Community Arts Award

Celebrating the vital contributions that artists and organizations make in Toronto’s communities

A photo of the 2017 TD Diversity Arts Award recipient. Onlookers are applauding.

Deadline: Accepting nominations from September 4 - November 18, 2024 (for an award presentation in 2025)  

About: The Toronto Arts Foundation Community Arts Award is a $10,000 cash prize, with finalists receiving $1,000 each. The award celebrates an individual artist or arts organization or collective that has made a significant contribution in Toronto by working with, in and for communities, while increasing access to arts and culture. Established in 2013 as the Diversity Award, it was renamed the Community Arts Award in 2018. The recipient and finalist awards are generously sponsored by MOD Developments Inc. Award eligibility rotates from individuals to organizations or collectives in alternating prize years. In 2024, the award will be presented to an individual. The Community Arts Award is presented every year at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the award, all nominees must demonstrate a commitment and/or focus on community-engaged arts and access to arts and culture in Toronto. The nominee may not be awarded more than one Toronto Arts Foundation award within any given year.

In addition, the nominee (for individuals) must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident 
  • Be a Toronto-based professional artist 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to or focus on community-engaged arts
  • May only receive the award once (this does not preclude a recipient from being considered for a different Toronto Arts Foundation award in the future)
  • Not be serving as board or committee members of the Toronto Arts Foundation or Toronto Arts Council
  • (Nominees are welcome to nominate themselves)

In addition, the nominee (the award will be presented next to organizations and collectives in 2025):

  • Must be a Toronto-based organization/collective that has been in operation for one year or more
  • Must have demonstrated a commitment to or focus on community-engaged arts
  • Are only eligible to receive this award once

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 Apply: To nominate yourself (self-nominations are accepted for this award) or an individual, collective or organization for the Community Arts 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 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 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 Jaclyn Rodrigues at jaclyn[at]torontoarts[dot]org.


Read full bios of all 2024 Community Arts Awards finalists.  

Anthony Gebrehiwot 
- photographer, digital artist, community leader, arts educator, arts mentor

Sid Jackson
- community engaged artist, member of Red Wagon Collective & the Monday Art Group (MAG)
Ashley McKenzie-Barnes - creative director, curator and founder of D.PE Agency


Go to Past Recipients to view bios of past Community Arts Award recipients, dating back to 2013.

2023: R.I.S.E. Edutainment 
2021: Naty Tremblay
2020: Jamii
2019: Colette "Miss Coco" Murray
2018: UrbanArts
2017: Syrus Marcus Ware
2016: Regent Park Film Festival
2013: Mammalian Diving Reflex


Read full bios of all 2023 Breakthrough Artist Award finalists.  

Jorian Charlton – 
Portraiture photographer, focusing on Jamaican-Canadian culture through personal and community experiences.
Rammah Mohammad – Singer, songwriter, performer, and vocal coach.
Oluseye Ogunlesi – Nigerian Canadian multidisciplnary artist.