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First Steps: A new opportunity for artists looking to gain experience teaching in schools and communities

The Ontario Arts Council has introduced a new component into the Artists in Education and Aboriginal Artists in Schools programs: the First Steps category.

About First Steps:

  • It is a set grant amount of $350
  • It supports a 5-hour workshop in a school or community setting
  • 1 hour can be used for preparation
  • You can teach on your own or with a partner

This grant allows artists who have less experience teaching to:

  • Test out a lesson plan
  • Gain experience
  • Begin to build a relationship with a school or community organization
  • Get feedback on their teaching
  • Get a reference letter or evaluation that can be used to support future proposals and as evidence of experience
  • Document their teaching and/or learners’ work audio-visually to be used in future proposals and as an example for community and school personnel

Who can apply:

This opportunity is open to individuals who identify with one or more of OAC’s priority groups (definitions below):

  • Aboriginal artists,
  • regional artists located outside Toronto,
  • artists of colour,
  • Deaf artists and artists with disabilities,
  • francophone artists, OR
  • new generation artists (18-30 years old)

You are eligible to apply if you have not received an OAC grant for arts education activity in the past. Call us to check if you aren’t sure.

How to apply:

  • The deadline is January 15, 2016
  • Download the Artists in Education or Aboriginal Artists in Schools guidelines and the application form for the “First Steps” category
  • What’s needed?
    • Examples of your artistic work
    • Summary of your workshop
    • Sample lesson plan
    • Your CV or résumé
    • and 2 questions

For more information

Christina Akrong
Associate Arts Education Officer
647-258-5075 toll free 1-800-387-0058 ext. 5075

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2014-2015, OAC funded 1,709 individual artists and 1,078 organizations in 204 Ontario communities, for a total of $52.1 million.


  • Aboriginal means Status and Non-Status, Métis and Inuit people.
  • Region means outside Toronto. Toronto postal codes begin with M.
  • OAC’s definition of the term artists of colour is based on the Government of Canada’s definition of “visible minorities,” which is “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”
  • OAC’s definition of Deaf artists or artists with disabilities includes people who have physical, mental or learning conditions with long-term, temporary or varying effects that may be apparent or not.
  • Francophone is based on the Government of Ontario’s Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF) which includes “those persons whose mother tongue is French, plus those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home.”

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