RISCA Announces $316,025 in Grants to Artists, Schools, Arts Organizations

Image from the India Association of Rhode Island’s (IARI) recent Diwali Fest – Cultural Extravaganza. IARI is one of this round’s Arts Access Grant recipients.

Rhode Island schools, organizations, community centers and artists were awarded $316,025 in the latest round of grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. The Arts Council’s board approved the awarding of these grants at its December meeting in Providence. These grants will go to support arts in education, community-based projects by organizations and individual artist fellowships and projects for the remainder of this fiscal year. Statewide, 84 grants were awarded in response to 269 applications received at RISCA’s October 1, 2019 deadline.

Governor Gina Raimondo congratulated the grant recipients, saying that the arts are an important part of life in Rhode Island. “Each of these grants from the State Arts Council play a role in the economic life of our state, contributing to jobs and ensuring that every community in Rhode Island has the opportunity for cultural expression,” said Governor Raimondo. “I’m proud that Rhode Island supports the arts through these critical grants.”

“We’re particularly pleased with this round of grant awards,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “Programs in arts education and projects that support the work of artists in communities throughout our state contribute to our great quality of life here in Rhode Island.”

RISCA funds are matched by businesses, individuals, and earned income. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Examples of projects supported in the current round of grants include:

The India Association of Rhode Island (East Greenwich) will receive a grant of $3,000 to organize an “Asian Arts Festival,” a free outdoor intercultural event for all-ages at the scenic Roger William Park and Zoo in Providence. Participants will experience cultural artifacts, artistic activities, and artist performances from Asian heritages associated with India Association of Rhode Island and the Hmong United Association of Rhode Island.

Expanding its program of free public concerts & music education, Newport Music Festival (Newport) will receive a grant of $2,000 to present two highly entertaining, one-act operas, Bon Appetit and The Telephone, at Newport Art Museum and Newport Public Library. Each opera will also be performed separately for Newport public school students.

ReFocus (Providence) will receive a grant of $3,000 in support of The Little Clay Studio, ReFocus’ in-house pottery studio and classroom where adults with disabilities explore the potentials of clay and develop self-confidence & individual creativity.

Silvermoon LaRose (Charlestown) will receive a $3,000 grant to create an after school program at Chariho Regional High Schools for students grades 9-12 to learn traditional Native American art forms that will support the school in providing experiential learning that celebrates diversity. The program will culminate in an exhibit that celebrates artistic expression and creates visibility of Native American culture to create a more inclusive school environment.

Southside Elementary Charter School (Providence) will receive a $3,500 grant for “Project Arts for All”, which will provide opportunities for all students to participate in an extended day partnership between students, teachers, and artists. This program will expand the students’ knowledge of and appreciation of their specific art form as well as foster social-emotional development.

Beacon Charter High School for the Arts (Woonsocket) will receive a $3,500 grant to host the BTW Community Shakespeare Festival at River Island Park in Woonsocket, in June. This event will be open to the public and is an opportunity for Beacon students to share what they’ve been learning in their theatre classes with the community.

Jennifer Sanchez (East Providence) will receive a grant of $3,000 to support the production of a play called “Abue!”, a Mexican-American story based in Providence where a family falls apart as they gradually become successful opening the first totilleria business in Rhode Island. Only one woman can hold the legacy and meaning of family together, and that is Abue!

Walker Mettling (Providence) will receive a grant of $2,500 to support The Providence Comics Consortium Sunday Morning Sketchbook, a gathering of artists who will meet every Sunday from February through June 2020 for an hour of concentrated and communal guided generative sketchbook games. This gathering will be open to people of all levels and comfort with drawing, ages 7 to infinity.

See a complete list of our grant recipients for this cycle here.

Check out RISCA’s Draft Strategic Plan – and give us feedback!

Image from the Rhode Island Theatre Company Get-Together on October 28, 2019 at Mixed Magic Theatre.

Since April of 2018, RISCA’s staff has been in a multi-pronged strategic planning process, deploying surveys, hosting community listening sessions & small groups conversations, holding RISCA staff retreats, and sharing various draft elements of our strategic plan with our constituents.

Now it is time for us to hear your feedback on our completed draft Strategic Plan! Until February 14th, you will have the opportunity to provide us with feedback through live in-person community listening sessions around the state, live Zoom calls, and an online survey – whichever way works best for you and your schedule.

Community Listening Sessions.

RISCA staff will be hosting a series of live, community listening sessions in partnership with community partners around the state, including an artist-focused listening session with NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. Read more and please RSVP at the links below. The schedule of upcoming sessions are:

  • January 15th, 6-8 PM: Arts Around the Fire, hosted by Arts and Cultural Alliance of Newport County. Salvation Cafe in Newport. No need to RSVP. Read more here.
  • February 5th, 4-6 PM: Artists, What Do You Think? An Artist-Focused Listening Session, Woonsocket. Presented in partnership with NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. RSVP here.
  • February 5th, 6-8 PM: Strategic Plan Community Listening Session in Woonsocket. Featuring local music and brick-oven pizza courtesy of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. Read more here.
  • February 11th, 10 – 11 AM: Strategic Plan Community Listening Session in Providence at the Department of Administration, One Capitol Hill. RSVP here.

Zoom Calls.

RISCA staff will review the Strategic Plan and answer any questions about it, as well as receive any feedback you have. All you need is an internet browser and connection to participate! Video is not required; you can participate either by computer audio, phone, or video. RSVP via the links below – our next Zoom Calls are:

  • Thursday, January 30th, 6-7 PM. RSVP here.
  • Friday, January 31st, 9-10 AM. RSVP here.


Our 10-question, online feedback survey is open through February 14th. Once you have read through the strategic plan, the survey should take you less than four minutes to complete. You can access the survey here.

If you have any questions or run into any technical issues, contact Randall Rosenbaum at randall.rosenbaum@arts.ri.gov or or 401-222-3880.


There are several components to the Strategic Plan: mission, vision, values statement, goals, and objectives. The mission articulates what we do, while the vision articulates our aspirations as an agency. The most critical element is our values statement, which will function as the lense through which we view all our work. The goals (fund, advance, etc.) are the ways in which we accomplish those values, while the objectives get even more specific.

You can view the draft Strategic Plan in PDF form here. To view as a webpage that can be read by screen readers or translated into different languages, click here. To translate into a language, see the Google Translate drop down menu in the bottom left-hand corner of the webpage. If you have any accessibility needs that these formats do not accommodate, contact Randall Rosenbaum at Randall.rosenbaum@arts.ri.gov or call 401-222-3880.

Deadline to Register for the Poetry Out Loud Recitation Competition is Friday December 20th!

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The competition is a state to national event held in early spring.
It’s not too late to register! Check out this video to learn more about the program. Register by contacting Martha Lavieri, Poetry Out Loud Rhode Island
Program Coordinator at 401-282-0304.