OAF News

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.

 Ce document existe ègalement en français.

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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Composer Afarin Mansouri is awarded the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award

Toronto, October 24, 2022 -  Afarin Mansouri (Toronto) is the recipient of this year’s $10,000 Kathleen McMorrow Music Award. The award recognizes the composition and presentation of contemporary classical music by Ontario composers. This award is in support of Mansouri’s new opera Zuleykha, which is sung in the Farsi language and features traditional Eastern music within the European operatic tradition.  The opera was commissioned by Loose Tea Music Theatre and premiered this past summer at the Toronto Summer Music Festival.  

About Afarin Mansouri

Dr. Afarin Mansouri is an award-winning composer and musicologist whose works have been performed in Canada, the United States, England, Iran, and South America. Afarin has collaborated with various organizations and festivals such as Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Tapestry Opera, Queen’s University, Willard Laurier University, Tirgan Festival, Toronto Nuit Blanche, and the YOU Dance program at the National Ballet of Canada.

In the past few years Afarin has devoted her compositional career to producing operas including, The Journey, Notes of Hope: Saffronic; Forbidden; Queen of Swords; Lullaby at the Shore; Morning Prayers, and more recently Zuleykha.  In September 2022, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed Afarin’s celebration prelude Mithra which was dedicated to the Iranian women who are fighting for their freedom.

Afarin received a PhD in music from York University in 2019 with her research focusing on the topic of children’s opera, its history, and effects on the development of intellectual skills. As an educator and researcher, Afarin has presented various research papers, lectures, and opera workshops on national and international level. She is the founder and director of Music Nest (www.musicnest.org) which has developed new methods of combining storytelling and music pedagogy.

Zuleykha Trailer, May 2021 at the Watershed Music Festival
opera by Afarin Mansouri, directed, filmed, and edited by Alaina Viau
Cultureland in partnership with Loose Tea Music Theatre

About the Award
The Kathleen McMorrow Music Award was established in 2015. Kathleen McMorrow headed the Music Library at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music from 1974 to 2013. She established the award to recognize and encourage the composition and presentation of Canadian contemporary classical music.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Ontario Arts Council is responsible for the selection process. The award recipient is selected from the applicants to the Ontario Arts Council Music Creation Projects program deadlines.

Previous award winners include Suad Bushnaq (2021), Parisa Sabet (2020), and Jordan Pal (2019).


 For more information, please contact:

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.

For more than 55 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2021-2022 the Ontario Arts Council invested $56.4 million in 237 communities across Ontario through 2,665 grants to individual artists and 1,050 grants to organizations. 

 Ce document existe ègalement en français.

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