The Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnerships Fund supports partnerships and collaborations that create new opportunities and visibility for Indigenous-led arts and culture. The fund aims to spark new relationships between Indigenous artists, arts and culture leaders and professionals, and potential partners at both the grassroots and institutional levels.

Toronto has been an important site for gathering, trading and celebration for Indigenous people for thousands of years. It is the treaty territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit and its land and waters have been stewarded by the Haudenosaunee, the Huron Wendat and the Anishinaabe. Toronto continues to be home to many diverse Indigenous peoples, whose artistic and creative contributions are vital to the fabric of the city. The City of Toronto recognizes the rich Indigenous history of this land, and our responsibility in fostering strong relations between the municipality and the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who call Toronto home.



  1. Leverage partnerships to create new economic opportunities, audiences and markets for Indigenous-led arts and culture projects;
  2. Encourage institutional access and exchange for Indigenous artists and Indigenous arts and culture leaders and professionals;
  3. Foster opportunities for new relationships, ideas, dialogue and exchange around Indigenous arts and culture, which includes both traditional and contemporary forms of expression;
  4. Support opportunities for Indigenous placemaking, creative entrepreneurship, and uses of new technologies and approaches in the arts and culture realm.

The Fund supports projects or activities including but not limited to:

  • Residencies, including but not limited to technical or skills-based professional development, artistic exchange, research-based, Elder-in-Residence;
  • Audience outreach and market development;
  • Networking, knowledge sharing, gathering and exchange to promote Indigenous arts and culture;
  • Development of creative entrepreneurship opportunities for Indigenous arts and culture;
  • Research and development in institutional archives for a larger project, working in collaboration with the institution to exchange knowledge about their archival material: New economic and collaborative opportunities for Indigenous people created through arts and culture presentations.


  • The lead applicant must be an Indigenous (Status or Non-Status First Nation, Inuit, Métis) individual, group, collective or organization;
  • Partners can be Indigenous or non-Indigenous groups, collectives or organizations;
  • Both applicants and partners must be Toronto-based. Applicants must reside in the City of Toronto for six months plus one day per year for the year immediately prior to the application deadline (M postal code). A PO box is not an eligible address;
  • The majority of activities must take place in Toronto;
  • Partners must have a Toronto office or physical location (M postal code).
  • Partner confirmation is required with a completed partner questionnaire and an in-kind or financial contribution to the project.

Not eligible:

  • For-profit organizations;
  • Students whose project or initiatives are related to their school work;
  • Non-residents of the City of Toronto;
  • Groups, collectives or organizations that are non-Indigenous controlled (50 per cent Indigenous Board, executive staff, and/or membership);
  • Core operating staff salaries and core operating costs of an incorporated non-profit organization.

Incubation Stream

Maximum $10,000 per project

Open to Indigenous (Status and Non-Status First Nations, Inuit, Métis) people, including:

  • Individual artists, arts and culture leaders and professionals;
  • Groups and collectives;
  • Non-profit Indigenous organizations

Incubation funding will support the development of new partnerships, first-time initiatives, project research or pilot phases. This funding may support incubation or development activities that will allow eligible applicants to apply for a larger amount through the Activation Stream at a later deadline.

Eligible activities include but are not limited to:

  • Incubation or development phases of new partnerships for Indigenous arts and culture presentations, gatherings, creative collaborations and exchanges that have the potential for economic benefits, transformative impact and/or increased visibility;
  • Short-term or pilot residency programs, including artistic, knowledge-sharing, business, creative, technical or skills-based development;
  • Market research, impact studies, development of best practices and protocols that will support the advancement of Indigenous arts and culture;
  • Documenting and sharing Indigenous perspectives, ways of life in an environment of mutual exchange and reciprocity;
  • Conducting research into traditional or historical practices in the context of contemporary expressions of art and culture.

Examples of types of projects that may be funded in this stream:

  • An emerging arts professional, such as a lighting, sound, or costume designer, is brought on to support a live production and learn new skills, receiving mentorship from experienced technical staff in the partner organization;
  • An organization works with an Elder-in-Residence to share knowledge and expertise with staff and community members;
  • A textile designer researches museum archives to gain inspiration and make new connections between traditional methodologies and contemporary practice, exchanging knowledge with museum staff;
  • An artist partners with an educational institution to explore and collaborate on new models for sharing Indigenous histories and cultures in the classroom.

Activation Stream

Maximum $30,000 per project

Open to Indigenous (Status and Non-Status First Nations, Inuit, Métis) people, including:

  • Individual artists, arts and culture leaders and professionals;
  • Groups and collectives;
  • Non-profit Indigenous organizations

Activation funding will support projects and initiatives that have the potential to spark lasting impact and opportunities for Indigenous-led arts and culture projects in Toronto. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate the potential for long-term relationship building between the partners, and ongoing impact on the arts and culture landscape in Toronto.

Eligible activities include but are not limited to:

  • Projects that create economic or market development opportunities for Indigenous artists, arts leaders and professionals, and Indigenous creative enterprises;
  • Knowledge sharing and exchange;
  • Arts and culture presentations, exhibitions, gatherings, creative collaborations that demonstrate clear economic benefits, transformative impact, and/or new opportunities for visibility.

Examples of types of projects that may be funded in this stream:

  • A new festival that supports Indigenous creative entrepreneurs is launched or enhanced;
  • An artist-in-residence works with a performing arts institution to create a new engagement opportunity through a partnership that bridges new audiences or communities;
  • An organization hosts an artist-in-residence to explore new technologies in their work, and expertise is exchanged between the artist and staff;
  • A Toronto-based Indigenous organization partners with a market researcher to track the impact of their work.

Not eligible:

  • Students whose project or initiatives are related to their school work;
  • Non-residents of Toronto;
  • Organizations whose central office is located outside of Toronto;
  • For-profit organizations are not eligible as applicants, but they are eligible as partners;
  • Groups, collectives or organizations that are non-Indigenous controlled (less than 50 per cent Indigenous board, executive staff, and/or membership);
  • Projects that take place outside the City of Toronto.

Application process is now closed. Late applications will not be accepted. Download Program Guidelines.

To request application forms please contact:

Konrad Skorupa
Cultural Development Officer
City Hall
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

All questions prior to the application deadline may be directed by email to:


Indigenous for the purpose of this program is defined as Status and Non-Status First Nations, Inuit or Métis people. This funding is open to Indigenous residents of the City of Toronto.

Groups and Collectives are defined as consisting of more than two people, of whom at least 50 per cent who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis and live in Toronto. The group or collective must who have a bank account in the name of their name in order to receive funding from the City of Toronto in this program.

Non-profit Indigenous Organizations are defined as an incorporated non-profit with 51 per cent of board members and key leadership staff (Executive Director, Finance Director, Artistic Director) who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis people.

Partners may be Indigenous or non-Indigenous, for-profit or non-profit arts, cultural or other types of organizations, groups or collectives. They do not receive direct funding from the City of Toronto through this program, and are expected to contribute to the project through financial or in-kind support which may include time, training, mentorship, or expertise.

Economic Benefits may include creating access to paid work opportunities; promoting a field of practice where there is a lack of representation or opportunity for Indigenous people; creating opportunities for buyers or marketplace to access work; or building new audiences for Indigenous creative work.

Residencies may include arts and culture creation and presentation; business and administration; technical skills development including for designers, production crew, and creative back-end roles; research and development; learning and exchange.

Culture in this context refers to Indigenous ways of life, knowledge and worldviews, and includes artistic and cultural expressions that are traditional and/or contemporary.

Assessment Process

Applications will be assessed by a committee made up of Indigenous community members. The committee will assess the projects based on the following criteria:

Readiness and Sustainability

  • Does the project meet the objectives of the fund?
  • Is the project timely and well suited to the person, group or organization undertaking it?
  • Is the partner a good match for the objectives to the program and offering clear benefit and exchange to the recipient?
  • Is there a strong team working on, or supporting, the project?
  • Does the project have the potential to serve as a model for future opportunities in the City?


  • Will the project have a clear benefit to the participant/s or external audiences?
  •  Will there be benefits resulting in the partnership such as new relationships, new learning, new understanding?
  • Will there be short and long-term impact as a result of the project?
  • Are there appropriate evaluation mechanisms?
  • Have they articulated the economic benefits?


  • Does the applicant have a track record of success that is relevant to this project?
  • Have they demonstrated the skills and expertise to undertake this project?
  • Is their timeline and workplan realistic?
  • Is their budget appropriate to the project, with potential to scale if projected revenue is not achieved?


All applicants will be notified of the assessment results in July 2019. Successful applicants will be required to submit:

  • Letter of Agreement with the City of Toronto
  • Memo of Understanding with Partner
  • Declaration of Compliance with City’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy (to be signed by applicant and partner)

Successful applicants will receive 90 per cent of the funding amount on completion of the required documents. The final 10 per cent will be released on delivery of a final report on project completion.

Applicants have a maximum of two years from the notification date to complete their projects. Applicants cannot apply for the program again until a final report is submitted.

Project Grants

Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA)

IPAA will partner with Ontario Presents to create a new web-based platform for Indigenous performing artists in dance, music and theatre to promote their works in venues within the Greater Toronto Area.

Audrey Huntley (No More Silence)

No More Silence and the Aloura Wells Fund are partnering to conduct a peer-led needs assessment of 2Spirit community members who have been the victims of crime and their experience with the legal system. They will create a video resource that will allow agencies to improve their understanding of and service delivery to the 2Spirited community in Toronto.

Renegade Radio Productions

An Evening of Native Jazz celebrates the historic presence of First Nations artists in jazz.  In partnership with Lula Lounge, the event will feature three Indigenous singers with an eight-piece band and traditional drum.

Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO)

The inaugural IFWTO was a four-day festival of Indigenous fashion, textile and craft in partnership with Harbourfront Centre and featuring runway presentations, workshops, panels, and a consumer marketplace.

Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre (TCFNCC)

 On October 9-11, 2018, TCFNCC unveiled the Restoration of Identity “Turtle Sculpture” to 100,000 Indigenous & non-Indigenous persons in a Cultural Gathering at the Nathan Philips Square. The 9’ x 6.6’ Structure symbolizes Turtle Island and acknowledges Indian Residential School Survivors while responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #82.

Incubation Grants

The following grants were awarded to foster new ideas, approaches, and the potential development of larger projects or opportunities.

The Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA)

ANDPVA will work with a research partner to assess the most urgent needs for artists to connect with their audiences, and increase their revenue.  The goal is to develop an analysis for building an online artist directory or sales platform.

Vance Banzo

Vance will partner with the Native Canadian Centre to research and develop a teaching resource for community-based comedy workshops, creating ways of viewing culture through the lens of comedy. Incorporating modern storytelling methods of stand-up, sketch, and improvisation, with traditional storytelling and knowledge, the resource will develop modules to lead to the development of an Indigenous Comedy Program for Youth at the Native Canadian Centre, and beyond.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Vanessa Dion Fletcher will partner with OCAD University’s Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers, and Indigenous Visual Culture programs, to complete an in-situ six-month Visiting Artist Residency. Building on her previous work with quillwork Dion Fletcher will utilize OCAD facilities to produce new work.