In 2022, artist Barbara Salsberg Mathews and her husband, Bruce Mathews gifted Guelph Arts Council (GAC) funding to create a new award program for Guelph artists, Pay It Forward Arts Fund. 

Pay It Forward Arts Fund is an award that will help local artists in any discipline to fund art projects that pay it forward and benefit the community. It is designed to encourage artists to rise to the challenge and pay it forward by using their talents to help others. 

Salsberg Mathews says, “Today we’re seeing seeds of hate grow and fester: the antidote to hate is kindness, coupled with action to pay it forward.” Salsberg Mathews has used her own visual art to pay it forward through a variety of fundraising projects over the years, benefitting various organizations, including GAC.

Pay It Forward Art Fund could take many forms by using the arts to heal, give a hand-up, help build self-esteem, beautify our environment, or enrich and improve others’ lives. Artists are encouraged to look at the needs of their community and propose projects that would fill those demands using the arts as a mode of inspiration, and kindness coupled with action.

The fund totals $5,000 per year for the next three years and will fund one arts-based project every year. These projects must be original in nature and cannot have begun prior to the award being granted. The project should also be able to be completed within the funding requested.  Artists can learn more about the application requirement and apply for the fund here.
Additionally, Pay It Forward Arts Fund is hosted by the Guelph Community Foundation, where the funds are collected and grown in hopes for the project to go beyond the remaining 3 years. If you’d like to donate to the continuation of Pay It Forward Arts Fund please follow the link.

Questions can be submitted by email in advance to [email protected], please title your email “Q&A – PIFAF 2023”.

An online Q&A session for potential applicants is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30 at 5:00pm. To attend follow the zoom link here.

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