Five Art-based Grants For Young People

by Michael Nguyen
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Grant writing and proposal are known to be tedious, time and energy consuming, not to mention the difficulty for young people who are applying for their first grant. Fortunately, there are micro-grants available for young people to start off small and work their way up to bigger grants. The bigger the grants, the more information and writing you will need to be included in the grant proposal.

Many problems such as unemployment, poverty and marginalization exist in many underprivileged neighborhoods and communities across the city of Toronto. One of the attempts to address this issue is in the form of grants to fund community projects and programs. These community grants often go to young leaders in the community who have experienced the issue and want to take initiative in making a change in their communities. The funding and support are often from private funders, non-profit organizations and the city of Toronto. Below are five grants (micro-grants to big grants) for artists looking to kick start their community projects.

BMO Seed Fund – $1,000

Neighbourhood Arts Network BMO Seed Fund supports individual artists over the age of 18 by providing six $1,000 prizes to unique and creative community projects that aim to create a positive impact in Toronto’s neighbourhoods. Proceeding from one week of announcing the top ten finalists that are selected by four local judges and another week of promotion of the top ten finalists on Facebook gives the public an opportunity to vote for their favourite art projects. Only six finalists with the most votes are awarded with the $1,000 prize.

BMO Seed Fund  - Art Based Grants

Photo courtesy of Neighbourhood Art Network

CUE Grant – $1,000

CUE supports new generation underground artists living in the margins by providing them a financial fund of up to $1,000 for their art projects. Prior to applying for the grant, CUE offers consultation and feedback on the artist’s art project. In addition, it offers a mentorship workshop on how to write a grant proposal and viable budget. Artists who previously received a grant from CUE cannot apply again next year, but having received a micro-grant can lead to bigger grants. Since a CUE grant is a micro-grant, it is the perfect grant for artists who are applying for the first time at an entry-level. There are a lot of bright and talented young artists living in marginal communities, and Cue gives them the opportunity to shine.

Cue Art Projects - Art Based Grants

Photo courtesy of Cue Art Projects

Laidlaw – Small Seed Grants: $1,000-$5,000, Project Grants : up to $25,000

Laidlaw funds youth-led groups of at least three members from the ages of 15-29 who are committed to working together towards making social justice and positive change a reality in their communities.

Laidlaw - Art Based Grants

Photo courtesy of Laidlaw Foundation

Youth Action Grants – $2,500

In 2013, Toronto Community Housing created a Youth Action Grant to fund youth and their creative ideas and projects that have the potential to improve their communities. Last year, TCH awarded $10,000 to the top three projects to those who are determined to make a positive impact in their communities, and $1,000 awarded to 50 youth residents with the initiative to create change in their communities.

Fresh Print -  Art Based Grants

Photo courtesy of

ArtReach Toronto– Pilot Projects: $5,000, $10,000: One Phase Projects, $15,000 Two Phase Projects

ArtReach Toronto - Fresh Print Magazine

Photo courtesy of Art Reach Toronto

ArtReach funds and supports art-based projects that engage youth (13-29) living in underserved neighbourhoods in Toronto. Individual artists, collectives, youth-led groups and non-profit organizations that are funded with this grant must aim to work together with the youth to create social change in the community. ArtReach also offers free monthly grant writing workshops and toolkits.

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