OAF News

Announcing the Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship

Toronto, December 12, 2022 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is pleased to announce the launch of the Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship, supporting arts managers.

Arts managers are responsible for the administrative, financial, and overall health of arts organizations. They are passionate and committed to their work, but often have little opportunity to explore, think and develop their expertise and new ideas. The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship will provide $10,000 annually to an arts manager of a small to mid-sized Toronto arts organization to encourage the development of the field of arts management, including organizational experimentation and effective governance through professional development, research, networking and sharing.

Honouring Jini Stolk 

A true champion of the arts, Jini Stolk’s impact on the arts community in Toronto was far-reaching, first as general manager of Open Studio, and later as associate director of the Association of Canadian Publishers. She also held executive positions with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Toronto Dance Theatre, and the Creative Trust, where she raised and distributed more than six million dollars to support the sustainability of over 50 small and medium sized performing arts organizations. In retirement, under the auspices of Toronto Arts Foundation, she established Creative Champions Network, a networking and learning program for arts board members. 

Jini served on many boards. She was the Chair of Artscape, an early tenant board member of the Centre for Social Innovation and a founding member and the first Chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, among others.  At her death she was the Chair of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

Jini believed that the best way to ensure the creation of artistic work was to nurture healthy structures and organizations. She dedicated her career to supporting this often un-heralded behind-the-scenes work of arts administrators. She had a love for learning and excelled at establishing and maintaining networks. She thought critically about things and often challenged and reimagined current systems. Through her work she provided mentorship, opportunity, and access.  

Photo: Jini Stolk speaking at a Creative Champions Network event. Photo by Sean Howard, courtesy of Toronto Arts Foundation

Nomination and Selection Process

The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship will be open to arts managers nominated by the arts organizations that employ them.  One fellowship will be offered annually.  Nominees must provide a 250-word letter of intent, a budget, and be accompanied by a one-page nomination letter from either the Chair or President of the Board of Directors, or Artistic Director of the nominee’s organization.

Areas of interest for exploration can include but is not limited to: 

  • governance;
  • the field of arts management;
  • organizational sustainability / sustainable practices / healthy organizations;
  • new or adapted models of working / systems change / moving organizations forward;
  • navigating the complexities of your work;
  • co-leadership working models (for example, between the artistic director and executive manager);
  • succession planning or phasing out an organization;
  • policy making; and
  • advocacy.

More information on the nomination process will be posted in 2023. 

The Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship Fund has been made possible through the generous support of Sandra and Jim Pitblado, and Tim and Frances Price.  Donations to the fund can be made to the Ontario Arts Foundation https://www.oafdn.ca/make-a-donation.  The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the fellowship. 


 For more information, please contact:

Jini Stolk Creative Fellowship Committee

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022 the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

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Announcing the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant

Toronto, November 28, 2022 -  The Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) are delighted to announce the launch of the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant, recognizing advances in theatrical design and the promotion of environmental sustainability in live theatre. 

Toronto based theatre companies are eligible to apply for this annual $25,000 grant early next year by submitting a proposal demonstrating improved sustainability practices for an upcoming production. Advances can be considered, but not limited to, the creation of unique methods of delivering a narrative in live theatre; the development of new and sustainable processes in the construction and striking of a live theatre production; and transforming non-traditional or underused spaces into theatrical venues.

About Ray Ferris

This grant is made possible through a generous gift from the estate of Raymond M. Ferris, Toronto artist, mathematician, and statistician.  Ray earned a Master of Science degree and early in his career and was on the team of NASA rocket scientists responsible for the successful return of the astronauts from the moon landing. In the mid-1980s, Ray started his own business in Toronto, R.M. Ferris Research Consultants. With advances in technology, he began experimenting with digital art and developed techniques to integrate his love for art, mathematics and computer technology and he collaborated with local musicians, combining art forms. Ray loved the theatre and was an enthusiastic supporter of Toronto's scene. 

“As a mathematician, visual artist, and lifelong fan of live theatre, Ray hoped to champion innovators of the stage, especially the designers,” says Ray’s spouse Leah Lambert.  “I'm confident that the Ray Ferris Innovation and Sustainability Grant will see that hope fulfilled.”

Application and Selection Process

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is responsible for the selection process and will convene a jury to review applications and make deliberations.  

The grant will be open to application in the spring of 2023 with the inaugural grant made in June 2023.  For more information visit :  https://tapa.ca/programs/funding/ray-ferris-grant/

Successful grant recipients will provide a written report following the conclusion of their production, detailing how the grant was used to further sustainability practice in the performing arts, elaborating on elements that worked well and others that require additional consideration. The report will be presented to the TAPA membership with goal of building upon best practices in the industry. 

Grant Assessment Committee 

Indrit Kasapi (CHAIR) - Artistic Producer, Theatre Passe Muraille, TAPA Board member 
Anthony Garoufalis-Auger - The Climate Emergency Unit, SCALE- Le SAUT Mission Circle 
Denyse Karn – Executive Director, Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) 
Shawn Kerwin – Independent Stage and Costume Designer 
Jacoba Knaapen – Executive Director, TAPA 
Lisa Lambert – Estate of Raymond M. Ferris


 For more information, please contact:

Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA)
Tel: (416) 536-6468 x25

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

To nurture an environment in which theatre, dance and opera may flourish and play a leadership role in the vitality of the City of Toronto. The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA): unites the disciplines of theatre, dance, and opera to celebrate and strengthen the performing arts in Toronto; promotes and advocates on behalf of a large and diverse membership of professional performing arts practitioners to legislators, public and private sector funding bodies, and to the general public; and provides marketing opportunities and professional development services to its membership.

Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022 the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

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2022 Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program Grants Announced

Toronto, November 24, 2022 - The Ontario Arts Foundation and The Gordon Foundation are pleased to announce the 2022 grants from the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program:

Acquisition Grants

Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington $15,000

Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton $18,000

Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo $6,000

Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Scarborough $4,900

Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa $6,000

Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay $18,000

Woodstock Art Gallery, Woodstock  $2,200

Development Grants

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston $10,000

Art Gallery of York University, Toronto $7,000

Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto $7,900

Regalia Mukwa, by Michel Dumont, large-scale mosaic sculpture, to be acquired by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery

“The quality of the proposals received this year was very high,” states Bruce Bennett, Executive Director of the Ontario Arts Foundation.  “The Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program provides much needed resources to support acquisitions for public gallery collections and provides payment for the artists they represent.  Community connections made through grants to development projects also continues to have real impact and value.”  

This year the program saw an increase in funds available, now doubling the total granting budget from $45,000 to $95,000 annually.  Since the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program was renewed in 2014 a total of $455,000 in grants have been made to public galleries and museums across Ontario.

Acquisition grants assist galleries and museums with the acquisition of Canadian works of art for their permanent collection.  Development grants support initiatives that increase the public’s knowledge of collecting or a gallery or museum’s permanent collection, and help make a gallery or museum’s permanent collection more accessible to the public.

The grant decisions were made by an Ontario Arts Council jury made up of arts professionals with broad knowledge and experience of public gallery activities in Ontario. The 2022 jury members were Anong Beam (M'Chigeeng); Shirley Madill (Hamilton); and Yan Wu (Toronto).

The Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program aims to foster a broader appreciation of Canadian visual art and artists by assisting public art galleries and museums in Ontario to grow their permanent collections, and support community engagement between a gallery or museum and its local community.

For information, please contact:
Bruce Bennett, Executive Director

416-969-7413 | bbennett@oafdn.ca


Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022, the OAF paid out over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

The Gordon Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to protecting Canada's water and empowering Canada's North. The Foundation seeks opportunities to amplify underrepresented voices, elevate emerging issues, and collaborate with like-minded organizations to drive powerful, sustainable outcomes.


About Elizabeth L. Gordon
Elizabeth L. Gordon
a founder of The Gordon Foundation, held a lifelong interest in art, history, and culture. Her passions, in addition to friends and family, included art, museums – for showing and sharing art – and the public value of good design.  Her contribution to The Gordon Foundation was to insist on grants for the arts. For many years, she volunteered regularly with the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario), taking great interest in stimulating Gallery membership. Through The Gordon Foundation, Elizabeth Gordon encouraged emerging art galleries and museums across Ontario by providing grants to enable them to purchase original works of art. To honour her, the Foundation established the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program, providing an enduring memory of Mrs. Gordon’s patronage and appreciation of Canadian art.

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