The Art Encounters program provides a select group of artists or makers assistance to offset the costs and pressure of participating in the Fair. Through this program, we provide an in-depth professional development opportunity in the form of mentorship sessions and group workshops that equip the selected artists with tools for success during the Fair.

At Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, we have established a rich tradition of launching successful careers and providing a highly accessible venue for artists and the public to meet face-to-face. For the past 59 years, we have aimed to remove barriers to the arts from the perspective of cost, approachability and by welcoming diverse artists and audiences.

Who is Eligible?

Every year, through our Art Encounters program we provide limited subsidized booth spaces, accessibility support, professional development and at times financial assistance (funding permitting) to visual artists and makers who are in OAC defined priority groups. We are currently accepting applications from the priority groups listed below. All artists are subject to the same selection process. It is possible that you may be accepted into the Fair, and not the Art Encounters Program due to limited program capacity.

  • Deaf artists and/or artists who identify as having a disability
  • Indigenous artists
  • Newcomer artists (less than 3 years in Canada)
  • Artists must be currently living in Canada to be eligible for the Art Encounters program

Artist Jieun-June Kim speaking with visitors in 2017

“I think the program is fantastic.  It is a leading example of how a world run by abled people can welcome and include us and allow us to exercise knowledge and build independence.” 
- 2019 Art Encounters Artist

“TOAF 2019 was outstanding! The Art Encounters Program provided the five of us with an incredible opportunity to put ourselves and our work ‘out there’ for the world to see, and buy.”
- 2019 Art Encounters Artist


1. Create an online artist profile or log in to your existing one on our website if you have applied to TOAF before.

2. Opt-in to the Art Encounters Program by checking one of the boxes.

3. Prepare and upload your images, brief artist statement and description of artworks (see Application Tips).

4. Complete the online application and submit payment by the deadline (2021 deadline March 18, 2021)

5. You will also need to provide a statement (500 words or less) addressing:

  • How will participating in Toronto Outdoor Art Fair be a valuable experience for you as an artist?
  • How will the Art Encounters program benefit you?

Please email this statement to after submitting payment.

We only accept complete applications once payment is fulfilled. Please read the Reproduction Policy for eligibility.

Early Bird Deadline:  March 11, 2021, 11:59 PM

Final Deadline: March 18, 2021, 11:59PM

Get Application Support

If you require an alternative application method, or have questions about application/eligibility please contact Ania Harmata at, 416 408 2754 (texts are welcome).

Thank You

The Lindy Green Family Foundation
Higgins Event Rentals, generously sponsors the booth rentals for our Art Encounters artists annually
Art Connections Program, City of Toronto Employment and Social Services
Ontario Arts Council, 2017 Art Encounters Program
& Thank you to our Individual Donors who support the program annually

Interested in supporting the Art Encounters Program?

Donate Now 


Covid-19 Safety Measures:

The TOAF team cares about the health and safety of our artists and the public we serve. We are hopeful to return to a smaller in-person, physically-distanced event by July 2021, following the safety guidelines provided by Toronto Public Health.

In the event that the in-person event is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Online Fair will continue regardless. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our dedicated community of patrons, community partners, and art lovers came together in 2020 to support the pilot Online Fair, creating a viable platform that we plan to build upon for 2021 and aid in artists’ financial recovery.

Learn More