Animating Toronto Parks

Toronto Arts Council’s Animating Toronto Parks program provides funding to arts organizations, collectives or professional artists to create and present free arts programming in selected Toronto parks.

A dancer performing in a bright green Toronto park in the summer.
Little Pear Garden Dance Company presents The Colours of China in Chester Le Park. Photo by Josh Clavir (2017)

Application deadline: December 2, 2019 for projects taking place in 2020

For questions about this program, contact Erika Hennebury, Strategic Programs Manager.


OVERVIEW

Animating Toronto Parks is a component of the Arts in the Parks initiative which is managed by Toronto Arts Foundation in partnership with Toronto Arts Council, City of Toronto Arts & Culture ServicesParks, Forestry and Recreation and community partner Park People. Participation in the Arts in the Parks initiative is a requirement of this program. To learn more about Arts in the Parks, please visit artsintheparksto.org.

 
PURPOSE

Toronto Arts Council’s Animating Toronto Parks grants program provides funding to professional artists, organizations and artist collectives to create and present free arts programming in selected Toronto parks located outside the downtown core. For the purposes of this program, “arts programming” may include the presentation of dance, literary arts, music, theatre, visual arts and media arts, community-engaged arts and any combination of the above. Permanent installations will not be funded within this program. 


APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY

Applicants must be professional artists* or not-for-profit organizations or collectives operating on a not-for-profit basis. The payment of artists’ fees is a requirement of this program. Funding cannot be used to support an organization’s ongoing staff or faculty salaries. (* A professional artist is someone who has developed their skills through training and/or practice; is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic field; actively practices his or her art; seeks payment for her/his work; and has a history of two or more years of public presentation or exhibition.)

A collective is defined as a group of two or more artists working together under a group name, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two artists, both must be City of Toronto residents. For collectives of more than two artists, the majority of members must be City of Toronto residents. Grant cheques are always payable to the applicant name, and if the applicant is a collective, the cheque will be payable to the collective name, not to an individual member of the collective. Therefore, collectives must establish a bank account in the same name used in the application.

Not-for-profit organizations that are not arts-based are eligible to apply. Projects must include the collaborative involvement of professional artists with community members and payment of artist fees.

You may not apply as an individual and as a member of an organization or collective in the same competition.

TAC has two distinct funding envelopes:

  • Arts Discipline funding (e.g. discipline-specific project grants and operating grants) and
  • Strategic funding (e.g. Artists in the Library, Open Door, etc.)

Applicants are eligible to receive only one grant from each funding envelope per calendar year. For example, you may not apply to a Strategic Program if you have another Strategic Program grant application pending OR Final Report pending. (*Please note: Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grants do not fall under the category of Strategic funding). Applications to the Animating Toronto Parks program fall within the Strategic Funding envelope. Applicants with an overdue final report will not be eligible to apply.

All applicants to the program are required to speak to Grant Program Manager Erika Hennebury prior to completing an application in order to confirm project eligibility and feasibility. Erika will provide feedback on your application or project planning if you wish.

Successful applicants must be available in the months between notification and project implementation (February to May) to confirm permitting details, programming information, and to deliver marketing materials as required. Attendance at an Arts in the Parks Orientation Session (dates TBA) is required. Onsite visits and meetings will be necessary. Please budget accordingly for this pre-production time.

Eligibility criteria specific to Individuals:

If the applicant is an individual artist, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Applicants must be Canadian Citizens, or Permanent Residents (Landed Immigrants), or have an application pending for Permanent Resident status, or be a Protected Person (approved refugee claimant) and, if requested, be able to provide documentation to verify this.
  • Individuals must have been a resident of the City of Toronto for at least one year prior to the deadline, and live and work in Toronto for at least 8 months a year. A Post Office Box address cannot be used to meet the residency requirement.
  • Artists must have a history of two or more years of professional arts practice experience. TAC recognizes that due to systemic barriers within the broader arts community (e.g. limited mainstream presentation opportunities for artists from equity-seeking communities) that some flexibility may be required in interpreting eligibility criteria to take into account equivalent professional experience and contexts. Potential applicants from equity-seeking communities are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the program manager in advance of submitting an application. 

Eligibility criteria specific to Organizations and Collectives:

If the applicant is an organization or a collective, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Organizations and collectives must be incorporated non-profit organizations or unincorporated collectives which operate on a non-profit basis. A collective is defined as two or more artists working together under a group name, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two artists, both must be City of Toronto residents. For collectives of more than two artists, the majority of members must be City of Toronto residents.
  • All members of an organization or collective must have a history of two or more years of professional arts practice experience.
  • Organizations and collectives must be located in the City of Toronto. A Post Office Box address cannot be used to meet this requirement.

TAC-funded organizations already programming in local parks:

  • If an organization is already funded by TAC through an Arts Discipline program (project or operating) for programming in a park that is not on the list of selected parks for this program, the organization may apply to Animating Toronto Parks for funding to reproduce their work in a park or multiple parks on the selected list.
  • TAC-funded organizations funded through Arts Discipline programs may be eligible for reimbursement of their special events permit fees for parks that are not park of the Animating Toronto Parks program. Contact the Grant Program Manager for information.

The following are not eligible to apply to this program:

  • Undergraduate students.
  • Commercial businesses and for-profit organizations.*

* These organizations may be eligible to include their events under the larger Arts in the Parks banner and receive promotion and signage. Contact the Grant Program Manager for information.


PRE-SUBMISSION REQUIREMENT

New Applicants: New applicants are required to speak with the Program Manager before submitting an application. Please make arrangements to speak with the Program Manager a minimum of two weeks before the application deadline. All applicants are encouraged to speak to the Program Manager in order to get support with navigating permitting and site-related logistics, to confirm the eligibility and feasibility of your project, or to get feedback on your application, if you would like it. You are encouraged to contact the Program Manager at any time for support with your application and project planning.

Winter Projects: Winter Projects applicants are required to speak to the Program Manager a minimum of two weeks before the application deadline in order to get support with winter permit requirements ad site-related logistics.

Black Creek Community Farm Projects: Applicants to Black Creek Community Farm are required to speak to Director Leticia Deawuo in order to discuss opportunities, limitation and permissions for farm parkland.

PROJECT ELIGIBILITY

Applicants may apply in one of two categories. 

  1. Short-term projects: This category provides funding for projects such as a festival, performances, concerts, screenings, etc. These projects generally feature activity in the park for a shorter period of time, usually less than a week. Maximum grant in this category is $15,000. 
  2. Larger-scale projects: This category provides funding for larger-scale projects that feature activity in the park over a longer period of time, such as community-engaged creation residencies and multi-week performance programs, or for projects that take place in multiple parks. Maximum grant in this category is $25,000.  

NEW THIS YEAR -- Winter Projects (Pre-Submission Requirement):

A limited number of winter projects will be considered for 2020/2021. Projects must take place between December 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. All applicants for winter projects must speak to the Program Manager in order to be eligible to apply. Winter Projects may receive some limited support through the Arts in the Parks initiative.

Black Creek Community Farm Partnership (Pre-Submission Requirement):

A limited number of projects will be selected for Black Creek Community Farm, TAC’s new site partner. All applicants are required to speak to Leticia Deawuo to discuss any necessary permits, permissions, site limitations and opportunities before submitting an application. (see Parks Descriptions for contact information)

All arts programming must be free and open to the general public / all persons in the park. Donations or other fees may not be solicited as part of the Animating Toronto Parks program.

Summer Projects must take place between June 15 and September 30, 2020. Winter Projects must take place between December 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. (The date range for your complete project, including both offsite activity and park activity, can start no earlier than January 30, 2020 and end no later than April 15, 2021)


TAC Accessibility grant:

Projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for an additional TAC grant by completing the Accessibility Expenses section of the application and including the requisite information in their budget. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 towards accessibility costs for artists incurred during the project. Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, attendant care (including helpers for Elders), support workers and equipment rentals or other supports required to meet artists' accessibility needs).

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