Governor Raimondo’s FY2021 Budget for the Arts


On January 16th Governor Gina Raimondo presented her budget proposal to the General Assembly for Fiscal Year 2021.  It was a challenging budget in many respects, given the State’s financial situation. We’re grateful to the Governor for her support of the arts. Here is what she proposed for RISCA in the coming year.

Grant funding

Governor Raimondo recommends a hold-even budget for discretionary grant funding for the arts.  Total grant funding for the coming year will be $1.62 million in state and federal funds.

Workforce Development in the Arts

Governor Raimondo recommends an additional $40,000 in support of Year Two of RISCA’s Workforce Development in the Arts project.  Over the past year, we have piloted a workforce development program in cooperation with New Urban Arts, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, AS220, the Steel Yard, and Roger Williams University. The pilot was modeled as a three-credit college course and participants spent a semester learning together. The goal of this program is to equip young artists with the business and professional skills they need to have a career in the arts.

Capital funding for arts and cultural facilities

Starting in June 2019, RISCA collaborated with members of the Rhode Island arts and culture community to put together a $40 million, multi-year request for capital funding for the arts. The request was submitted to the Governor’s Office later in the summer for review.

After full consideration of a number of factors, and advocating by Trinity Rep and the RI Philharmonic on behalf of the arts and culture community, Governor Raimondo included $6.0 million in the “Housing and Infrastructure” bond initiative to support capital projects in historic preservation and the arts.

The proposal breaks down as follows:

  • $1.0 million to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for capital improvement grants to historic properties.
  • $1.0 million to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) for capital improvement grants to non-profit cultural organizations.
  • $2.5 million to Trinity Repertory Company for capital improvements to their campus in DownCity Providence.
  • $1.5 million to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School for capital improvements to their campus in East Providence.

As we’ve said many times before, the arts are a smart investment for the State of Rhode Island. We get much more back as a return on that investment: in jobs, dollars for the Rhode Island economy, education for our young people, and a great quality of life. We’d like to thank Governor Raimondo for her continued support of the arts, particularly in light of the budget challenges Rhode Island is facing this year.

RISCA Announces State House Holiday Concerts

Annual Performances Feature 2,600 Student Musicians from 59 Schools

Student musicians from Robert L. Bailey Elementary School in Providence perform at the Rhode Island State House during the 2017 Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and the musical talents of Rhode Island school musicians will be showcased as part of a month-long musical celebration of the holidays during most of December.

“We’re pleased to be continuing this holiday tradition of student performances at the Rhode Island State House,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “Over 2,600 student musicians from fifty-nine schools throughout the state will perform at the Rhode Island State House in a special series of musical performances.” The concert series starts on Monday, December 2nd and runs through Friday, December 20th.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

The concert series, organized by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, will feature music of the season, performed by students from schools throughout the State of Rhode Island. The performances are all in the Rhode Island State House.

A one page holiday concert flyer can be found at 2019 Holiday Concerts flyer – final

The list below is arranged by city/town, and can also be found online at List of 2019 Holiday Concerts by city-town .

For a video that provides a glimpse of the holiday concert season at the Rhode Island State House, see an excerpt from the 2017 performance of the Curtis Elementary School in Pawtucket at

About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

List of Holiday Concerts – Arranged by City/Town


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Anisa Raoof is RISCA’s first Grants Management Fellow

Anisa-head shotThe Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced today the appointment of Anisa Raoof of Providence as its new Grants Management Fellow. Raoof, an experienced arts administrator, will help oversee grants management for the Arts Council as part of this career-focused, paid public-sector internship. She will be the first individual to be selected for this new fellowship opportunity.

In announcing the fellowship, Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, said, “We are delighted to have someone with Anisa’s skill and dedication to the arts work with us in the important area of grants management.” He went on to say that, “the State Arts Council must be a careful steward of public funds,and monitoring the flow of material in and out of the agency is key to that effort. Anisa has the background and experience to help us in this effort.”

Raoof began her Grants Management Fellowship on October 3rd.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts announced its new Grants Management Fellowship program in July 2019. This program is a career-focused, paid public-sector internship for graduate students, emerging professionals or second stage career seekers. During a two year period the Fellow will work on real-world projects as well as oversee grants management activities for the agency.

About Anisa Raoof

Anisa Raoof has a passion for design, film, food, and finding innovative ways to connect with the community. She has partnered with numerous organizations to create and support family programming through her work as former Executive Director of the Providence Children’s Film Festival, founder and publisher of KidoInfo, a parenting website for Rhode Island families (2007-2017) and as a current member of The Media Education Lab. With a degree in Psychology, and a minor in Painting, Anisa is fascinated by how we see and deal with the world. After college, she was part of a team researching what makes children stress resilient before starting her own design company making home accessories and co-founding the Providence Craft Show. She brings her entrepreneurial experience, collaborative way of thinking, social media savvy, and love for the arts to her new job as the first Grants Management Fellow at RISCA. Anisa lives in Providence with her husband and two sons.

In commenting on her appointment, Anisa said, “I believe in the transformative power of the arts to inspire, educate, and unite us through shared stories and creative expression. I look forward to working with the RISCA team, helping to providing all Rhode Islanders an opportunity to participate in the arts.”