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Application Deadline:
December 14th, 2020, 1PM ET

Digital Arts Resource Centre is a media art OAC exhibition assistance recommender for OAC Assistance Zone 4. The Ontario Arts Council’s Exhibition Assistance program supports Ontario-based artists and artist collectives working in visual arts, craft and media art practices in the presentation of their artwork in a confirmed public exhibition. This is a third-party recommender program. Using Nova, OAC’s online grant application system, artists apply to the galleries and organizations designated as recommenders for the program. These recommenders assess applications and submit grant recommendations to OAC. 


Ontario aRTS cOUNCIL

Amber Yared

Program Administrator

digital arts resource centre

Annette Hegel 


* The following (listed below) is a direct reference to the Ontario Arts Council’s Exhibition Assistance website listing *


Recommenders may identify priorities for funding in addition to OAC’s priority groups.

deadline dates

The 2020-2021 program is open from September 2020 until January 15, 2021.

DARC Application Deadline: December 14th, 2020, 1PM ET. 

Each recommender either sets its own deadlines or assesses applications on an ongoing basis until their budget is spent. See the Recommenders for Exhibition Assistance web page for deadline information. Note that the list of participating recommenders is posted in September 2020 when the program opens, and is subject to updates and changes during the program year.



  • Recommenders with set deadlines – You will be notified up to two months after the recommender’s deadline date.
  • Recommenders that assess applications on an ongoing basis – You will be notified up to two months after the date you submit your application.
  • It is possible that you will be notified after your exhibition has already started (or ended). In this case, if you are awarded a grant, it will be awarded retroactively.

grant amounts

  • Minimum $500, maximum $2,000
  • You may apply for only one exhibition per application.
  • You may receive up to $2,000 in Exhibition Assistance grants, for applications submitted during the program year. This amount can be from more than one recommender, and towards one or more exhibitions.
  • Due to the number of applications received and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.
  • If you are awarded more than one grant in a single third-party recommender program within its 2020-21 year, these grants will count as one grant toward your three-grant limit for 2020. The recommender programs are: Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials, Exhibition Assistance, Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators and Recommender Grants for Writers.
  • If your application includes ineligible expenses, OAC may reduce the recommended amount to cover only eligible expenses or withdraw the application.


  • You may submit up to three Exhibition Assistance applications at a time.
  • If you have submitted three Exhibition Assistance applications during the 2020-21 program year, you must wait to be notified of the results of one of them before you can submit another.
  • If you have applied for the same expenses to more than one recommender, and are awarded a grant by one of them, you must contact the others to let them know. You cannot receive more than one Exhibition Assistance grant to cover the same expenses.

recent changes

  • The 2020-21 program opens in September 2020. The application then becomes available in Nova and participating recommenders are announced.
  • Applicants must submit their application before their exhibition start date.
  • Virtual/online exhibitions and expenses may be eligible (see details in The program funds section)

Eligible applicants

  • Ontario-based professional visual artists, craft artists, media artists and artist collectives who have a confirmed, upcoming public exhibition. Applicants must be Ontario residents with a permanent physical address in Ontario.



  • For this program, eligible collectives are defined as unincorporated groups of two or more artists who create collaboratively and exhibit together.
  • Collectives may apply in the name of the collective, or may choose an individual to represent it as the applicant.
  • Only one individual can apply on behalf of the collective at any time. An amount awarded in the name of the individual counts towards their $2,000 limit for the program year.
  • If the collective applies, OAC issues the grant cheque in the name of the collective. Grant cheques cannot be re-issued in the name of an individual.
  • For a group exhibition, where artists present their own individual work, each artist must apply individually for their own expenses.

Read the Guide to OAC Project Programs for more eligibility information.

Ineligible applicants

  • Undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full-time at an educational institution
  • Incorporated not-for-profit or for-profit organizations
  • Curators

this program funds

Grants assist with the artists’ costs related to the presentation of artwork in a confirmed, public exhibition.

Eligible expenses:

  • presentation costs, including framing, display structures, mounting and installation hardware and supplies and construction of structural elements specific to an installation
  • audio-visual presentation equipment
  • technical and installation expenses and fees, including the cost of preparing or documenting artwork to present in a virtual/online exhibition
  • crating and transportation of works of art
  • exhibition venue rent or booth fee
  • exhibition promotional expenses
  • insurance

Only costs that are the artists’ responsibility, and not covered by the gallery or presenter, are eligible. See further details in the expenses section of the application.

Eligible exhibitions:

  • exhibitions in Ontario, in other Canadian provinces and in international locations
  • exhibitions in public art galleries, artist-run centres and commercial art galleries
  • solo and group shows
  • do-it-yourself (DIY) or self-presented public exhibitions
  • exhibitions in alternative public locations such as community centres, restaurants or rented spaces
  • art fairs, collective studio tours and exhibits at trade fairs

Note: Virtual/online exhibitions are eligible if presented by a gallery/museum or other professional exhibition platform. Self-presented virtual exhibitions are not eligible.

This program does not fund

Ineligible expenses:

  • art materials and other costs related to the creation of artwork, such as photo printing and studio costs
  • artist’s fees for exhibition and installation
  • artist’s travel (travel costs are only eligible for performance art and site-specific installation)
  • artist’s accommodation
  • catalogues and documentation of artwork
  • hospitality


Ineligible exhibitions:

  • exhibitions in venues that are not open to the public
  • theatrical-style screenings of film or video
  • exhibitions presented for credit in a secondary or post-secondary program
  • self-presented virtual/online exhibitions, including online exhibitions and e-commerce sections on an artist’s own website
  • presentations in online shops

Activity timing

The exhibition for which you are requesting funding:

  • must be scheduled to open after you submit your application in Nova
  • must be completed no more than two years after you receive the grant notification

final report requirements

If you receive a grant you must submit a final report upon completion of the project. Do not submit your final report before receiving your grant cheque. See Terms and Conditions — receipt of OAC project grant funds for more information on reporting obligations. Complete and submit the report form in Nova. Important: You must notify OAC to request approval if your exhibition venue or dates change. You must do this before any changes take place.

Final reports for this program require grant recipients to provide:

  • a description of what was achieved with the support of this grant
  • final expenses, if different from original application expenses
  • an exhibition announcement or other document used to promote the exhibition to the public (1 to 3 images or a link)

If the OAC logo/funding acknowledgement was not included in the exhibition announcement, also describe how you recognized OAC support during or after the exhibition: social media mention, verbal acknowledgement during an artist’s talk, etc.

to apply

Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. Before applying, you must create or update your profile in Nova

Your application includes:

  • basic information about the exhibition
  • budget of eligible expenses
  • your answers to application questions
  • name of recommender you are applying to
  • artistic examples – images or video documentation of your work:
  • maximum of 8 images or 8 minutes of video
  • support documents:
  • résumé
  • letter/document confirming your exhibition (contract, letter of confirmation on letterhead, or email correspondence). This document be current (dated within two months prior to application) and must include:
  • exhibition start and end dates
  • name and contact information of exhibition organizer
  • location and address of exhibition venue

Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova. For help creating a profile or submitting an application in Nova, see the Nova User Guide.

about recommender grants

Recommenders are organizations authorized by OAC to receive applications, review them and make grant recommendations. OAC allocates a budget to each of the participating recommenders. Recommenders submit their grant recommendations to OAC, which are then reviewed by OAC for applicant and program eligibility. OAC then sends you an email letting you know that your notification letter is available online in Nova. 

See the Guide to Project Programs for more information about grant decisions, grant payments and what you need to do if you get a grant.

conflict of interest

Artists who have a conflict of interest with a particular recommender may not apply to that recommender. An artist is in a conflict of interest if they are:

  • an employee or board member of the recommender organization
  • a member of a committee or jury reviewing the Exhibition Assistance applications for the recommender
  • immediate family members of those described above

Recommenders cannot approve grants that will be paid back to them in any way.

how recommenders assess applications

Recommenders establish their own processes for assessing Exhibition Assistance applications and making grant recommendations. A jury, committee, curator or other staff may take on this role for the recommender. Recommenders base their funding recommendations on the quality of the artist’s work, OAC priority groups and other funding priorities they may establish.


Recommenders in zones 1 through 4 may recommend up to 40% of their Exhibition Assistance grant budget to artists exhibiting in their own program/gallery. Northern recommenders, in zones 5 and 6, may recommend up to 80%.

how to choose a recommender

For the Exhibition Assistance program, recommenders include public art galleries, artist-run centres and other community organizations throughout Ontario.

You must apply to a recommender located in the zone where you live. To find your zone, see:

You may also be eligible to apply to a specialized recommender. These recommenders can accept applications from artists in any zone. The link below will direct you to a searchable database of the recommenders for this program: