TOArtist COVID Response Fund Closes

Toronto Arts Foundation continues to respond to artist and public need

TORONTO, May 12, 2020 – Today, Toronto Arts Foundation announces the successful conclusion of the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund.  Since its launch on March 26, 2020, the Fund provided $836,347 to assist 982 Toronto artists who had lost income due to COVID-19 cancellations. Hundreds of individual Canadians, foundations and corporate partners stepped up in support of Toronto’s affected artists with a collective contribution of $386,347 to add to the Fund’s starting amount of $450,000.
The TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund was created by Toronto Arts Foundation in partnership with Toronto Arts Council to provide immediate support to artists who demonstrated a loss of income following a City wide closure of arts venues.

100% of eligible artists who applied to the Fund with cancelled contracts have received support. Equally 100% of Fund donations have gone into the hands of artists.

“Torontonians should be proud of stepping up to this challenge; thank you for this timely support of our city’s artists. It is inspiring and heartwarming,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Foundation. “I’d also like to thank our Board and team at Toronto Arts Foundation for their commitment, and our staff at Toronto Arts Council who reviewed over 1,200 applications, enabling funds to reach artists with unprecedented speed." 

With the completion of the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund, Toronto Arts Foundation has turned its attention to other needs of Toronto's artists and arts organizations in these challenging times.

A suite of initiatives, designed in concert with arts organizations and civic minded partners, are being launched to help with mitigation, resilience and recovery. These include:

Two research projects with Ryerson University and other partners will mobilize industry survey data and expert insights to build practical support for arts organizations as they navigate through the pandemic:

  • #lights-on brings together key stakeholders and thought leaders in the live entertainment sector to make sense of the current crisis, synthesize fragmented impact studies, co-create knowledge and support the sector as it begins to envision the future.
  • Cue to Cue will design and test new operational practices for back of house operations in theatres and create new guidelines for occupational and public health standards. 

Knowledge sharing workshops

  • A series of free, online professional development board governance workshops are offered for arts boards confronting this pandemic. Registration is through Creative Champions Network

Online showcase 

  • #TOArtsTogether is an ongoing, social media  showcase of innovative offerings by artists, including TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund recipients, and can be viewed on Instagram Stories 
  • From May 18-22, 2020, Neighbourhood Arts Network and partners will celebrate newcomer artists by offering a virtual showcase of their art, and host online talks about art and migration. 


  • In partnership with North York Arts, Neighbourhood Arts Network has launched a Mentor-in-Residence program featuring one-on-one online meetings with industry leaders and artists to support the redesign of artistic programs.

Toronto Arts Foundation welcomes contributions to all its COVID-19 response initiatives. More important announcements to come.



About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city, through private sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

Contact information:
For more information, please contact
Donations: Leslie Francombe, Philanthropy & Sponsorship Manager:
Research: Shawn Newman, Research & Impact Manager:
Interviews: Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager: