State awards $3.46 million in capital grants to 42 arts, culture, heritage, public historic sites

Governor Dan McKee sends congratulations to the awardees.

Grants Will Fund 42 Renovation, Repair and Program Expansion Projects

Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) jointly announced today the recipients of 24 State Cultural Facilities Grants and 18 State Preservation Grants. Together the projects represent some $2.28 million from RISCA and more than $1.18 million from RIHPHC for capital preservation work at public and nonprofit arts and performance facilities, museums, cultural arts centers and historic sites throughout the state.

“Rhode Island is rich in history, arts, and culture, which play a significant role in our economy in every city and town,” said Governor McKee. “Through this funding, our state will continue to be a leader nationally in historic preservation, and arts and culture. On behalf of the State of Rhode Island, our congratulations to these organizations, and thank you to RISCA and RIHPHC for their work to improve the quality of life in our State.”

“Rhode Island is recognized nationally as a leader in historic preservation and the arts,” said Jeffrey Emidy, Interim Executive Director of the RIHPHC. “These state grants are investments that build on our strengths.”

“Rhode Islanders recognized the significance of these investments in their community and their importance to our state’s economy,” said Faye Zuckerman, RISCA’s Director of Communication. “Our museums, cultural arts centers and performance spaces, which are open to the public, will receive the capital improvements they badly need.”

In March 2021, R.I. voters passed the Cultural Arts and State Preservation Grants Programs ballot measure, which authorized the state to allocate $7 million in funding for arts, culture and historic facilities. Of the $7 million, $2 million were appropriated to RISCA for competitive grants while $1 million went to RIHPHC to fund grants for capital improvements to key historic facilities. Carryover funds from the 2014 $30 million ballot measure totaling $460,930 were included in the grants being distributed. Both programs require grantees to secure matching funds for their projects. 

Some examples of the 42 projects include:

  • Teatro ECAS, Rhode Island’s only Spanish-language theatre, will renovate a new performance space in the Valley Arts District of Providence. $204,420.
  • The City of Central Falls will complete critical structural repairs to Cogswell Tower, built in 1904, located in historic Jenks Park. $150,000.
  • Historic New England will replace the roof and gutter system of the circa 1796 barn at Watson Farm in Jamestown. The barn is a rare 18th century structure still in use for farm activities, and also provides space for programming and farm tours. $69,000.
  • The East Providence Historical Society will install storm windows and complete exterior repairs at the John Hunt House Museum and Education Center in Rumford. Built in 1751, the house contains local history exhibits, an education center, library and meeting space. $26,865.
  • Exeter-based Tomaquag Museum will build a new campus in a partnership with the University of Rhode Island. The new facility will increase the Museum’s capacity and visibility. $250,000.
  • The Artists’ Exchange, located in Cranston, will renovate its lower-level multipurpose room. This project will ensure code and safety compliance while expanding programming space. $40,000.

List of Grantees

Organization NameLocation AwardGrant Name
Herreshoff Marine MuseumBristol$112,000State Preservation Grant
Linden PlaceBristol$28,200State Preservation Grant
City of Central FallsCentral Falls$150,000State Preservation Grant
Artists’ ExchangeCranston$40,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Historic Metcalf-Franklin Farm Preservation AssociationCumberland$75,000State Preservation Grant
Cape Verdean MuseumEast Providence$100,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
East Providence Historical SocietyEast Providence$26,865State Preservation Grant
Tomaquag Indian Memorial MuseumExeter$250,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Foster Preservation SocietyFoster$11,900State Preservation Grant
Historic New EnglandJamestown$69,000State Preservation Grant
South County Art AssociationKingston$128,535State Cultural Facilities Grant
Newport Art Museum and Art AssociationNewport$18,700State Cultural Facilities Grant
Island Moving Co.Newport$250,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Newport Performing Arts CenterNewport$50,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
La Farge Restoration FundNewport$94,109State Cultural Facilities Grant
La Farge Restoration FundNewport$150,000State Preservation Grant
Fort Adams TrustNewport$122,500State Preservation Grant
Preservation Society of Newport CountyNewport$74,250State Preservation Grant
Newport Restoration FoundationNewport$30,000State Preservation Grant
Pawtucket Public LibraryPawtucket$58,100State Preservation Grant
Teatro ECASProvidence$204,429State Cultural Facilities Grant
Providence Performing Arts CenterProvidence$100,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Rhode Island School of Design MuseumProvidence$45,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Festival Ballet ProvidenceProvidence$13,820State Cultural Facilities Grant
DownCity DesignProvidence$100,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
The Steel YardProvidence$36,400State Preservation Grant
The Steel YardProvidence$53,178State Cultural Facilities Grant
Dirt Palace Public ProjectsProvidence$49,880State Cultural Facilities Grant
Community MusicWorksProvidence$84,275State Cultural Facilities Grant
The PlayersProvidence$90,500State Cultural Facilities Grant
AS220Providence$61,976State Cultural Facilities Grant
Wilbury Theatre GroupProvidence$56,079State Cultural Facilities Grant
Oasis InternationalProvidence$150,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
Museum of Natural History and PlanetariumProvidence$88,500State Preservation Grant
Rhode Island Historical SocietyProvidence$48,000State Preservation Grant
Scituate Historical SocietyScituate$9,900State Preservation Grant
South County History CenterSouth Kingstown$42,075State Preservation Grant
Sandra Feinstein-Gamm TheatreWarwick$128,327State Cultural Facilities Grant
Clouds Hill Victorian House MuseumWarwick$50,000State Preservation Grant
Stadium Theatre FoundationWoonsocket$73,133State Cultural Facilities Grant
Beacon Charter Schools Corp.Woonsocket$95,000State Cultural Facilities Grant
RiverzEdge Arts ProjectWoonsocket$41,300State Cultural Facilities Grant
TOTAL $3,460,931 

Visit to learn more about the awards to Preservation Grantees.

2021 State Facilities Grant Program listing

Update on the Sales Tax Exemption on Art

For everyone that has an existing sales tax exemption on artistic works with the state of Rhode Island, we have two important updates.

  1. You likely received a letter from the Division of Taxation stating that any sales tax exemption certificates on file may have expired on June 30, 2021. This does NOT apply to you – all existing sales tax exemptions on artist works did NOT expire. You do not need to take any action on this.
  2. In the past, the Division of Taxation mailed the annual reconciliation form – Form T-204W-Annual, Writers, Composers and Artists Annual Reconciliation. This year, they did not do this. Please download the form here, and submit it by January 31. Completing this form helps RISCA by continuing to make the case for this exemption, and demonstrating the economic power and importance of the arts in Rhode Island. You can reach out to Mollie Flanagan,, with any questions about this form.

State Arts Council awards 74 grants to RI artists, arts organizations and nonprofits

Next cycle of arts grants to open Feb. 1 with updated offerings

Arts and culture organizations, arts education and healthcare programs, individual and teaching artists, culture workers, and related community projects benefited from $215,011 in funding announced today by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). The 74 grants, of which 34 went to individual artists, were approved by the Arts Council’s Board on Dec. 13, and will assist RI’s arts and culture community throughout the 2022 fiscal year.

The next cycle of arts and culture grants will open on Feb. 1 with a deadline of April 1. Several grant programs have been updated to align with the agency’s ongoing work to ensure that arts and culture continue to be an essential part of Rhode Island life and thrive in our communities. For more information, visit RISCA’s grants webpage.

“On behalf of the State of Rhode Island, I welcome RISCA’s continued investments in arts and culture, which are essential to the cultural, educational, health and well-being of Rhode Islanders. We are pleased that the arts once again are bringing audiences to our town and city centers, where they also help to fill our restaurants and shops. The grants remind us to celebrate our state’s creativity and how important it is to support arts and culture organizations.”

Governor McKee

“Thank you, Governor McKee and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly for your support. As Rhode Islanders return to arts and culture activities, we are thrilled that this cycle, as with the last grant cycle, is one of the most diverse and equitable. Our arts community was the first to feel the effects of COVID-19, and these investments help to put RI back on the road to pre-pandemic levels when the arts typically contributed more than $2 billion annually to the Rhode Island economy, and employed more than 18,000 people.”  

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director, RISCA 

Some examples of grantees are:

  • Teaching Artist Harrison M. Grigsby (who performs under the name Jon Hope) is on the RI Teaching Artist Roster and was a 2019 RISCA fellow in music. Grisby will pilot his Hip Hop Scholars program at Charette Charter High School, Providence.
  • Pawtucket’s Charles E. Shea High School received a grant to focus on using upcycled clothing to create garments for the school’s 2022 spring fashion show. Students will use their creativity to alter gently used clothing to make a fashion statement with a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Hathaway Elementary School, Portsmouth, will host Kevin Doyle, an Irish dancer who will serve as an artist-in residence. Doyle’s physical education and music classes for K-4 grade students will promote cross-curricular learning through movement, music, culture, collaboration and expression.
  • Sidy Maiga, Providence, is a master drummer originally from Mali, West Africa. Maiga is RISCA’s Folk Artist Fellowship recipient for 2022 and received the honor in 2012.
  • Cape Verdean American Community Development (CACD), Pawtucket, will sponsor painting and sculpture classes geared toward low-income teens. Each class, taught by a working Cape Verdean artist, will meet twice weekly for eight weeks.
  • Little Compton Community Center will present a portrait exhibit of Little Compton’s year-round residents painted during a one-year period. The project goes beyond the summer residents to portray those who make up the diverse fabric of town life.
  • Re-Emerge and Renew: Artist Residencies for Staff Wellness at Butler Hospital, Providence, provides the staff (including front-line nurses, housekeeping, maintenance and administrative staff) an opportunity to engage in arts programming. Resident artists, including poet Sussy Santana, storyteller Valerie Tutson, illustrator/cartoonist Walker Mettling, violist Ashley Frith of Community MusicWorks and Haus of Glitter dance troupe, will offer drop-in art making opportunities during staff availability.
  • This spring, the Bristol Art Museum will curate two coinciding art exhibits–guest artists’ work in the museum and artwork by Mount Hope High School students in the Rogers Free Library. The artwork confronts climate change and environmental justice.
  • The Newport String Project will provide free lessons in violin, viola and cello to 40 students at the MLK Community Center, Florence Gray Center and at the East Bay Met School.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick’s music program gives middle school youth access to affordable and accessible music opportunities unavailable anywhere else locally. Through mentoring, discovery and instruction, youth opt to participate in consequential activities to build music skills, and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Full list of fall 2022 grantees

The grants were distributed from the following grant programs:

  • Available to organizations, Arts Access Grants support arts and culture programs throughout the state that demonstrate excellent artistic, education and cultural value, as well as engagement with and relevance to their community. $62,725.
  • Fellowships are unrestricted awards that encourage the creative development of artists by enabling them to set aside time to pursue their work and achieve specific creative and career goals. The grants, a total of $72,000, were given out in the following disciplines:
    • Choreography
    • Crafts
    • Drawing & Printmaking
    • Film & Video
    • Fiction
    • Music Composition
    • New Genres
    • Painting
    • Photography
    • Poetry
    • Playwriting/Screenwriting
    • Three-Dimensional Art
  • Folk Arts Apprenticeships are designed to foster the sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills between a master and an apprentice, who is already familiar with the genre. The program creates this opportunity specifically for individuals who share a common cultural heritage. $18,000.
  • Folk Arts Fellowships provide support to individual artists who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishments in their craft. The folk arts are defined as those artistic practices which are community or family-based and express that community’s aesthetic heritage and tradition. $6,000.
  • Project Grants in Education and Project Grants in Education for Individuals support artists and culture organizations collaborating with schools and other educational entities. $38,286.
  • Project Grants in Healthcare offer matching grants for arts projects that connect teaching artists with healthcare settings. $18,000.

RISCA’s grants received support from the state’s General Assembly, federal funds through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in addition to matching dollars raised through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions. 

For the spring grant cycle opening Feb. 1, Arts Access Grants and Investments in Arts & Culture have been updated and will be called Project Grants for Organizations and General Operating Support for Organizations, respectively. For individual artists, both the fellowship and Project Grants for Individuals programs have been replaced with four new grant programs. They are entitled: Opportunity Grants, Community Engaged Project Grants, Make Art Grants and General Operating Support for Artists.