Ontario Supporting Indigenous and Emerging Artists

Ontario Supporting Indigenous and Emerging Artists

New investment helping arts organizations and artists safely reconnect with their audiences during COVID-19

November 03, 2021

Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

TORONTO ― The Ontario government is increasing support for the province’s arts sector with a $5-million grant program administered through the Ontario Arts Council. The funding will create more opportunities for Indigenous artists and arts organizations to reconnect with their audiences and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and help new emerging artists across all disciplines during a pivotal stage in their careers.

“Ontario’s arts sector contributes significantly to our province, providing thousands of jobs for musicians, writers, painters, actors, dancers, stagehands and the many others working behind the scenes,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “By supporting Indigenous artists, Indigenous arts organizations and emerging artists through these new grant programs, our government is helping to broaden the cultural landscape by providing more opportunities for dynamic new artists whose extraordinary and unique work strengthens the social fabric of our province, making it an incredible place to live.”

This investment will provide funding through the following project-based grant programs:

  • Indigenous Arts Support Program – $4 million in project grants will be available to Indigenous artists and arts organizations involved in a variety of disciplines including dance, literature, media arts, multi and inter-arts, music, theatre and visual arts, as they research, develop and create new work and engage with their communities.
  • Career Catalyst: Project Grants for New Generation Artists – $1-million grant program for professional artists, between 18 and 30 years old in any artistic discipline funded by the Ontario Arts Council. These $2,000 grants will support 500 individual artists with activities to help build career momentum as they recover from COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges.

The Career Catalyst: Project Grants for New Generation Artists program is now open. The application deadline for this program is December 16, 2021. Intake for the Indigenous Arts Support Program will begin in November 2021 and close in January 2022. More information about both granting streams is available on the OAC website.

This funding builds on the government’s 2020-21 emergency investment of $25 million to help artists and arts organizations overcome the pandemic, remain solvent and prepare for re-opening their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries that provides grants to Ontario-based individual artists and arts professionals, ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations. Grants support a range of arts activities and disciplines.
  • Prior to the pandemic, the culture sector contributed more than $27.5 billion to Ontario’s economy and more than 288,000 jobs.


“Our government is supporting in the next generation of Canadian art by investing in Indigenous artists. It is fitting that we announce further support for Indigenous art at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Vaughan, which stands alone as the only public fine art gallery in the nation that focuses on Canadian art and the Indigenous art of our country.”

– Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education and MPP for King―Vaughan

“Whether in the visual, graphic, or decorative arts, Indigenous peoples have a vibrant and complex artistic tradition and history. With this investment, our government is ensuring that Indigenous artists and arts organizations in Ontario will have the support they need to develop, support, and showcase important new art today and in the future.”

– Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs

“We are so thankful for the support of Minister MacLeod and this government, as they continue to strengthen and recognize the importance of supporting the next generation of artists, as well as the extraordinary contributions of Indigenous artists and arts organizations in Ontario, whether they are working in traditional or contemporary art forms.”

– Rita Davies, C.M.
Chair of the Ontario Arts Council

Additional Resources

2021 Budget – Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Related Topics

Arts and Culture

Learn more about the live performances, cultural institutions and creative grants the province has to offer. Learn more


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