Newcomer Artist Award

Recognizing extraordinary newcomer artists

A photo of the 2017 RBC Arts Access recipients.

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

About: The Toronto Arts Foundation Newcomer Artist Award provides micro-awards of $2,500 to six newcomer (immigrant and refugee) artists. The award aids the integration of newcomer artists into Toronto and Canada by supporting their artistic careers. Newcomer artists living across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and working in a range of disciplines are eligible for the award. The Newcomer Artist Award is presented every year on or around Toronto Newcomer Day. The award is part of the Foundation’s Newcomer Spotlight Program, generously sponsored by RBC Foundation.

Eligibility Criteria
Nominees for the Newcomer Artist Award:

  • must be an artist who has lived in Canada for 7 years or less
  • must be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, Approved Refugee Claimant (i.e. Protected Person) or have applications for permanent residency or citizenship pending
  • must be over 18 years old
  • must be a resident of the City of Toronto OR Halton, Peel, York, Durham municipalities
  • must not have received this award in 2022
  • may self-nominate
  • are not eligible to nominate or receive Toronto Arts Foundation awards while serving as executive board member or staff of Toronto Arts Foundation or Toronto Arts Council

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 Award (PDF)

How to Apply: To nominate yourself (self-nominations are accepted for this award) or an individual for the Newcomer Artist 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 you are nominating, the nomination form will also 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 5 Assessors selected by the Award Manager will review nominations and recommend the selected recipients for final approval by Toronto Arts Foundation.  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 familiarity of the newcomer experience.

Assessment Criteria

Deliberations will be guided by the following assessment criteria:

  • meeting eligibility requirements as detailed above.
  • artistic strength and/or future potential of the artist
  • demonstration of the impact on the artist’s current artistic practice
  • contribution to the development of arts and culture in Toronto.

Contact Info: For questions, please contact Jaclyn Rodrigues at jaclyn[at]torontoarts[dot]org.


Read full bios of all 2024 Newcomer Artist Award.  


Mahsa Alikhani - photographer, installation artist

Gaby Al Botros - classical guitarist, music composer, conductor, music arranger, educator

Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto - writer, director

Jelica Mijanović - guitarist

Leandro Matos - writer

Niloufar Ziaee - filmmaker, multidisciplinary artist