The Akin Studio Program is a unique and publicly open opportunity for art practitioners, curators and writers (hereafter referred to as artists) to lease shared studio space within The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (MOCA) at 158 Sterling Road in Toronto. In addition to a one year studio space rental, selected artists will be immersed within a community of peers, offering various opportunities for engagement. Studio members will be encouraged to develop and expand their individual practices while playing a role in the artistic community within the museum itself.

Studio Rental Program Start Date: October 1, 2019.
Studio Rental Program End Date: September 31, 2020.

Submission Details

Deadline to apply: March 31, 2019, 5:00pm.

Application Criteria, Artist Expectations and Opportunities

Applicants should consider the unique shared studio environment within the museum in which Akin’s Studio Program occurs. Certain processes and forms of production, materials and hardware are not well suited to this context (specifically use of aerosols, open flames, ceramics and clay work, kilns, flash photography, and creation of dust or substantial noise). Please ensure that your process is a good fit before applying, and contact us if unsure.

While the focus for selected artists will be to use their studio spaces for independent practice, research and development, this is an inclusive, shared studio environment where artists will benefit from insight provided by not only their studio peers, but also by guest curators, artists and art professionals. Selected artists will receive free Engage-level MOCA memberships. Selected artists agree to participate in three public open studio days, organized in collaboration with the museum, during the course of their year-long program (dates to be determined). In addition there will be occasional scheduled visits and tours from related groups and organizations. Please note that selected artists from the 2018-2019 cohort will not be considered for the 2019-2020 Program, so that this opportunity can be shared to a larger group of artists.

Application Process

Within one single PDF document, applicants are asked to provide the following:

Phone Number:
Website if available:
Link to art-focused social media profile if available:

  1. A brief artist statement and biography. (250 words max)

  2. Supporting documentation of up to 10 images of work and installation shots, including relevant caption information (title, medium, date, dimension). In the case of curators or art writers, please include two sample texts or appropriate work examples in addition to up to 5 related images if applicable. As noted above, please embed images and all application information into one PDF document.

  3. A written statement considering the following questions:

How do you feel your experience and practice will help cultivate and contribute to a vibrant, equitable and diverse artistic community in our shared studio space environment within MOCA?

How will you use your rented space, and how do you feel this opportunity will benefit and support your artistic practice at this time in your career?

The studios are flanked by a large open-studio where MOCA develops and hosts workshops, talks and other programming that focuses on socially engaged artistic and interdisciplinary practices. Do you see your practice aligning with these concerns and interests and if so, please describe how? (300 words max)

  1. CV or relatable artistic experience.

  2. Can you commit to the entire program period from October 1, 2019 to September 31, 2020? If not, what duration (necessarily beginning October 1, 2019) can you commit to? Please note that, if necessary, selected artists can relinquish their studio space by way of providing at least one full calendar month notice.

  3. Optional: Should you desire to, please identify if you are a member of one the Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Priority Groups detailed in the Selection Process information below.

  4. Below are examples of sizes and prices of Akin's studios. Please rank the sizes of studios that you would consider renting, beginning with your ideal size. If your application is successful we will do our best to match you with a space that is as close to your preference as possible.

25sf - $165/mth
50sf - $258/mth
60sf - $299/mth
80sf - $371/mth
105sf - $448/mth
120sf - $494/mth
150sf - $561/mth
210sf - $711/mth
250sf - $803/mth
500sf - $1365/mth

All prices include rent for the selected artists’ specific dedicated workspace within the studios, 24/7 access to the studios, taxes, insurance, WiFi, access to a communal working area as well as shared storage, kitchen, and bathroom. There are no additional fees, though there will be a rent increase (of between 1% and 4%) in January 2020. Upon selection, artists will be required to pay a non refundable last month's rent deposit in order to confirm their placement within the program. First month’s rent will be due by June 15, 2019. Please note that pricing is the same as at other Akin studio locations.

It should be mentioned that not all studio spaces include a structural wall, though all spaces will have at least one ¾” thick white plywood partition wall. Selected artists will be solely responsible for outfitting their studio spaces; Akin will provide furniture only for the communal areas of the studio. Please look at photos of the studios, especially if you have not had a chance to visit Akin’s studios at MOCA in person.

*Selected applicants must be available to begin their rental on October 1, 2019.

Accessibility Information

Within the building, there is elevator access to all floors as well as AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliant washrooms. 

The Museum ground floor has three accessible entries:

East Vestibule, MOCA – operation-assisted doors to a ramp to an automatic sliding door to the main lobby.

West Vestibule, MOCA – operation-assisted doors from grade directly to the lobby.

West Vestibule, Base Building – operation-assisted doors directly to the elevators to all floors.

The doorways into Akin’s studios are 36” wide and are not operation-assisted.

The kitchenette is AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliant.

Submission Format

Email application document to with the subject line: Akin Studio Program 2019 Application // [last name]. Please ensure that the total file size of your PDF is 10mb or smaller.

Deadline for applications: March 31, 2019, 5:00pm.

Selection Process

An impartial jury comprised of local artists, curators and arts professionals will select artists and creatives based on their submitted material, anticipated benefit from the program, anticipated contribution to the studio environment, and practical considerations regarding their proposed use of the rented studio space.

Selected studio rental applicants will be notified of their status approximately 6 weeks following the application deadline, or as soon as selections have been made.

A significant component of the jury selection process is a desire to reflect the diversity of our city’s artistic community and the different voices within it. As part of this process, jury members will reference the Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Framework and its list of Equity Priority Groups (Persons of Colour, Deaf Persons, Persons with Disabilities and Persons Living with Mental Illness, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIAP).  More information on this framework, as part of the TAC Strategic Plan, can be found here.  Please note that the application and selection process for the Akin Studio Program at MOCA has adapted parts of the TAC Equity Framework and that it is not the same process used by TAC for the purpose of adjudication of grant applications.

Adapting the TAC Equity Priority Policy, applications of merit proposed by applicants who self-identify as belonging to one (or more) of Toronto Arts Council’s Equity Priority Groups or who primarily involve or serve artists from these groups will be prioritized. We encourage applications from these communities. The jury will similarly prioritize artists living or working within the museum’s local Junction area given the recent displacement of artists within the neighbourhood.

Application Accessibility Support

Applicants who require additional resources, support or time to complete their applications can request as such. Please request this assistance at least two weeks in advance of the submission deadline. To do so, or for additional information, please contact or call 416 826 2053.

Thank you to The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (MOCA) and to the Toronto Arts Council for their feedback on the selection process.

About Akin

Akin is a Toronto-based arts organization that provides affordable studio space to nearly 300 artists across its 8 locations. In addition, Akin provides a year-round programming calendar of free and low-cost public arts events.

Akin’s studios provide a working environment that maintains a friendly and inspiring atmosphere where people can work on creative endeavours and entrepreneurial undertakings of all kinds. Akin builds community through monthly art critiques, workshops, open studio events, gallery tours, exhibitions, as well as various other professional development opportunities and art projects

Learn more at