OAC Launches Arts Response Initiative
The $1.6M Arts Response Initiative is an investment in the diversity and vitality of the arts across Ontario. The...

The $1.6M Arts Response Initiative is an investment in the diversity and vitality of the arts across Ontario. The one-time initiative supports individual artists, ad hoc groups and collectives, and arts organizations to carry out their activities in an environment of change. This initiative encourages exploration, adaptation, and the development of new ways of working that will increase the inclusiveness and resilience of Ontario’s arts sector, both now and into the future.

To develop the Arts Response Initiative, OAC held consultations and roundtables with artists and arts organizations across Ontario. These conversations made it clear that COVID-19 is having an acute impact on the arts sector, affecting everyone both professionally and personally. We also heard that the impacts of the pandemic are being experienced unevenly across communities and regions in the province, exacerbating existing inequities. As a result, projects that support OAC priority groups, including Black and Indigenous artists, will be given particular consideration. For the arts to move forward and grow more resilient, we must ensure that all communities are included.

The funds for this initiative come from OAC’s annual base budget, temporarily redirected from programs that support activities limited by travel and in-person gathering restrictions. Specifically, Market Development Travel Assistance and Market Development Projects programs have been suspended for 2020, as well as Chalmers Arts Fellowships (a private endowment managed by OAC). A percentage of the Touring Projects budget is also being used.

The Arts Response Initiative is one of the ways that OAC is addressing the challenges faced by the arts community in the context of COVID-19. Prior to this initiative, OAC took a number of other steps to support grant applicants and recipients (see COVID-19 – OAC activity updates). OAC’s project programs continue to support creation, production, presentation, dissemination and artistic activities that engage communities and schools, many with adjusted eligibility to recognize how artists and arts organizations are responding and adapting to the current context.


Arts Response Initiative: Project Grants for Individuals: HERE

Arts Response Initiative: Project Grants for Ad Hoc Groups, Collectives and Organizations: HERE

Arts Response Initiative: Project Grants for Organizational Partnerships: HERE


Image Credit: Caroline Yergeau performs in Et si un soir, produced by Théâtre Rouge Écarlate in partnership with Théâtre du Trillium at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins in Ottawa. (Photo: Jonathan Lorange)s

For more information: HERE