Indigenous Arts Projects

Rolling Deadline: applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with notification of results released approximately 3 to 4 months after submission date.

For questions about this program, contact Program Manager, Indigenous Arts

What does this program support?

The Indigenous Arts Projects program is an annual multi-disciplinary project grant specifically for Indigenous artists, collectives and organizations.  For the purpose of this program, “Indigenous” refers to people who self-define as a First Nations (Status or Non-status), Inuit, or Métis person of Canada. TAC recognizes Indigenous peoples are the original inhabitants of what is now known as Toronto, which has great historical and cultural significance as a place for ceremony, gathering, trade, and exchange. This program is designed to increase participation in and access to Toronto Arts Council funding by Indigenous artists, while increasing the creation and presentation of high-quality Indigenous art in the City. The City of Toronto supports this program through a funding allocation approved annually by Toronto City Council.

The program recognizes a diverse range of art practices. You may apply in one of four categories described below.  Grants awarded may be less than the full amount requested.   With the exception of the Project Development and Creation categories, TAC will not fund 100% of a project: applicants must indicate other revenue sources, which may include donated goods and services. 

1. Project Development: supports the development of an arts-based project in the beginning stage.  It is designed to support artists in: researching Indigenous ways of knowing, processes, seeking collaborative relationships, creating a body of research/support material, accessing knowledge/language keepers and archival and documentary materials to build on a component or the scope of a project. 

The maximum grant in this category is $3,000. TAC may fund 100% of a project in the Project Development category. 

Expenses can include: 

  • Mentor/Elder/Knowledge Keeper honoraria.
  • Costs towards networking or professional development events; visiting sites of significance. 
  • Rental of space or software to conduct interviews; accessing support materials, ie archives.

2. Creation: supports artistic creation in any artistic discipline, including research and development, film and media production, and commissions. If your project requires the work to be in done in stages, you may apply for funding for different stages of creation, but note that you can only receive one grant in a calendar year from this program.

The maximum grant in this category is $10,000. TAC may fund 100% of a project in the Creation category. 

Expenses can include:

  • Fees paid to collaborators, mentors and creative resources; 
  • Studio costs, materials and production elements that are essential to creation.

3. Exhibition, Presentation and Dissemination: supports the exhibition, presentation and dissemination of Indigenous artistic work in any artistic discipline.

The maximum grant in this category is $15,000.

Expenses can include:

  • Artistic, presentation, exhibition and administrative fees and costs, including installation, rehearsal, venue and production costs (not including film production). 
  • Dissemination costs including publicity, marketing and outreach.

4. Indigenous Arts Sector Development: supports projects that develop and advance the practice of Indigenous arts and Indigenous artists in Toronto. Projects can include:

  • Workshops and conferences;
  • Events designed to further develop or expand Indigenous arts practices;
  • The development of toolkits and resources to support Indigenous arts practices. 
    *Development projects must either benefit a group of Indigenous arts professionals or be an arts education project led by an Indigenous artist(s); individual professional development projects are not eligible. 

The maximum grant in this category is $15,000.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Artistic, production and administrative fees and costs, including venue, publicity, marketing and outreach.

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).

When can the project happen?

  • The Project Start Date must be a minimum of 3 months after the submission date. 
  • All projects must be completed within two years of the date on the Notification Letter.

Who can apply?

If you are a first-time applicant, or if you have any questions about your eligibility or the eligibility of your project, please contact the Elder in Residence / Program Manager, Indigenous Arts

  • To apply to the Indigenous Arts Program, applicants must identify as an Indigenous (Status or Non-Status First Nations, Métis, or Inuit) professional artist, or incorporated or unincorporated not-for-profit organizations or collectives. The payment of artists’ fees is a requirement of all categories in this program.
  • TAC recognises that Indigenous Peoples may have experienced intergenerational grief and trauma due to Ancestral dispersal, disruption, incomplete or inaccurate records, or enfranchisement/loss of status. TAC does not make determinations about an applicant's Indigeneity, rather, applicants are asked to describe their relationship to their community and culture, if known.
  • Artists must be professional. 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 tradition; actively practices her/his/their art; seeks payment for her/his/their work; and has a history of public presentation.
  • 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.
  • You may not apply as an individual and an organization or collective for the same project at the same time. If you are one of the members of an applicant collective, you may also apply as an individual for an unrelated project in the same competition year.
  • The project for which the funding is requested must take place in the City of Toronto. Exception:  Indigenous led projects based in Toronto may provide programming outside the boundaries of Toronto that yields direct benefit for Indigenous artists and Indigenous communities in Toronto.
  • Applicants may receive only one grant per calendar year through the Indigenous Arts program. However, applicants may still apply for different projects to arts discipline programs as well as other strategic initiatives programs that TAC offers. In this case, the applicant may receive up to one project grant in each funding stream and three project grants [3] total per calendar year. Please visit TAC’s website for other granting opportunities.

For Individuals:

  • Individuals must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents 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. Note: Temporary absences of up to one year may be considered, subject to written explanation and special permission. Please contact TAC’s Indigenous Arts Program Manager. 
  • Professional artists who are pursuing a graduate degree may not apply for work related to their thesis. Note: A letter from the graduate program director confirming that the project is not related to the graduate student’s thesis may be required. Please contact TAC’s Indigenous Arts Program Manager. 

For Organizations and Collectives:

  • 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 and Indigenous.
  • Organizations must be artistically and financially led by an Indigenous person, as defined above or provide proof via letter from a board that is primarily Indigenous that the Organization is artistically and financially governed by the board and guided by membership; must have 51% majority of Indigenous members on its Board of Directors; and 51% majority of Indigenous members on the Board Executive.
  • Organizations and collectives must be located in the City of Toronto. A Post Office Box address cannot be used to meet this requirement. 

This Program does not fund:

  • Projects that have been completed prior to the announcement of results. Toronto Arts Council does not fund retroactively
  • Non-Indigenous artists, organizations and collectives
  • Organizations and collectives that receive Operating funding from TAC
  • Undergraduate students
  • Schools that are part of Ontario’s public or private education system
  • Educational and religious institutions, unless there is a clear separation in both programming and budget between their regular activities and their arts activities
  • This program is not intended to support ongoing operating costs, such as permanent staff salaries, general administration and ongoing activities of an organization or collective
  • Costs related to equipment purchase, capital projects (such as building purchase or renovation), fundraising activities, deficit reduction, publishing and archiving projects, awards and award ceremonies, projects conceived for competitive purposes, art therapy
  • Activities taking place outside of the City of Toronto (such as touring, travel, accommodations). Exception:  Indigenous led projects based in Toronto may provide programming outside the boundaries of Toronto that yields direct benefit for Indigenous artists and Indigenous communities in Toronto

How do I apply?

Applicants register and submit the application on TAC Grants Online ( Applications can be submitted on an ongoing basis, any time before 11:59 pm on October 16, 2024. TAC does not accept applications by any other means of delivery. You will receive a confirmation email when your application is submitted. Check your spam/junk mail folder if it doesn’t arrive in your in-box. After 11:59 pm on October 16, 2024, your 2024 application can still be accessed in your Application History page in TAC Grants Online. To work on a new application after October 16, 2024, you can start a new draft from the Apply page after the program re-opens by November for the following granting year.

Please download the full Program Guidelines for complete program details and application specifics. 

Application Accessibility Support

Applicants who are Deaf, have a disability, or need support to complete their grant applications can apply for funds to cover the costs of assistance from Application Support Service Providers. Up to $500 is available per eligible applicant in each calendar year. Please contact your Grant Program Manager at least six weeks before the grant program deadline to determine eligibility, request application support funding, and to review the process for payment to be made to your Service Provider. Requests for application support require approval from the Grant Program Manager. 

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