Arts Access Fund

The Arts Access Fund provides opportunities for arts engagement to children and youth, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue creative exploration and artistic excellence under the guidance of professional artists.

Our Impact Why We Exist

The Arts Access Fund aims to give as many children and youth as possible, access to high quality arts experiences. Research shows that it makes a significant difference to the success and well-being of a child to have these experiences. 

The benefits to children and youth are multiple:

  • Improves academic performance
  • Fosters a collaborative spirit
  • Gives children self-confidence
  • Provides them with strategies for solving problems creatively
  • Instills life skills, including grit, the ability to stick with a project regardless of ups and downs

The young people supported by this fund are not only developing their natural creative abilities, they are also learning the life skills associated with seriously pursuing one of the arts. They are learning about passion, commitment, persistence, listening well and being accountable. Students gain the ability to take initiative. They learn to recognize their own unique gifts and they come to make a habit of striving excellence in all areas of their life including the arts.

Our Story What We Do

The Arts Access Fund, established in 2008, is a registered charitable organization that partners with arts institutions around the city of Toronto in order to offer scholarships to children and youth who have the interest, but not the means, to develop their creative and artistic skills under the guidance of professional artists.

Our Programs How We Do It

Scholarships will be given to children and youth who demonstrate an interest in one of the arts as well as financial need.  Scholarships are offered in visual arts, drama, music and dance. The scholarship students will have the opportunity to study with one of our current partners:

  • Art Works Art School
  • Artist's Play
  • Avenue Road Arts School
  • Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts
  • Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre
  • Centauri Arts Academy
  • Children & Youth Dance Theatre
  • Jade's Hip Hop Academy
  • Joy of Dance
  • Kingsway Conservatory of Music
  • Midtown School of Music
  • Sistema Toronto
  • The School of Toronto Dance Theatre
  • Toronto Children's Chorus
  • Toronto School for Strings and Piano

Students are recommended to AAF by social service agencies, principals, teachers and our partners.

Once a student is enrolled in a class he/she will be invited to continue their studies on a year by year basis providing they demonstrate a commitment to their work. Partner institutions are required to report to AAF twice a year on the progress and attendance of students. AAF administers the scholarships to each of the participating institutions. All funding from AAF is subject to a 15% administrative fee payable by the participating institution.

In order to measure success:

  • AAF measures the return rate of scholarship students and find out from them how they think that studying one of the arts has been beneficial to them.
  • AAF uses longer term assessment to see if these students go on to a post-secondary institution, and explore with the families if this achievement was, in some way, connected with the student's desire to pursue excellence, fostered in their art classes.  
  • Students and artist instructors measure the artistic and affective results of the student's activities through a number of evaluation tools, including self-assessment, narrative and artistic growth.

Toronto's Vital Signs indicator(s) addressed by the program

Learning in the arts builds skills required for success in school and beyond—critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and communication. (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2014)

Toronto's Vital Signs issue area(s) addressed by the program:

Arts & Culture, Leadership and Belonging

What You Can Do

A donation of:

  • Friend ($25-$99) Friends provide 1 workshop
  • Supporter ($100-$249) Supporters provide 1 class per week for half of a term
  • Patron ($250-$499) Patrons provide 1 class per week for a full term
  • Benefactor ($500-$999) Benefactors provide 1 class per week for 2 terms
  • Angel ($1000+) Angels provide 1 class per week for an entire year

Donate to celebrate:

The Arts Access Fund provides a charitable alternative to traditional gift giving.  All funds go towards providing scholarships to students in need. Please consider making a donation in celebration for a friend or family member's special occasion.


Ritu Bhardwaj
Executive Director
416.961.1502 x303
Charitable Number: 836860726RR0001

Finance & Governance