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Major arts, cultural festivals, agricultural fairs programs

Festivals - Guidelines

Deadline for application

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 4:00pm

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

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

The application for this program will go live on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

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

Contact Information

Adrija Kličius
Cultural Funding Officer

Major arts and cultural festivals program

Program objectives

  • To support major local arts and cultural festivals that attract audiences and that celebrate the artistic and creative expression of Ottawa’s artistic and cultural communities
  • To enhance the quality of life in Ottawa by providing opportunities for community participation, social interaction and cultural involvement
  • To build the capacity and increase the sustainability of the local arts and cultural festivals sectors

Grant writing assistance

Cultural Funding Officers are available to help you prepare your grant application in the following ways:

  • Discuss eligibility of your activities, requirements of the program and answer any questions about the application and evaluation process.
  • Review a draft version of your application prior to the deadline. Applications in progress can be reviewed at any time up until Friday, November 12, 2021.
  • Provide peer assessment committee feedback on a previous application

Funding categories

Annual operating funding

Festivals that meet the eligibility requirements listed in these guidelines may apply for Annual Operating Funding.

Three-year operating funding

Category not offered in 2022.

Eligibility

Who and what is eligible?

Types of festivals supported by this program:

  • Arts Festivals that showcase artwork from one or more artistic disciplines (dance, music, theatre, literary arts, media and/or visual art)
  • Cultural Festivals that showcase the artistic and creative expression of local cultural communities (including culturally diverse or Indigenous communities)

Throughout these guidelines, when the word “festival” is used, it refers to these two types of festivals only.

All applicants must:

  • be incorporated as a not-for-profit organization
  • have a year-round organizational presence (office, staff, phone, mailing address) within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have an active Ottawa-based Board of Directors comprised of a minimum of 3 members
  • have at least 50% of board directors residing in the Ottawa region
  • have audited financial statements for the last completed fiscal year
  • be a recipient of past funding through this program OR
  • If a first time applicant to the program, have received funding from the CFSU for the last 2 consecutive years through the Diversity in the Arts Fund, the Arts Funding Program and/or the Heritage Funding Program.

In addition,

Arts festivals must:

  • have presented a major arts festival with city-wide impact for the last two years or more
  • produce an annual major arts festival that occurs within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, and:
    • is open, accessible and of interest to the public City-wide
    • has a program of connected arts events that present and promote one or more artistic disciplines: dance, music, theatre, literary arts, media and/or visual arts
    • has professional artists making up the majority of artists participating in the festival’s programs and activities
    • demonstrates significant community involvement, participation and interaction
    • runs a minimum of 2 consecutive days and no longer than a month
    • reports a minimum cash operating expense budget of $100,000

Cultural festivals must:

  • have presented a major cultural festival with impact in the community they represent for the last two years or more
  • produce an annual major cultural festival that occurs within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, and:
    • is open, accessible and of interest to the public City-wide
    • has a program of events that showcase the artistic and creative expression of local cultural communities (including culturally diverse communities)
    • has the majority of the festival’s programs and activities delivered by individuals from the community the festival represents
    • demonstrate significant community involvement, participation and interaction
    • runs a minimum of 2 consecutive days and no longer than a month
    • reports a minimum cash operating expense budget of $50,000

Surpluses/Deficits

Capital assets will not be included in the calculation of an accumulated surplus or deficit.

Eligible applicants carrying an accumulated surplus greater than 50% of total operating revenue must submit a Statement of Reserves (including targets and timeline) for the use of the surplus.

Eligible returning applicants carrying an accumulated deficit greater than 10% of total operating revenue must submit a realistic deficit reduction plan. This plan must include targets, timelines, roles and responsibilities. The deficit reduction plan must be approved by the CFSU.

Who is not eligible?

  • First-time applicants with accumulated deficits greater than 10% of total revenue
  • Individuals
  • Crown corporations and government agencies
  • Educational and religious institutions
  • For-profit organizations/ventures
  • Political parties
  • Organizations whose primary mandate is to present sporting events or tournaments
  • Organizations with their operational headquarters located outside the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • Organizations that receive operating funding through other CFSU programs at the City of Ottawa
  • Organizations whose activities are deemed to come under the jurisdiction of other levels, divisions, departments or agencies of government (e.g. school boards, social services, hospitals, business improvement associations, universities, military programs, etc.)

What is not eligible?

  • Activities already funded through other City programs
  • Capital projects (purchase of land/equipment/fixtures, building projects, etc.)
  • Civic and commemorative events
  • Competitions and contests (exception: pow wows)
  • Conferences, workshops and other forms of training
  • Fundraising projects and initiatives
  • One-time, non-recurring events
  • Stand-alone parades
  • Pre-professional development or training projects
  • Projects or activities that have been completed on or before the application deadline date
  • Neighborhood festivals and events (block parties, picnics, etc.)
  • Sports and recreation tournaments and events
  • Commercial entertainment ventures
  • Trade shows and trade fairs

Restrictions

  • You must submit a final report before reapplying. If your final report for previous funding has not been submitted by the deadline date, subsequent applications to this program will not be considered.
  • City of Ottawa’s 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 program eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding.

Assessment criteria

Peer assessors will use the following assessment criteria to evaluate your request for funding. The CFSU places priority on the arts and cultural content of all applications under evaluation within the Major Arts and Cultural Festivals Program.

Merit

  • Clear festival vision and goals
  • Artistic/cultural programming that reflects the festival’s vision and goals
  • Successful track record of artistic achievement and excellence in program delivery
  • Qualified, professional artistic/cultural leadership
  • Adherence to professional standards/practices in program delivery and relations with artists and cultural community
  • Appropriate resources allocated to artistic/cultural programming

Impact

  • Contribution to an arts community/artistic discipline or to the cultural community represented by the festival
  • Demonstrated commitment to local artists and to a local arts community or to local individuals and local organizations within the cultural community represented by the festival
  • Support, participation and attendance by the general public and members of the cultural community represented by the festival
  • Audience development initiatives aimed at reaching the cultural community represented by the festival as well as Ottawa’s broad, diverse communities
  • Commitment to engage with local equity seeking communities
  • Strong and successful partnerships
  • Appropriate and effective marketing and promotion
  • Ability to provide exposure to Ottawa as a tourist destination (if applicable)
  • Economic benefit (employment, local hiring, training opportunities, tourism reach, monies spent in and attracted to Ottawa)

Organizational effectiveness

  • Effective, appropriate governance and solid management
  • Fiscal responsibility and financial stability
  • Diversified revenue (earned, private, government) and appropriate expense breakdown
  • Effective volunteer system

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
  • D/deaf people
  • Refugees / Immigrants / Newcomers
  • 2SLGBTQIA
  • 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.

Festivals - Application questions and required materials

Before you begin:

  • Read the Program Guidelines and refer to them while completing the application.
  • Make sure all the required material is ready before applying in the application portal:
  1. Incorporation documents (if changes)
  2. Standard artist’s/creator’s contract template
  3. List of your board of directors
  4. Approved minutes from most recent board meeting
  5. Approved minutes from most recent AGM
  6. List of staff
  7. Curriculum vitae of Festival’s Executive/Managing Director
  8. Curriculum vitae of artistic leaders
  9. List of core volunteers
  10. Certificate of Insurance
  11. Operating Budget or CADAC
  12. Approved audited financial statements
  13. Statement of reserves (if applicable)
  14. Deficit reduction plan (if applicable)
  15. Support Material (6 samples max) – including samples of promotional materials of previous year’s programming
  • Your written answers to the questions. (It is much easier to edit your responses on a word document and you can simply copy/paste your answers to the online form when ready to apply)

Fill and submit your application on our SurveyMonkey Apply Portal. Applicants must answer all questions and attach all required documentation.

Application questions

Please describe your festival and establish its merits by responding to the following questions.

  1. Mandate of your organization (150 words max)
  2. Provide a brief history of your festival, giving its principal achievements. (250 words max)
  3. Describe your festival’s vision and goals. i.e. What/who do you want to celebrate, who do you want to reach, why is your festival important in the Ottawa cultural context? (500 words max)
  4. Provide a detailed description of your festival’s planned artistic/cultural programming for the request year. Please be as specific as possible. If certain artists/creators are not yet fully confirmed and contracted, please indicate as such. (1200 words max)
  5. Outline the qualifications and experience of your artistic/cultural programming leader(s) and team. (250 words max)
  6. Describe the standards/practices you follow, and the resources you allocate to contracts and payment, technical support/services and promotional opportunities for artists appearing at your festival. (500 words)
  7. How does your festival contribute to the development, presentation and promotion of local Ottawa artists/creators? (500 words)
  8. How many people attended/participated in your most recent festival and other activities? (250 words max)
  9. Who is your target audience? What public accessibility or audience development initiatives are you undertaking? (500 words)
  10. How does your organization reflect and engage equity seeking communities listed in our funding priorities? (750 words)
  11. Outline your ticket pricing structure (incl. free admission components) for the request year. (250 words max)
  12. What partnerships does your organization have? (250 words max)
  13. Do you provide training or employment opportunities to local residents? Please specify. (250 words max)
  14. How does your programming provide exposure to Ottawa as a tourist destination? (If applicable) (250 words max)
  15. Include any significant tourism data related to and collected by your festival (If applicable) (250 words max)
  16. How does your festival provide additional economic benefit to Ottawa? (If applicable) (500 words)
  17. How does your Board ensure proper oversight of finances, programming and any contractual arrangements? (500 words)
  18. How does your festival recruit, train, retain and recognize volunteers? (500 words)

Reporting on previous year’s activities

All funding recipients must submit a final activity report detailing how they used the funds awarded to them in order to be eligible for subsequent funding. In an application year, the peer assessment committee will review your organization’s report on the previous year’s activities along with your current application.

  1. Provide a detailed description of your organization’s activities for the year funded (1250 words max)
  2. Provide a detailed description of operating challenges and achievements (500 words max)
  3. Provide statistics:
    1. Total number of attendees
    2. Total number of artists
    3. Total number of volunteers
    4. Total number of volunteer hours

Fairs - Program Information

Reporting deadline

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 4 p.m.

The report must be filled and submitted through our Online Portal.

2022 is a reporting year for this program. The next application cycle for operating funding will begin in 2023.

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

Contact Information 

Caroline Matt
Portfolio Manager 

Program Objectives

  • To support major local agricultural fairs that attract audiences and that celebrate the distinct rural nature of their communities through their operations, community engagement and event activities.
  • To enhance the quality of life in Ottawa by providing opportunities for community participation, social interaction and cultural involvement.
  • To build the capacity and increase the sustainability of local fairs.

Funding priorities  

Following the peer-assessment evaluations 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 
  • 2SLGBTQIA 
  • 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. 

Funding categories 

Annual operating funding (next cycle 2023)

 Fairs that meet the eligibility requirements listed in the guidelines may apply for Annual Operating Funding. 

Three-Year operating funding (next cycle 2023-2025)

Agricultural fairs may apply for Three Year Operating Funding if they:

  • meet the eligibility requirements listed in these guidelines
  • have been in existence for at least four years
  • can demonstrate ongoing financial stability and
  • have received annual operating funding through this program in the previous year.

Note: Recipients of Annual and Three Year operating funding from this program are not eligible for additional municipal operating funding from the City of Ottawa.

Eligibility

All applicants must:

  • be incorporated as a not-for-profit organization
  • be an agricultural society recognized by the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies
  • have at least 50% of board directors residing in the Ottawa region 
  • have a year-round organizational presence (office, staff, phone, mailing address) within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have audited financial statements for the last completed fiscal year 
  • be a recipient of past funding through this program or the Partnership Program for Major Cultural Festivals and Fairs OR

If a first time applicant to the program, have received funding from the CFSU for the last 2 consecutive years through the Diversity in the Arts Fund, the Arts Funding Program and/or the Heritage Funding Program.

In addition,

Agricultural fairs must:

  • have presented a major agricultural fair with city-wide impact for the last two years or more
  • produce an annual agricultural fair within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, and:
    • is open, accessible and of interest to the public City-wide
    • has a program of connected arts and/or heritage events celebrating Ottawa’s rural communities
    • demonstrates significant community involvement, participation and interaction
    • runs a minimum of 2 consecutive days and no longer than a month
    • reports a minimum cash operating expense budget of $100,000

Surpluses/Deficits 

Capital assets will not be included in the calculation of an accumulated surplus or deficit. Eligible applicants carrying an accumulated surplus greater than 50% of total operating revenue must submit a Statement of Reserves (including targets and timeline) for the use of the surplus.  

Eligible applicants carrying an accumulated deficit greater than 10% of total operating revenue must submit a realistic deficit reduction plan. This plan must include targets, timelines, roles and responsibilities. The deficit reduction plan must be approved by the CFSU.  

Who is not eligible?

  • First-time applicants with accumulated deficits greater than 25% of total revenue
  • Individuals
  • Crown corporations and government agencies
  • Educational and religious institutions
  • For-profit organizations/ventures
  • Political parties
  • Organizations whose primary mandate is to present sporting events or tournaments
  • Organizations with their operational headquarters located outside the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation Organizations that receive operating funding through other CFSU programs at the City of Ottawa
  • Organizations whose activities are deemed to come under the jurisdiction of other levels, divisions, departments or agencies of government (e.g. school boards, social services, hospitals, business improvement associations, universities, military programs etc.)

Restrictions 

  • A report on your organization’s activities is due on an annual basis. During an application year, the report on your previous year's activities is due at the same time as your operating funding application. If your final report for previous funding has not been submitted by the deadline date, subsequent applications to this program will not be considered.
  • City of Ottawa 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 program eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding.  

Assessment Criteria

Merit

  • Clear vision for the fair that reflects the agricultural society’s mandate
  • Successful track record of event implementation
  • Activities that reflect the agricultural society’s vision and goals
  • High quality of activities, historical integrity and unique characteristics
  • Qualified and competent leadership
  • Appropriate resources allocated to programming of the fair

Impact

  • Contribution to the agricultural, heritage and/or rural communities
  • Strong and successful relationships and partnerships within the agricultural, heritage and/or rural communities
  • Audience/participant development initiatives aimed at reaching Ottawa’s broad, diverse community
  • Commitment to engage with local equity-seeking communities
  • Broad public support, participation and attendance
  • Economic benefit (employment, local hiring, training opportunities, tourism reach, monies spent in and attracted to Ottawa)
  • Appropriate and effective marketing and promotion

Organizational effectiveness 

  • Clear mandate and effective planning (programming and operations)
  • Fiscal responsibility and financial stability
  • Diversified revenue (earned, private, government) and appropriate expense breakdown
  • Effective, appropriate governance and solid management
  • Effective volunteer system

Application process

Applicants must read and abide by the Information for applicants.

Applicants must read and abide by the Terms and conditions.

Applicants must complete the application form and attach all required documentation.

Applications must be submitted through the online portal by 4 pm on the deadline date.

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.

Your Cultural Funding Officer can provide additional information regarding this program, your organization’s 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.

Contact information

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

Major Arts and Cultural Festivals Program
Adrija Kličius
Cultural Funding Officer
adrija.klicius@ottawa.ca

Major Agricultural Fairs Program
Caroline Matt
Portfolio Manager
caroline.matt@ottawa.ca

For inquiries related to logistical support and City services:

Events Central
eventcentral@ottawa.ca

For general information, technical issues, or to request a report form, contact:
infoculture@ottawa.ca

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 vendormaster@ottawa.ca mailbox.