Arts for Youth Award

Celebrating youth engagement through the arts

Deadline: Accepting nominations from September 13 - November 27, 2023 (for an award presentation in 2024)

About: The Toronto Arts Foundation Arts for Youth Award is a $20,000 cash prize, with finalists receiving $2,000 each. The award celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto’s youth through the arts. Established in 2007, the award is generously supported by Martha Burns, Jim Fleck and Sandra and Jim Pitblado. The Arts for Youth Award is presented every year at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • must have demonstrated an ongoing association with Toronto
  • must have contributed significantly to the arts and culture of Toronto
  • must be living at time of selection
  • may not nominate themselves for the award
  • are not eligible to nominate or receive Toronto Arts Foundation awards while serving as an executive board member or staff of Toronto Arts Foundation or Toronto Arts Council

Organizations and Collectives:

  • must be headquartered in Toronto and have a significant portion of its activity taking place in the city
  • must have contributed significantly to the arts and culture of Toronto

With the exception of the Newcomer Artist Award, no person or organization may be selected for more than one Toronto Arts Foundation award within any given year and no person or organization may receive the same Toronto Arts Foundation award twice. This does not preclude a recipient from being considered for a different Toronto Arts Foundation award in the future.

Full Eligibility Guidelines for 2024 Awards (PDF)

How to Nominate: To nominate an individual, a collective or organization for the Arts for Youth Award you must,

  • Visit the Toronto Arts Foundation Nomination portal
  • Register an account on the Toronto Arts Foundation Nomination portal or sign in to your existing account
  • Submit the nomination online, complete with supporting material


Along with the name of the individual or organization you are nominating, the nomination portal will ask for a biography, a nomination rationale, and accompanying support material in the form of visual, audio or text-based attachments.

Nominators can save their application at any time before submission by clicking ‘Save Draft’. Nominators can log-in and out of the Toronto Arts Foundation Nomination portal as many times as needed before clicking ‘Submit’.

* Please ensure you are on/ register through the Toronto Arts Foundation Nomination portal and not Toronto Arts Council’s TAC Grants Online.

Selection Procedure: An award panel of up to 10 assessors selected by the Award Manager will review nominations and  recommend a shortlist and a recipient for final approval by Toronto Arts Foundation’s Board of  Directors. Participants in each panel include practitioners of the arts, organizers, programmers,  producers, curators, critics, commentators and lay specialists. Panelists must have recognized  expertise, credibility, and experience along with a sense of history and perspective.

This award is presented in recognition of a body of creative accomplishment, rather than for specific works or achievements. In addition to specific requirements for each award, deliberations will be guided by the following assessment criteria: artistic strength and achievement; strength of the candidate’s artistic goals and objectives; contribution to the development of arts and culture in Toronto; and the candidate’s overall public impact including public engagement and animation.

Contact Info: For questions, please contact Hasanika Mediwake at hasanika[at]torontoarts[dot]org

Click here to see all of our awards. 


Read full bios of all 2023 Arts for Youth Award finalists 

Nia Centre for the Arts – a Toronto-based charitable organization that promotes and showcases art from Canada’s Black diaspora.

ONE MIC EDUCATORS – a multi-disciplinary arts education enterprise dedicated to engaging the disengaged through the arts.
Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT) – a company that performs repertoire and new work for Francophones and Francophiles.


Go to Finalists and Recipients to view bios of past Arts for Youth Award recipients, dating back to 2007.

2023: Nia Centre for the Arts
2022: Never Gallery Ready
2021: Paprika Festival
2020: JAYU
2019: Blank Canvas
2018: RISE Edutainment
2017: The Artists Mentoring Youth Project (The AMY Project)
2016: Young People's Theatre
2015: The Remix Project
2014: CUE
2013: Art Starts
2012: Supporting Our Youth (S.O.Y.)
2011: Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre
2010: Manifesto Community Projects
2009: Mammalian Diving Reflex
2008: SKETCH
2007: VIBE Arts (formerly Arts for Children and Youth)