Toronto Arts Foundation Partners With RBC To Support the City’s Best Newcomer Artists & Arts Equity

In February of 2015, Toronto Arts Foundation announced its partnership with RBC Foundation to build on the potential of newcomer artists and break down the barriers they face when it comes to arts access. Toronto Arts Foundation launched the RBC Newcomer Artist Spotlight program, designed to connect and inspire the City’s best newcomer artists, who are Toronto’s new generation of cultural leaders and innovators.

“RBC has a longstanding commitment to the arts, and to be able to partner with Toronto Arts Foundation to provide this opportunity for newcomer artists is a privilege,” said Gayle Corcoran, Director, Community and Cultural Marketing, RBC. “Newcomers to Canada see unique challenges settling into their new communities, and this provides them with the funding to pursue an artistic outlet they might not otherwise have.”

The RBC Newcomer Artist Spotlight is made up of two components:

1) RBC Arts Access Fund: micro awards of up to $1,500 for newcomer artists looking to jump-start their art projects. The awards are administered by the Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network. These awards are tied to actual project needs, ranging from art supplies to space rental for an event. There have been two rounds of recipients so far this year, with a third and final round of applications to be announced in October. Applications for the RBC Arts Access Fund can be found at

2) Let’s Talk Art: A series of four events called Let’s Talk Art brought together acclaimed professional artists, arts leaders, funders and creative business experts to lead professional development workshops for newcomer artists. Facilitated by the Neighbourhood Arts Network, each round table workshop session gave newcomer artists access to the gatekeepers of the Toronto arts sector, an opportunity to increase their capacity and understand how to navigate the arts in Toronto.

"Using the business model canvas helped me think hard about my unique proposition value and got me thinking of how I can differentiate myself from other artists within the same discipline.” – Let’s Talk Art participant

Why was this program created?

In 2013, Toronto Arts Foundation released a study of the impact of arts at a neighbourhood level. The study revealed that newcomer artists face difficulties finding work and making connections in their new home. As artists they must also learn how arts funding works, discover how to speak about their arts practice in a Canadian context, figure out presentation opportunities, and find enough time for their arts practice while dealing with settlement issues. In response to this, the Foundation created its Newcomer Artist Award. This award celebrates a newcomer professional artist living in the City of Toronto who is making a positive impact on their community. The RBC Newcomer Artist Spotlight expands on the outreach of the Newcomer Artist Award into the newcomer artist community by providing further support through workshops and micro-grants.