TAC COVID-19 Response, March - June 2020

TAC Responses to Support Artists and Arts Organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Emergency Grants Funding and Donations

  • No penalty exacted on grant recipients who are unable to present their projects or events as a result of COVID-19
  • Accelerated payment to annual and multi-year grant recipients
  • Launched and implemented TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund; 982 artists received funding totaling $836,347.  Toronto Arts Foundation contributed $587,000 from private sector towards fund
  • Hal Jackman Foundation - $1 million donation facilitated by Toronto Arts Foundation which in turn made donations to 80 arts charities drawn primarily from TAC funded operating organizations
  • Planning underway for additional supports to address gaps in overall funding responses to COVID-19

Equity and Inclusion: Confronting Anti-Black Racism

There is strong support for increased emphasis on equity and inclusion in the arts in Toronto at this time.  New TAC granting strategies in response to COVID-19 will focus on Black and Indigenous artists and organizations. Toronto Arts Council is consulting with Toronto's Black arts community and will be announcing plans during the summer of 2020.  See TAC's Black LIves Matter statements here.

Arts and Event Programming

Transition to online and virtual programming for the following TAC and TAF initiatives

  • Grant writing workshops
  • Grants information sessions
  • Leaders Lab Alumni sessions
  • Creative Champions professional development for arts Board members
  • Neighbourhood Arts Network mentorship series for community engaged artists and newcomer artists
  • Newcomer Day programming
  • Arts in the Parks transition to digital events programming
  • Mayor’s Arts Lunch and Mayor’s Evening for the Arts


TAC has hosted information webinars for Toronto’s arts sector, in partnership with the City of Toronto and Canadian Heritage, each attended by 400+ people.
TAC has created a COVID-19 web portal with web pages devoted to communicating timely and accurate information:

  • TAC Announcements
  • Public Health resources
  • Public Funders and agencies resources
  • Data Tracking Tools
  • Emergency Funding Support, and
  • Digital Art Activations


Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation continue to work on advocacy initiatives with stakeholders and colleagues:

  • Cultural Roundtable for the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Support and Recovery
  • TAC and TAF Advocacy Network
  • IRAFF (Intergovernmental Roundtable of Arts Funders and Foundations)
  • TAPA Advocacy Committee
  • Municipal Arts Councils from major cities across the country


Toronto Arts Council and Foundation are working with partners on research projects to bring essential support to arts organizations managing through COVID:

  • #lights-on – a Ryerson University led project that brings together key stakeholders to make sense of the current crisis, synthesize and analyse data and impact studies, develop and communicate strategies for support of the sector as it begins to envision the future.
  • Cue to Cue also led by Ryerson will draft Guidelines for Occupational and Public Health Standards in performance venues during COVID recovery.
  • Beyond the Toolkit:  Neighbourhood Arts Network will partner with UofT and other organizations to catalyze conversations about pedagogy among community-engaged practitioners and the potential role of CE practitioners in the aftermath of COVID-19

Artists’ activations – Instagram account

Toronto Arts Foundation Instagram/Facebook/Website campaign to promote the digital activity of artists