Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is the City of Toronto's funding body for artists and arts organizations. Since 1974, TAC has played a major role in the city’s cultural industries by supporting a very broad range of artistic activity. From the emerging artist to the most established, from celebrated institutions to arts that challenge convention, TAC is typically the first funder to offer support. Today, TAC grants lead to exhibitions, performances, readings and workshops seen annually by over 7.5 million people. Through our ongoing funding, TAC cultivates a rich engagement between artists and audiences. We are proud to reflect Toronto’s vibrancy through the diversity of artists, arts communities and audiences that we serve.
TAC has been emphasizing the importance of increased arts programming throughout the city, especially in the inner suburbs. This has been a focal point for our vision – Creative City, Block by Block. It aims to connect every neighbourhood in Toronto to the transformative and inspirational power of arts activity.
Toronto Arts Council nurtures the city’s artistic scene, helping to move forward the innovative hub of creativity and artistic excellence that defines Toronto today.
What We Do
Toronto Arts Council is committed to artistic excellence, innovation, and accessibility, and supports a wide spectrum of artistic endeavours and a range of activity that makes the City of Toronto one of the leading cultural centres in Canada.
Since 2012, TAC has received a 60% increase to its grants budget, as a result of continued advocacy work in partnership with the arts community. In response to this increased investment from the City, TAC undertook a city-wide consultation process in 2013 that supported the following key objectives:
Growth & Sustainability: Begin to address major funding inequities in the operating program, and address the funding gaps in the projects and individual programs as a result of approved City Council policies and recommendations, some dating back to 2003.
See: Arts Discipline Funding
Community Connections: Enhance support for community engaged arts initiatives with a focus on youth arts and expanded audience access in diverse communities and outside the downtown core.
Innovation & Partnership: Lead change through targeted funds, develop and encourage partnerships, leverage timely opportunities, and encourage and be responsive to innovation.
See: Strategic Initiatives Funding
Our Operating Structure
Toronto Arts Council is run by a volunteer board, volunteer committees and a small complement of professional staff. An advisory panel of distinguished artists and managers further assist with this work.
Toronto Arts Council’s volunteer board and committees are made up of artists, other arts professionals and arts supporters. To guarantee accountability, City Council appoints five of its members to Toronto Arts Council’s 29 member Board of Directors.
Toronto Cultural Advisory Corporation, the body that elects Toronto Arts Council's Board of Directors, includes all City Councillors as well as all members of TAC's board and committees. Toronto Arts Council reports to City Council through the City’s Economic Development Committee. Committees and juries review applications for funding and make grant recommendations to the Board of Directors. The board and committees are aided by a small, professional staff. Toronto Arts Council programs are funded through an annual appropriation from the City of Toronto.
Toronto Arts Council's two key operating principles - arm's length funding and peer review - are applied to ensure the City of Toronto vigorously pursues artistic excellence and innovation and steadfastly protects freedom of expression.
What does it mean that TAC is an arm's length arts funding agency?
TAC is not a city department but a non-profit organization under contract to the City. The terms of its Grant Agreement outline how TAC has to be accessible and accountable to Council and the community and how and when it must report to City Council.
Because of its arm's length, volunteer board, TAC is able to draw on 10,000 volunteer hours annually from twenty-nine members, five of whom are City Councillors and fifty-four committee members who advise on grants for theatre, dance, visual arts/film & video, music, literature, and community arts.
Once TAC's board has approved the grants under the terms of its contract with City Council, TAC awards the funds eliminating the need for Council to debate and approve each grant.