Creative Communities Annual Operating

Application deadline: March 4, 2024

For questions about this program, contact Kevin Reigh, Senior Manager, Arts Discipline Programs

Toronto Arts Council provides funding support to outstanding artists and arts organizations that contribute to the cultural life of the City of Toronto. TAC is committed to artistic excellence, innovation, and accessibility, and supports a wide spectrum of artistic endeavour and a range of activity that makes the City of Toronto one of the leading cultural centres in Canada. Through its support, TAC cultivates a richer engagement between artists and audiences and reflects the City of Toronto through the diversity of artists, arts communities and audiences that it serves.

What does this program support?

The Creative Communities Program provides Annual Operating support to non-profit Toronto arts organizations (both incorporated and unincorporated) engaged on an ongoing basis in work that enables public participation in arts and culture. Funding through this program supports both operations and programming. The City of Toronto supports this program through a funding allocation approved annually by Toronto City Council.

Art practiced at a community level creates a powerful sense of inclusion, understanding, and the possibility of self-expression among participants. It can involve one or more art practices, such as music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and storytelling. The collaborative involvement of professional artists with community members is a necessary component.

TAC contributes to the development of community arts in Toronto by supporting community-engaged arts activity that demonstrates vision and excellence. In addition to funding professional1 arts organizations and community groups engaged in community arts activities, TAC recognizes the vital contribution
emerging arts organizations make to the cultural life of Toronto and provides funding opportunities to assist these groups to access professional artistic leadership.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for Annual Operating funding, an applicant must:

  • be non-profit;
  • have professional artistic leadership and pay appropriate professional fees to artists;
  • be located in the City of Toronto and have a significant portion of its activities occurring within the City;
  • have a history of sustained creative communities activity over the two years prior to this application;
  • have received a minimum of two project grants through TAC’s Arts Discipline or Strategic programs;
  • have a viable administrative structure;
  • have sound financial management;
  • submit verification of financial results of the last completed fiscal year:
    • for requests over $30,000, audited financial statements are required;
    • for requests of $30,000 or less, if annual operating revenues are $100,000 or more, a review engagement is required, (or, if available, audited financial statements);
    • for requests of $30,000 or less, if annual operating revenues are under $100,000, unaudited financial statements that include a balance sheet and a statement of income and expenses is required, (or, if available, audited financial statements or a review engagement);
  • demonstrate a range of revenue sources on an annual basis, including earned, government and private sector revenues;
  • be governed by a Board of Directors or other body responsible for the organization.

Schools, tuition-funded training programs and curriculum-based programs are not eligible to apply to this program.

Organizations must conduct their creative communities activities on an annual, ongoing basis either throughout the year or on a seasonal basis. A single project does not constitute annual or seasonal activity. Organizations, whose level of activity varies from season to season, in keeping with their mandate, must describe their multi-year creation and production cycle. Annual and biennial festivals that have completed a minimum of two editions are also eligible. 

First-Time applicants

First-time applicants are organizations that did not receive an operating grant last year.

  • First-time applicants must consult with the Creative Communities Program Manager before submitting an operating grant application.
  • Additional eligibility requirement. First-time applicants must have at least $75,000 in total revenues for the last completed year, and in projected revenues for the current and request years.
  • First-time applicants to the Annual Operating program may only apply in the first year of a multi-year cycle. The next year first-time applicants may apply is 2024.

Can I Apply to Other TAC Grants?

Organizations may receive only one grant per calendar year through the Creative Communities program and may not apply to other TAC discipline programs. However, TAC offers other types of granting opportunities through its Strategic Initiatives envelope, and operating grant recipients may be eligible to
apply to one of these programs. Please consult TAC’s website for other granting opportunities. Operating grant recipients may receive a maximum of one additional grant per calendar year and must submit a final report on that project before applying to another program in the Strategic Initiatives envelope.

What activities does this program fund?

Community Engaged Arts: This program funds professional arts organizations that bring artists and communities together to do creative and participatory work. The engagement can be through programs such as:

  • storefront and neighbourhood-based arts centres
  • artist residencies
  • collaborative creation and presentation/exhibition of artwork
  • workshops and mentoring
  • exploration of community issues through art
  • sustaining of traditional, culturally-based art forms

The organizations must include Toronto-based professional artists in its programs. Please note that, although teaching and learning (from group workshops to one-on-one mentoring) can be an important part of the community arts process, this program does not fund faculty salaries.

Arts Service Organizations: This program funds professional arts organization that supports the work of professional artists working at a community level. This can include:

  • organizations that provide booking/promotional services to professional artists working in schools, parks, libraries and community centres
  • multidisciplinary arts organizations that serve and support artist-members
  • organizations whose primary purpose is to support the professional practice of community arts

1 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.

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