information TAC issued regular e-bulletins and co-hosted multiple town hall style Digital Updates with Economic Development & Culture to provide updates on COVID-19 regulations and funding opportunities. A COVID-19 section currently resides on TAC’s website serving as a resource hub for TAC updates, health regulations, arts business tools, funding opportunities and art activations.

▲ TAC conducted a consultation with the Black Arts communities. 162 survey respondents, plus 10 in-person consultations resulted in a report suggesting improvements to the outreach and granting process

▲ A new TAC Black / African-diasporic arts grant program of at least $500,000 annually is being designed and will be launched early in 2021. 
▲ A new staff position Outreach & Access Program Manager is starting in January 2021 to lead outreach efforts focused on the Black/African-diasporic arts communities and help design and implement the new grants program. 
▲To help support increased equity among all TAC’s operating clients the Equity implementation assessment score will be increased from 10% to 20% of the overall score.
▲ Creating a one-time recovery grants program which will provide additional support for COVID costs to arts organizations reopening in the coming months

TAC Grants Programs - Impact

Providing support for 2021 Year of Public Art

Working in partnership with artists, arts organizations and communities during the Year of Public Art, the City will engage residents and visitors in a city-wide recognition of public art and celebrate the incredible body of work built by local and international artists, supported by arts institutions, developers and the City. 

Recognizing that Toronto's important collection of public art reflects the creativity and dynamism of local artists, the Year of Public Art will open up new funding opportunities for artists. Toronto Arts Council is pleased to partner with the City of Toronto on Animating Toronto Streets, a multidisciplinary program that will fund public art projects that take place in Year of Public Art 2021 and during Nuit Blanche.

Promoting arts activity outside the downtown core:

In 2019 TAC invested over $2 million in programs to increase arts activity outside the downtown core

Click on the Map below to view locations of TAC funded activities, sorted by year, ward and neighbourhood.

Toronto Arts Council's Interactive Activities Map, showcases the range of Activities funded within the city categorized by discipline, year, ward and neighbourhood.


Stimulate greater opportunities for young and emerging artists: 

TAC invests in programs specifically designed to create opportunities and support leadership for young and emerging artists.

Through Artreach and TAC's Community Arts Program, each year 60+ grants to youth artists and youth led organizations give over 46,500 young people the chance to participate in the arts.

Develop and leverage a greater range of partnerships: 

New programs have been introduced to target Indigenous Artists, Newcomers and Refugees, and Artists working outside the downtown core.

Growing partnerships with the TDSB, Toronto Public Library, Museum and Heritage Services, and Toronto Parks are bringing arts programming directly to local neighbourhoods throughout the city. 

Build capacity for small and medium-sized arts organizations:

TAC operating grants increased by 34% from 2012 to 2018. This allowed TAC to support and stabilize many critically important arts organizations and welcome 30 new arts organizations as operating grant recipients.

Improve Cultural Spaces:

TAC responds to the financial burden and sector-wide value of facilities-based organizations that subsidize space costs for smaller organizations, often at below-market prices.Through the Performing Arts Facility program, TAC offers financial support to host organizations, who offer a vital service to hundreds of independent and non-profit groups and artists who require space to present their work. 


TAC Grants by the Numbers, 2019

  • Value of TAC grants awarded: $18,776,640

  • Number of TAC grants awarded: 920

  • Value of applications received: $37,105,541

  • Number of applications received: 2,440

  • $ granted to the arts for each resident of Toronto; $6.70

  • Number of wards (of 25) in which arts programming was presented by TAC funded artists and organizations: 25 Wards

  • Public arts activities presented by TAC funded arts organizations: 25,000

  • Artists employed by TAC funded arts organizations: 18,900