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 9.5 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.
Our vision is Creative City: Block by Block
TAC envisions a city in which every neighbourhood is enriched by the transformative benefits of the arts.
Committed to inclusion and diversity, we support individual artists and arts organizations of every size and discipline. Our core principles are excellence, innovation and accessibility.
What We Do
Governed by artists, arts workers, arts supporters and civic leaders who are representative of Toronto’s diverse cultural community and artistic practices, Toronto Arts Council:
- Invests in artistic talent and organizational capacity to increase the city’s vitality and engage Toronto audiences
- Creates opportunity for public access, participation and appreciation of art
- Advocates on behalf of the City’s artists and works to increase public awareness of the value of art and to educate civic leaders on effective arts policy
- Collaborates through its foundation (Toronto Arts Foundation) with public and private sector partners to increase resources and opportunities for artists
- Supports cultural diversity and equity in arts creation and presentation.
In 2016, Toronto Arts Council released a strategic plan that will guide and support TAC's operations for the next 9 years. Four strategic priorities were identified:
- New investment that realizes the potential of Toronto’s artists and arts organizations
- Strong partnerships that extend opportunities, reach and profile of Toronto artists
- Urban leadership that speaks with a compelling voice for a creative, equitable and thriving city
- Responsive granting that reflects the city, embraces technology and builds on success.
Read our Strategic Plan: Arts-Making 2025
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 the ways in which TAC is accessible and accountable to City Council and the community at large.
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.