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Arts funding program

Program guidelines - Project funding

2022 program information will be available at the end of October 2021. 


  • Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 4 pm

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application must be filled and submitted through our NEW Online Portal.

The application for this program will go live in December 2021.


First-time applicants are encouraged to contact their Cultural Funding Officer to ensure their organization or collective meets eligibility requirements.

Who is eligible

Incorporated arts organizations that:
  • are incorporated as not-for-profit
  • have a mandate to support the creation, production, presentation dissemination and/or development of the arts in the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • are led by arts professionals
  • have their office/mailing address within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have an active board of directors composed of a minimum of 3 members
  • have at least 50% of board directors residing in the Ottawa region
Professional artists collectives that:
  • are an unincorporated not-for-profit group of individuals contributing to a specific goal or a series of common projects
  • have a minimum of 3 professional artists or 2 professional artists and one professional arts administrator residing in the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. Additional members of the collective may include professional artists, amateur artists, arts administrators, curators, etc.
  • have at least 50% of collective members residing in the Ottawa region
  • can receive payment in the collective’s name
  • have their office/mailing address within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
Non-arts organizations, in partnership with a professional artist(s) or a non-profit professional arts organization, that:
  • are incorporated as a not-for-profit
  • are proposing a project with an arts goal in partnership with a not-for-profit professional arts organization or professional artist(s) from the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have their office/mailing address within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have a board of directors composed of a minimum of 3 members; at least 50% of directors must reside in the Ottawa region

Note: The City of Ottawa defines a professional artist as someone who is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a reasonable body of professional work, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work and is dedicated to the independent practice of art in their chosen discipline.

What is eligible

Activities that:

  • demonstrate significant support for local Ottawa artists
  • are managed and/or sponsored by members of the Ottawa artistic community
  • occur within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and enhance the city’s quality of life
  • are accessible and of interest to the public
  • significantly involve participation of the local cultural community
  • are singular in scope and occur within a specific period of time

Who is NOT eligible

  • government agencies and for-profit organizations
  • organizations whose activities come under the jurisdiction of other levels or departments of government (school boards, hospitals, universities, social services, military programs, business improvement associations, etc.)
  • political parties

What is NOT eligible

  • fundraising projects and initiatives
  • self-promotional / marketing activities
  • commercial ventures, art sales, competitions
  • projects involving the manufacture and distribution of product in multiple copies
  • activities funded by an operating grant from any City program
  • projects where participation is conditional upon partaking in the religious activities of the organization
  • activities that are solely intended for the membership of an organization
  • capital purposes (i.e., purchase of land, equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • projects that have been completed on or before the application deadline date
  • projects that do not include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution
  • an organization’s full season of programming
  • projects submitted by managers, consultants or agents


  • The City will not fund more than 90% of the total cost of the project; the project budget must include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution
  • Organizations with accumulated surpluses greater than 100% of total revenue (excluding capital assets) are ineligible to apply
  • Organizations that receive operating funding from the CFSU are ineligible to apply for project funding
  • Applicants may only submit ONE project application per year to the following cultural funding programs: Heritage Funding Program, Diversity in the Arts Fund, Arts Funding Program
  • Organizations cannot receive more than one funding allocation for the same activity
  • A final report must be submitted before reapplying. If the final report for previous funding has not been submitted and approved by the deadline date, subsequent applications to this program will not be considered. In cases where a previous project will be completed after the deadline date, organizations agree to complete the project and submit an approved Final Report by the time funding results are announced (June 2021)
  • Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department staff may not hold a key position within an organization requesting cultural funding from the City. Exception: where staff participation has been approved as one of the duties of their position
  • City of Ottawa staff are required to act in compliance with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct and all applicable laws and regulations. For further inquiries, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer

Meeting all eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding

Assessment criteria

Peer assessors will use the following assessment criteria to evaluate your request for funding.

Artistic merit

  • Fulfillment of mandate
  • Artistic direction, goals and objectives
  • Qualified artistic leadership
  • Maintenance of high artistic standards and practices
  • Requisite skills and means to achieve results
  • Innovation within artistic discipline

Community impact

  • Support to local artists and artistic community
  • Impact on artistic discipline
  • Responsiveness to members and audiences
  • Strength of partnerships
  • Community involvement (audience participation, volunteer support, etc.)
  • Commitment to engage with local equity seeking communities

Organizational effectiveness

  • Planning and evaluation
  • Governance, leadership structure and participation of the Board/Steering Committee
  • Fiscal responsibility and realistic budgeting
  • Initiative in fundraising
  • Demonstrated need for financial support
  • Appropriate and effective marketing and promotion

Funding priorities

Following the peer-assessed evaluation of submitted proposals, the CFSU will look at prioritizing applications from the following Indigenous and equity-seeking communities:

  • Algonquin Anishinabe Host Nation
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, People of Color)
  • People with visible and invisible disabilities
  • Non-ambulatory persons
  • Deaf People
  • Refugees / Immigrants / Newcomers
  • People living in poverty
  • Rural residents
  • Francophones
  • Seniors / Older adults
  • Women+
  • Youth

The City of Ottawa recognizes that people identify themselves in many ways. Terms used to self-identify are continually evolving. People can change their identities or the ways they want to identify over time. With this understanding, the CFSU uses terms recommended by community members through various consultations.

Application process

How can we help you reach your goal?

Grant writing assistance

The Cultural Funding Support Unit (CFSU) can:

  • answer your questions about eligibility
  • review a draft of your application answers
  • help with your submission
  • provide financial aid to applicants requiring accessibility support

The CFSU will need advance notice to provide any personalized assistance. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss options available.

Have questions? You can participate in a virtual CFSU information session. Visit Information Sessions to see a full list of dates.

Application process

  • Applicants must read and abide by the Information for applicants.
  • Applicants must read and abide by the Terms and conditions of the program
  • Applicants must complete the application questions and attach all required material.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online portal by 4 pm on the deadline date.
  • Applicants must submit support material.

Your Cultural Funding Officer can provide additional information regarding this program, your eligibility, and the application process.

Allocation of funding

An applicant’s success in obtaining funding depends upon the peer assessment committee’s final evaluation and the funding available within the program.

Availability of City of Ottawa funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.

The amount requested is not necessarily the amount awarded.

Direct deposit

Funding recipients are encouraged to apply for Direct deposit.

Categories of funding

Entry to our programs and movement between funding categories must be approved by the CFSU.

Project funding

Available to individuals, collectives and not-for-profit organizations. Projects are to be carried out within a specific timeframe and consist of a single activity. Project budgets must include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution.

Project grants in recent competitions rarely exceeded $10,000. Receipt of a project grant in previous years does not guarantee subsequent funding.

Annual operating funding

Available to established, incorporated as not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for at least two years and have a minimum two-year history of providing regularly-scheduled programming to the community throughout the year. Peer recognition and financial stability must be demonstrated. Organizations must have received at least two consecutive project funding allocations before being considered.

Multi-year operating funding

Available to established, incorporated as not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for at least four years. Applicants must currently receive Annual Operating funding through the CFSU, be recognized by their peers, provide annual programming to the community, demonstrate long-range financial stability and be able to articulate their long-term visioning and planning.

Application questions and required materials - Project funding

2022 program information will be available at the end of October 2021.

2021 Application forms

Please read the program guidelines above before completing your application.

If you wish to apply in the annual operating category, please contact the Cultural Funding Officer listed below.

Activity report on previous funding

If funding was previously received from the City of Ottawa, an activity report detailing how the funds were used must be submitted at the completion of the project, or attached with a subsequent application. Applicants who fail to provide an activity report on previous funding will NOT be eligible to apply for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.

Please note: You must download the form onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete. Any information added to the form through a web browser will be lost when the form is downloaded, printed, or saved.

How to submit support material

Applicants must submit support material which will be reviewed by the evaluation committee. It plays an essential role in the assessment of the application as it gives the evaluators an indication of the merit of the work proposed and provides documentation of past and proposed activities.

Examples of support material: promotional material, program brochures, media coverage, photos, annual reports and publications, video or audio recordings or links to web pages or social media.

You must submit support material via the CFSU’s online portal by uploading the files directly or by inputting the URLs. Different programs have different requirements, so please check them carefully.

Exceptions include: funding programs that are not currently live on the portal, and reports submitted for funding received prior to the 2022 cycle.

Should you require accessibility accommodations, please contact

For all submissions:

  • File names cannot contain any special characters including accents, commas or hyphens. Please rename all files in plain text. Provide a brief description of the content.
  • Jurors have limited time to review support material. The total time allotted to review all audio and video files cannot exceed 7 minutes per application. Please select your material with this time constraint in mind. Provide cue times as part of your description.
  • QuickTime files are not accepted (.mov or .aiff) .
  • Test all electronic materials to ensure readability and quality.

Contact Information

General inquiries

For general information, technical issues, or to request a report form, contact:

Program inquires

For specific information on your application, or to discuss eligibility, contact:

Anik Després
Arts services and arts venues
French literary arts
French theatre

Marie-Christine Feraud
Independent film and video
Visual arts

Arts training and arts education (Multidisciplinary organizations)

Adrija Kličius
Arts training and arts education
(Music organizations)
Amateur arts 

Yasmina Proveyer
Arts events and arts festivals
English literary arts
English theatre

Direct deposit information

Please be advised that the City of Ottawa’s Financial Services Unit is moving to the use of an automated Direct Deposit system solely in providing all payments, including Cultural Funding allocations.

If you have not already registered your organization’s banking information, please complete the Direct Deposit Form. PDF opens in a new tab or window and mail it with a physical original voided cheque or a physical original encoded deposit slip, or a physical original letter from the vendor's bank to the following address:

City of Ottawa
Accounts Payable, PO Box 3426 Stn D
Ottawa ON K1P 0B9

No photocopies will be accepted. Questions may be directed to Accounts Payable at 613.580.2424 extension 27888 or by email to mailbox.

Program information

Objectives of the program

  • To spark and support the creation, production, presentation, exhibition, and dissemination of the literary, performing, visual and media arts, and independent film and video within Ottawa’s bilingual and culturally diverse community
  • To support the educational, training and service organizations that foster the development of the arts in Ottawa
  • To support local professional artists of all disciplines and backgrounds
  • To support community-based artistic activities that develop local arts audiences and communities

Types of funds

Literary arts fund

Supports production, presentation, dissemination and other professional activities that contribute to the development of the literary arts. Aimed at professional presenters of written and oral literary artists, and book and magazine publishers.

Performing arts fund

Supports creation, production, presentation, dissemination and other professional activities related to the performing arts. Aimed at professional choirs, bands, orchestras, ensembles, theatre companies, dance companies, presenters, opera and musical theatre groups, and includes dance, music and theatre.

Visual Arts / Media arts / Independent film and video fund

Supports activities that contribute to the development of visual and media arts, and film and video. Supports exhibition, collective distribution of independent film and video works and the production of contemporary visual or media arts. Aimed at professional artist-run centres and public galleries, film and video production co-operatives, and professional artists’ and curatorial collectives.

Arts events & arts festivals fund

Supports arts organizations in the production and presentation of artistic programming for local festivals and/or events that celebrate and highlight artistic disciplines including literary, performing, visual and media arts, or independent film and video.

Arts training & Arts education fund

Supports professional arts organizations with a mandate to provide arts training and/or arts education (including community arts). Open to all artistic disciplines. Groups must employ professional artists, instructors or educators and must pay professional fees.

  • Arts Training provides professional instruction for the development of artistic skills.
  • Arts Education provides opportunities to learn about the arts through direct exposure to, and/or participation in, professional artistic practices.

Arts services & Arts venues fund

Supports the umbrella activities of professional arts service associations and of venues dedicated to the presentation of the arts. Aimed at:

  • Professional arts service organizations - associations of individual artists or arts organizations that carry out a broad range of functions such as cooperative promotions, marketing, administration, advocacy, networking, information dissemination and professional development.
  • Professional arts venues - arts facilities that provide access to artists and arts groups and carry out other related services for the performing, visual, media, film and video, and/or literary arts.

Amateur arts fund

Supports community-based artistic activities that provide opportunities to local residents to participate in the arts. Aimed at supporting performance, exhibition, collective art making, and other community-based arts activities and includes music, theatre, literary arts, dance, visual and media arts, film and video, and multidisciplinary events.