State Arts Council opens arts grant applications with an Oct. 3 deadline

The RI State Council on the Arts announced today that applications are now open for grants to arts and culture organizations, folk and individual artists, arts educators and artists in healthcare. The deadline to complete an application is Oct. 3.

“I am pleased to be announcing these grants, which include our roll out of the newly revamped Project Grants in Education, which continue our effort to be more accessible, equitable and transparent. This updated grant program is designed to better support arts education in the schools, arts educators and teaching artists,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “Another grant opening today is the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program, which only opens up every three years. Expansion Arts grants offer funding and organizational assistance to community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations.”

The grant programs being offered include:

  • Folk Arts Apprenticeships are designed to foster sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills between a mentor and an apprentice. The program creates an opportunity specifically for individuals who share a common cultural heritage.
  • Folk Arts Fellowships support individual artists who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishments in their craft.
  • The latest revamped grant program is Project Grants in Education, which offer support to schools, non-profit organizations, arts educators and teaching artists. Recipients engage students in rich and meaningful artistic experiences in dedicated learning environments.
  • Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program offers funding and organizational assistance to community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations. The program is a partnership between Rhode Island Foundation, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
  • Project Grants for Organizations (PGO) provides grants of up to $3,000 in support of arts and culture projects that are relevant and meaningful to Rhode Island communities.
  • Community Engaged Project Grants (CEPG) offer funding of up to $3,000 for artists or groups of artists to create arts and culture projects that are directly and actively engaged with Rhode Island residents.
  • Make Art Grant provides grants of up to $3,000 for artists or groups of artists to create or continue specific artwork in any discipline. Projects must have specific goals, although completion and public showing of the art is not required.
  • Project Grants in Healthcare offer matching grants for arts projects that connect teaching artists with healthcare settings such as hospitals, hospice and community health agencies. This Grant program is in the process of being restructured, and new grant guidelines will be available for the spring grant cycle.

To assist in the application process and meet the Oct. 3 deadline, Arts Council staff members have scheduled virtual workshops and office hours throughout August and September. The online meetings will focus on best practices as well as help with budget planning. First time applicants are encouraged to attend and apply.

To view a listing of the help sessions and workshops, click here or visit

To learn more about RISCA’s grants, click here.

AATE’s first hybrid conference is in Providence

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Providence, and RI writ-large, is a rich theater community. From large touring Broadway productions in the heart of downtown, to community based bilingual theaters and cultural showcases, we have so much to offer. More and more Providence is considered a better option than Boston or New York because of its unique cultural pool. Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian community, Latinx and Afro-Caribbean communities have thriving theater and performance organizations.

So, in celebration of all of this, RISCA is thrilled to announce that we are hosting The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) upcoming 35th annual, and first-ever hybrid, conference Arriba el Telón (Raise the Curtain)  at the Rhode Island Convention Center, July 28-31, 2022. This incredible national organization has chosen to convene its membership here to highlight our multi-lingual theaters and showcase our statewide commitment to theater education and insight into theater education as a means of conveying intergenerational knowledge and histories.

As a nonprofit organization, AATE works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theater arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. Based in Washington, D.C, AATE has made waves in sparking conversations throughout numerous specializations, especially artists, scholars and educators. Through this cross-fertilization of ideas, AATE has created a space for art to enhance education and vice versa. Rooted in social justice and youth agency, AATE works to emphasize how critical thinking/collaborative skills apply to all fields in the 21st century workforce. The AATE conference features workshops where people can learn alongside and from one another. From playwrights, applied theater artists, K-12 educators, social justice activists, actors, directors, social workers and more.

RISCA is thrilled that the conference will highlight local organizations and their excellent work. Stand out conference moments will be an all-conference keynote from Francis Parra, of Teatro ECAS, and a free live performance of La Mancha on the State House lawn as part of Teatro en el verano.

We thank the following individuals and organizations for their support and contributions to the conference:

  • Teatro ECAS, Francis Parra and Yvonne Beauregard
  • The Village Theater, Elvys Ruiz
  • The Wilbury Theatre Group, Max Ponticelli
  • Rhode Island Theatre Education Association, Stephanie Spaziano
  • Providence Performing Arts Center, Dana Brazil
  • Southside Cultural Center, Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy
  • Mat Bevilaqua, BEVROS

See the full conference schedule, click here.

The conference will run from Thursday, July 28, to  Sunday, July 31.

Registration is still open; online registration closes July 22. Click here to register. Tiered Registration (Select the tier that fits your budget): $100 (virtual) $150, $200, $250, $300.

For additional information, please visit

State’s Arts Council, RI Health Department name Melody Gamba public health Artist in Residence

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gamba-Headshot-681x1024.jpgThe RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today Melody Gamba, Providence, as an Artist in Residence to be embedded in RI’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (RI EOHHS). Gamba, who started on Monday (July 11), will bring arts-based approaches to public health priorities.

Gamba, a dance artist, educator, licensed mental health counselor and board-certified dance-movement psychotherapist, is a long-time advocate for inclusive, equitable and just educational outreach and therapeutic interventions. She believes that consistent access to quality health and wellness services combined with the arts will help foster healing, long-term systemic change, and ultimately build a stronger Rhode Island.

During her six-month residency, Gamba will use her artistic practice, and counseling and teaching experience to develop creative health solutions and outcomes for the Health and Human Services Agency. She will focus on the Children’s Behavioral Health System of Care and/or Overdose, Addiction and Adult Behavioral Health.

“Partnerships such as the Artist in Residence program advance our goal to integrate arts and arts-based therapies into healthcare as well as build sustainable health-arts policy, practice and research,” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “We will be supporting Melody throughout her residency as she applies her incredible talents to advancing health equity through the arts.”

“We look forward to working with Melody on creative ways to raise awareness on behavioral health and overall health equity within the communities we serve,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Ana Novais. “We appreciate this exciting opportunity to make an impact on our colleagues and the greater community through artistic collaboration.”

“The arts can serve as a public health intervention providing a connection to social services, mental wellbeing, and individual and community health. Rhode Island has a unique opportunity to build on this growing field because of the one-of-a-kind partnership that exists between RIDOH and RISCA and our rich connection to the arts,” said Steven Boudreau, Chief Administrative Officer and Co-chair Arts and Health, RI Department of Health.

Within the context of EOHHS, Gamba will combine artistic practice, and explore and develop creative health solutions. She said, “I look forward to gaining a better understanding of how these agencies alongside community voices collaborate to identify and achieve health equity and mental health goals through art-based initiatives. Success would include building authentic relationships, collaborative community partners, and sustainable action that can continue beyond this residency.”

About Melody Gamba

Gamba received her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance-Movement Therapy from Lesley University, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) in addition to being awarded the Silver M for outstanding leadership and involvement in the MMC community. Melody was the recipient of the Davis Fellowship from Salve Regina University for her thesis research utilizing dance-movement therapy as a tool to dismantle racism and injustice in service learning. She delivered the keynote address at the annual conference on Youth Mental Health (2019).  As a member of the Diversity in Motion Research Collective, she has co-presented workshops nationally.

In 2022, Gamba created Lighthouse Creative Collaborative, which offers expressive arts learning communities for individuals and organizations ready to implement social justice values; explore sustainable change; and create more open and compassionate communities. Alongside community partners, she facilitates professional development workshops and retreats focused on team building, arts-based solution sessions, embodied diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and somatic processing.

She is the past assistant Artistic Director and company member of Fusionworks Dance Company and was invited to perform with ESS/Dance Works, SOKOLOW NOW Anna Sokolow Contemporary Dance Company, Dancing Legacy, and Bill Evans Dance Company in addition to teaching and choreographing throughout the United States. She holds deep appreciation for her first dance teacher and mentor, Miss Carolyn Dutra. Currently, she is a program therapist at Butler Hospital in Providence, and an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University and Lesley University. She is a member of the ADTA Multicultural and Diversity Committee, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and was awarded the Leader of Tomorrow (2019) by the organization. She was humbled to receive the presidential scholarship to further her research using the arts to evoke equitable and just social change in Lesley University’s Ph.D. Counseling and Psychology: Transformation Leadership, Education and Applied Research Program.