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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

July 12 – 14, 2024.

About Art Encounters

Art Encounters is TOAF’s dedicated access and outreach program, empowering artists since 2016. The program goal is to actively create inclusive spaces and ensure equitable access to career-launching opportunities, the Fair’s income-generation platform, and Awards Program. With Art Encounters, we aim to uplift and amplify the voices of artists from priority groups as defined by the Ontario Arts Council, focusing on the representation of individual Indigenous artists and supporting Deaf artists, artists with disabilities, and Newcomer artists. 

Some artists face challenges participating in the Fair due to physical, financial, or community-based barriers. With Art Encounters, we aim to alleviate the ongoing struggle for inclusion that underrepresented artists often take on themselves. 

Every year, we partner with leading arts organizations and communities representing artists in priority groups to invite meaningful connections and authentic representations of diverse artistic expressions.

What Does Art Encounters Provide?

Participating artists are provided with professional development opportunities, 1-on-1 mentorships, valuable networking connections, accessibility support when needed, and a free presentation platform both online and in-person. Additionally, artists are provided honorariums for exhibiting at the Fair when funding is available.

Eligible Artists

Indigenous artists (Inuit, First Nations and Métis)
Newcomer artists (less than 3 years in Canada)  
Deaf artists 
Disability-identified artists

How to Apply

Interested artists can apply to TOAF’s annual Call for Artists, open annually from December until March. During the application process, artists self-identify and express their interest and intention to apply to the Art Encounters program.

A diverse panel of multidisciplinary jury members selects program participants. For more information on how to apply to Art Encounters, please email [email protected].

*It is possible that you may be accepted into the Fair, and not the Art Encounters Program due to limited program capacity. Artists must be currently living in Canada and intend to apply for in-person Fair to be eligible for the Art Encounters program.

Hear from the artists…

“Toronto Outdoor Art Fair’s unique Art Encounters program took me under their wings, not only has it allowed me to develop my confidence with interacting with the audience and making sales, it also made me feel included in the larger part of the world.” 

 Peter Owusu-Ansah, Art Encounters Artist

“Being part of the Art Encounters Program helped ensure that I didn’t fall through any administrative gaps in transitioning to an online platform. It was helpful to have someone reviewing my materials and profile to send feedback and actionable steps that I could take to ensure my success.”

Carrie Perreault, Art Encounters Artist

Thank You

The support for the program is led by the Lindy Green Family Foundation, the inaugural supporter of this initiative, TD Bank Group, Higgins Event Rentals and individual donors.

Interested in supporting the Art Encounters Program?

Funders & Sponsors

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