Visual and Media Arts Annual Operating

Application deadline: March 1, 2021

For questions about this program, contact Peter Kingstone, Visual/Media Arts Program Manager

The pandemic has widely disrupted the programming and organizational plans of organizations receiving operating grants. Efforts and capacities to continue or adapt activities and to plan for 2021-22 vary greatly from company to company. In order to support operating companies, the 2021 operating grant program provides two application options:

Application Option 1 - Full Grant Request

  • Application for a grant based on 100% or more of the 2020 operating grant amount.
    This option is meant for returning applicants with significant activities planned for their 2021-22 request year as well as new applicants to the operating program.

Selecting Option 1 means that:

  1. Your application or mid-cycle report will be reviewed and assessed for merit by the relevant TAC committee and staff, and your grant level may or may not change in 2021. Assessments will recognize an organization's history of work and will not be negatively influenced by disruption of activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Application Option 2 - Voluntary Reduced Grant Request

  • Application for a grant based on 50% of the 2020 operating grant amount.
    This option is meant for returning applicants without public activities planned for their 2021-22 request year, that are not entirely ceasing operations, and will resume public activities in 2022-23.

Selecting Option 2 means that:

  1. Your application or mid-cycle report will not be reviewed and assessed for merit by the relevant TAC committee and staff, and your organization would receive a grant in 2021 based on 50% of the 2020 operating grant amount.
  2. TAC funds for your request year can be applied to costs required for staff retention, research and development, communications and donor relations, facility management etc.
  3. In 2022 your organization may apply for a grant based on 100% or more of the 2020 operating grant amount.

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2021 Operating Application Options can be accessed here


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.


The Visual and Media Arts Program provides Annual Operating support to professional, non-profit, visual and media arts organizations engaged in the exhibition and distribution of contemporary visual and media artworks, support of the production of visual and media artworks and other activities that contribute to the development of visual and media arts, artists and audiences in Toronto. The City of Toronto provides the funding for this program through its Community Partnership and Investment Program.

Visual and Media arts groups supported through this program include: artist-run and public galleries, distribution organizations, arts service organizations, production cooperatives, festivals, exhibition groups and artists’ or curatorial collectives.


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

  • be non-profit;
  • be a professional1 Visual Arts or Media Arts organization that pays 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 visual or media arts 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.

Organizations must conduct their visual and media arts 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. 

Organizations may receive only one grant per calendar year through the Visual/Media Arts 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.


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

  • First-time applicants must consult with the Visual/Media Arts 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:
    • Service Organizations     2021

    • Public Galleries               2022

    • Artist-Run Centres          2023

    • Media Arts Festivals       2023

[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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