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

A message from RISCA about COVID protocols for audiences

We thought it was over, but now it appears that a surge in COVID-19 cases may, once again, impact the return to arts programming in our state. From all of us at RISCA, we regret the impact this may have on you and your audiences, and will continue to provide you with information and support that you can use to address these challenges.

Recently a group of arts producers and presenters announced that they would reopen by following some strict guidelines designed to protect their audiences, their artists and staff. This cohort includes Festival Ballet Providence, Gamm Theatre, Island Moving Company, Providence Performing Arts Center, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, Trinity Repertory Company, United Theatre, Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, and Wilbury Theatre Group.

This group has issued the following statement:

“Effective immediately and until further notice: All patrons attending in-person indoor events must either show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (at least 14 days have passed since the final dose), or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the prior 72-hours, or proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the prior 6-hours. All patrons regardless of vaccination status must wear masks over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the venue (unless actively eating or drinking). Please visit the websites of the individual venues for any additional restrictions or details, particularly for children not yet eligible for vaccination. Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.”

We’re sharing this for your information. These are prudent measures, but they are NOT state mandates. You may choose to do more or less than what this group has described. Obviously, you are in the best position to know what you are capable of managing, and what is needed to keep you and your audiences satisfied that they are participating in an artistic experience that is safe and secure.

The last sentence of the statement above is key: “Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.” This is a fast-changing environment. Governor McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health, advised by the federal government and the CDC, may set new standards for public engagement that may require more stringent measures on the part of arts organizations. We will try and share that information with you as it becomes available. For now, if you have questions about managing audiences during the pandemic, please email and We will try and get answers from the state’s Department of Health for you.

For now, please stay well.

RI Arts and Humanities Councils Open Grant Applications for American Rescue Plan Funds to Culture, Humanities, Arts Nonprofits

Historic collaboration between Councils distributes $968,000 of funding
from National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for Humanities

RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council) announced today a collaborative partnership to distribute federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to arts, culture and humanities nonprofits. This funding, from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), totals $968,000.

Applications are open to all eligible nonprofits regardless of whether they have received federal funding in the past. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-centered organizations and nonprofits with annual budgets under $500,000 will be prioritized in this grant program, in keeping with federal agencies’ emphasis to focus on equity, inclusion, access and pandemic resilience.

The recovery grants, called the RI Culture, Humanities and Arts Recovery Grants (RI CHARG), are designed to assist nonprofits with general operating support to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from hardships suffered due to the pandemic.

The Arts and Humanities Councils are encouraging first-time applicants. They will be offering joint virtual workshops on July 16 and July 21; for more information and to register, click here.

In addition, one-on-one virtual support sessions; open drop-in hours via Zoom; and other resources geared toward those new to the granting process will also be available. Visit either Council’s website for more details: RISCA’s website at:; RI Council for the Humanities’ website at:

Click here to learn more about workshops, drop-in hours and one on one sessions
Read the guidelines and FAQs

For more information, nonprofits are encouraged to reach out to both of the following:

Rhode Island officials comment on the importance of RI CHARG

“The arts, culture and humanities communities are an important economic driver in our state. These funds from the American Rescue Plan, through the National Endowments for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, deliver critical investments in this sector supporting its recovery and full return,” Governor McKee said. “On behalf of Rhode Island, we applaud and thank RI’s Humanities Council and the State Arts Agency as well as the NEA and NEH for their service to our state.”

“COVID-19 was a blow to every piece of what makes Rhode Island special. That’s why I worked to get funds for local cultural and heritage organizations into the American Rescue Plan because Rhode Island’s creative economy enriches our state. By combining federal grants with private donations, we can generate economic activity and help our state’s cultural sector survive the pandemic, adapt and prepare for the future, and continue to serve audiences going forward,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island’s arts, culture, and humanities organizations are a key part of what makes our state special and many were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m glad to see the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities working together to distribute federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to help support this important work.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on Rhode Island’s world class culture and arts scene, but the American Rescue Plan Act is helping our incredible nonprofit sector recover,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “I’m thrilled that this federal grant funding will help our arts and humanities communities respond to the worst impacts of the pandemic and continue growing our economy and enriching the lives of so many Rhode Islanders.

“Rhode Island artists are responsible for generating millions of dollars in economic activity each year,” said Rep. David Cicilline. “This announcement will ensure money from the American Rescue Plan continues to benefit artists across our state who are doing work that benefits all of us.”

Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of RISCA, added: “We are excited that the Arts and Humanities Councils have joined forces to greatly expand access to recovery funding in our communities to help culture, humanities and arts nonprofits, including small- to mid-sized and BIPOC-centered organizations, and first-time grantees. Our partnership is a departure from traditional emergency funds as it greatly expands access to grants to some of our state’s most vulnerable and hard-hit culture, humanities and arts organizations. On behalf of both Councils, we are grateful to Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and Congressman Cicilline for their diligence, dedication and determination to ensure that these important NEA and NEH funds were made available in our state.”