program guidelines


ArtReach is a funding program designed to support youth arts initiatives in Toronto that foster youth engagement and provide high quality arts opportunities. $300,000 in grants are available each year to support youth arts projects, thanks to our partnership with the Toronto Arts Council.


ArtReach aims to support innovative youth arts projects that may not be supported elsewhere. ArtReach is about access, reducing barriers, and increasing opportunities for youth, individual artists, and organizations/ collectives to create or continue quality arts projects or programming. New and emerging art forms will be considered, and are encouraged.



​The initiatives we fund must:

  • Support meaningful engagement of Toronto youth (13-29) who have experienced exclusion from active participation in quality arts opportunities

  • Serve youth living in Toronto, with priority for those who identify as belonging to an under-served community

  • Be offered by individual artists under 30 or groups/ organizations lead by youth under 30 in Toronto

  • Encourage creative expression through quality arts opportunities and foster meaningful youth engagement in project design, implementation and evaluation

  • Promote social inclusion and provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, build their personal and professional capacity, and access opportunities within their communities

  • Not be a project who's primary activities are religious or political in nature

  • Provide opportunities for youth to benefit from both the intrinsic (e.g. personal enjoyment, creative expression) and instrumental value (e.g. community engagement, skills development, social change) of the arts

  • Offer an ongoing skill-building series (like a workshop series or intensive) that engages the same group of participants for each session. Drop-in style programming, personal projects, and one-time events not eligible for ArtReach funding

*See glossary for definitions of bolded words

Please note:

  • Applicants cannot receive funds from both ArtReach and the Toronto Arts Council for the same activities and timelines. If you are planning on applying to both funders, please notify the program manager or granting officer at to ensure there is no overlap that will affect your eligibility

  • Projects cannot start earlier than June 1st of the year of application (EG. 2020 projects cannot begin earlier than June 1st, 2020)

  • Artists who receive funding from ArtReach are not eligible to receive funding in the same year from any of Toronto Arts Council’s Strategic Funding Programs, such as CUE Micro Grants

  • Groups are restricted from re-applying to ArtReach until final reports are submitted for any open grants, and written notification has been received that the file has been closed

  • Projects applying for ArtReach funding cannot charge participants a fee to join their program. All programming must be free for youth to access

  • ArtReach can fund groups, organizations, artists, or projects a maximum of three times



ArtReach embraces a broad definition of art and looks to support emerging, popular, and traditional art forms. This includes but is not limited to: music creation/ recording/ production, dance, drama/ theatre/ performing arts, creative writing, poetry, spoken word, carnival and circus, Indigenous arts, film and video, TV, radio, podcasting, culinary arts, photography, digital media, multimedia, visual arts, comic or zine making, graffiti and street art, graphic design, textiles, storytelling, fashion design, crafts, aesthetics, etc.

Click here to see a list of the projects ArtReach has funded.



ArtReach’s funding mandate is to support projects being carried out by individual youth and youth-led groups and organizations, where leadership positions and decision-making responsibilities are held by young people 13-29 years of age. 


ArtReach’s main point of contact should be the young person leading the project, and young people must lead the application process and project management activities. We recognize that there are many models for youth-led projects (including those that include administrative partners and adult mentors). In your application please describe your model in detail.

ArtReach will fund:

  • Youth led groups, collectives, or not-for-profit organizations

  • Individual young artists

  • Youth groups that are housed within larger not-for-profit or charitable organizations*

  • Adult applicants providing arts training opportunities to youth facing severe barriers**


*If you are an organization that is not youth-lead but are seeking funding for a project that is lead by youth 29 or under, please have the youth leaders apply for a grant directly. An adult-lead organization may be a trustee or partner, but the Applicant Name on your application cannot be an adult individual or an adult-lead organization.


**Proposals from applicants that are not youth/ youth-led initiatives will only be considered where the barriers being faced by the participants are severe (historical examples include programs serving youth who are refugees, youth living in Care, or youth with severe disabilities). In these cases, there must be a strong youth engagement model in place to allow for youth to still carry meaningful leadership roles. If this applies, please contact the Program Manager at to discuss before applying.



Individual artists, groups of artists, unincorporated organizations, nonprofits, and charitable organizations may apply for community project grants at the following funding levels. Make sure your budget accurately reflects what you need to complete your activities from start to finish.


Apply for a $5,000 Pilot Project if…

  • You want to try out a new idea OR

  • You want to run a smaller-scale project (short timeline, reduced number of participants) OR

  • This is the first time you’re coordinating and leading a program


Apply for a $10,000 Phase One Project if…

  • This is the first time you’ve run this specific program, but have previous experience coordinating or leading programming OR

  • You want to want to keep an existing program running OR

  • You want to run a larger-scale project (longer timeline, higher number of participants)


You may ONLY apply for a $15,000 Phase Two Project if…

  • Your project was successfully funded by ArtReach in the past AND

  • You are expanding the previously funded project by at least one of the following measures:

    • Increasing timelines

    • Increasing the number of participants served

    • Reaching a new, underserved community

    • Adding new employment opportunities for young people

    • Teaching a more advanced level of your arts practice



Only expenses directly related to the project can be included in your funding request. These may include:

  • Salaries and wages for project staff and artists

  • Art supplies and equipment purchases/ rentals

  • Transportation for participants

  • Program planning, development, and evaluation-related costs

  • Staff and volunteer training costs

  • Promotion and outreach costs

  • Liability insurance

  • Rental and permit fees

  • Participant honoraria

  • Minor space improvements (e.g. painting, construction of a stage)

  • Capital costs (up to 20% of the total request)

  • Web design and printing costs

  • End-of-program events or showcases

  • Translation, interpretation services, or any accommodation services/ supports


If there are other expenses not included in the above list that are critical to the success of your project, please discuss this with ArtReach staff at


ArtReach will not fund the following:

  • Individual artists projects or creation of works (IE. we will not fund your mix tape)

  • Programs that are drop-in style, one-time events, festivals, etc. Projects must be registration-based and serve the same group of youth throughout its duration in order to maximize skill and relationship development of participants

  • Retroactive expense coverage

  • General operating expenses that are unrelated to the project

  • Deficit/ debt reduction

  • Bursaries, scholarships, sponsorships or individual requests

  • Fundraising campaigns

  • Substantial capital or infrastructure costs (e.g. building, major renovations)

    • Capital cost requests cannot exceed 20% of the total requested amount

  • Capital costs not directly related to the artistic learning opportunities being provided

  • Software development

  • Prizes



Applicants are encouraged to complete the Voluntary Self-Identification section of the ArtReach grant application to help the Toronto Arts Council determine whether its programs and services are reaching a diverse and wide range of Toronto artists based on their Equity Priority Policy

The information applicants provide in this section will not be shared with the assessment committee or grant review panel, and therefore will not be used to determine the eligibility of an organization or collective. The form cannot be accessed by the assessment committee or grant review panel.

This section of the application asks applicants if they belong to/ serve youth who belong to any of the Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Priority Groups. ArtReach and the Toronto Arts Council acknowledges that there are a number of historically disadvantaged groups that confront barriers to full participation in Canadian society and the national arts sector. To address the most underserved communities and largest service gaps, the Council has identified specific equity-seeking groups that have experienced especially restricted access to funding, creation, production, and dissemination opportunities within the Canadian arts ecology. These communities have been designated as equity priority groups and statistical information is being gathered for the purpose of ensuring their full inclusion in TAC’s funding programs. These groups are not mutually exclusive: Individuals may self-identify as belonging to more than one equity priority group.


How will the TAC use the information provided?

Voluntary self-identification information may be used to:

  • Generate aggregate statistics to measure how well TAC programs are reaching members of equity groups

  • Ensure there is diverse representation in the membership of peer assessment committees and grant review panels

  • Gather information to help the TAC design, review and evaluate and improve its programs

  • Plan outreach activities and targets

  • Report to the TAC Board and Committees

  • Implement the TAC Equity Priority Policy


How will Toronto Arts Council protect the information that you provide?

By submitting this information, you are consenting to its collection, use and disclosure by TAC only for the purposes stated. If TAC wishes to use the information for other purposes, it must first receive written consent to do so.

If you have any questions regarding the provision of this voluntary self-identification information, please contact



ArtReach projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for an additional TAC grant to cover accessibility-related expenses. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 per project towards accessibility costs for artists incurred during the project. These funds may go towards supporting participating artists, which includes the team leading the project and project participants, but at this time, does not include audience members of showcases, events, etc.

Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, attendant care, support workers, and equipment rentals or other supports required to meet artists’ accessibility needs.

To apply for this additional grant, applicants must complete the relevant section on the ArtReach grant application form. This includes a written description of the role(s) of Deaf artists and artists with disabilities and/ or artists with mental health issues in the project, and the specification of the accessibility requirements of each artist. It also includes a budget section for applicants to list expense items and amounts. 

Click here for our Accessibility Grant web page. If you have any questions about the Accessibility Grant, please email


If your project is eligible, ArtReach's Grant Review Team (GRT) will review your application and funding request. The GRT is a group of young volunteers representing youth, non-profit/ community organizations and artists from a variety of artistic disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences. Results on the success of your application are announced within approximately 60 days of the deadline.

 If your project is not approved for funding, you will be provided with feedback via email on why your application was declined, and if applicable, a recommendation for next steps.



ArtReach’s granting program opens December 1st annually. A link to the application form will become available at on this date. Previews of the grant application form, budget template, and workplan template are available year round on that webpage for you to view and use to prepare your application. 


The grant period closes February 1st at 11:59pm. No late submissions are accepted. 


To submit an application, you must:

  • Submit an online application form from the link provided at by February 1st at 11:59pm

  • Download and complete both the budget and workplan templates from and upload them to your online application where prompted




Projects funded are expected to include evaluation as one of the project’s activities. Evaluation looks at whether or not (and why) the project was successful in achieving its goals and objectives. There are many ways to collect this information, for more info see our Evaluation 101 toolkit

Individual Artist

An artist that has demonstrated skills and/or training in his or her artistic field (not necessarily obtained in an academic institution); is recognized as such by his or her peers; is committed to devoting more time to the artistic activity if he or she can afford to; and has a history of public presentation

Meaningful Youth Engagement

This includes youth being involved in the governance of a group or organization, as well as being involved in decision making around project planning, implementation, management and evaluation. Note that ArtReach’s mandate is to support youth-led initiatives, where primary decision-making rests with young people aged 13-29.

Quality Arts Opportunities

This means that the project offers arts opportunities that go beyond an introduction to the art form and offer experiences that have a personal or emotional impact on the participant, and a positive impact on the broader community. They also provide participants with sufficient resources to develop tangible skills in the given art form.

Social Inclusion

A socially inclusive community is one in which every member can fully participate without barriers or discrimination. A project that promotes social inclusion supports youth to overcome barriers, or works with youth to break them down.

Under-Served Communities

Refers to under-resourced geographic areas as well as under-resourced groups. This could include neighborhoods or Toronto Community Housing units (for example Chester Le or Flemingdon Park), as well as groups with specific experiences, cultures or identities (for example, youth who identify as Queer and/or Trans*, or youth in the Eritrean diaspora). ArtReach encourages applicants to describe their community, and the needs of its members, in their proposals.


​Youth who Have Experienced Exclusion

Youth who have been marginalized on the basis of race, neighbourhood, language, newcomer status, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or any other factors.