Federal Stimulus funding available for small and medium size arts organizations

RISCA announced the availability of  COVID-19 emergency funding for small and medium sized arts organization through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  This funding comes through the CARES Act, a federal program that supports the non-profit arts community in Rhode Island as it attempts to recover from the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognizes that the nonprofit arts and culture industry is an important sector of America’s economy. RISCA, on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, will award funds to nonprofit arts organizations in Rhode Island to help these entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19. These funds are intended to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the hundreds of organizations that add value to Rhode Island’s economy and the creative life of our communities.

In the latest funding opportunity, RISCA is making available $75,000 in grants of $3,000 or less to support non-profit arts organizations with budgets under $300,000.  RISCA has already awarded funds to its operating support recipients in the first phase of this emergency granting program. The second phase is designed to support small and medium sized non-profit arts organizations who did not participate in Phase I. Funding can be used for salaries, fees for artists or facilities costs for the period from May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

In keeping with RISCA’s Strategic Plan and its emphasis on cultural equity and inclusion, a priority in Phase II funding will be to support Rhode Island non-profit arts organizations that are led by and serve communities of color (e.g. their audiences or artists, boards and staffs are African American, Asian American, Native American or Latino, their artistic products typically reflect a non-Western European cultural tradition, etc).

According to guidance from the NEA, these funds can only be used for one or more of the following purposes: salaries; fees for artists and other contracted personnel; or facility costs (rent, utilities, etc.)

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Organizational quality, as shown by a mission that is arts-focused, and the presentation of high quality arts programming to a diverse audience.
  • Impact of COVID-19 on your organization, as shown by the information you provide regarding the challenges the organization has faced since the start of the pandemic.
  • Plans for use of these funds, and what effect it will have on the continued operations of the organization.

Deadline to apply is June 19th. You can see a PDF copy of the application questions here. 

Click here to go to RISCA’s online application system to begin your application. Contact Randall Rosenbaum for questions or assistance.

An Update About the Artist Relief Fund

On Tuesday, April 7th, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the City of Providence’s Department of Art Culture + Tourism, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the Alliance of Artists Communities, opened the application for the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund for arts and culture workers. Over the past three and a half weeks, we have received over 750 applications from people working in the arts across our state. On Friday, May 1st, we are temporarily closing applications to the fund.

The fund was initially seeded with $150,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Since launching the fund has received over $65,000 in private contributions. Together, we have awarded 418 small grants totaling $206,635.

These grants have supported artists across our state be able to afford their rent, utilities, health insurance, food, and other basic necessities, a huge need as other financial supports enacted at a federal and state level either did not extend to all freelancers and sole proprietors or there were delays or insurmountable barriers to access.

The fund’s partners understand the need is great and do not want artists and arts professionals spending their time and labor assembling requests when we know that we do not currently have available funds to grant.

We are committed to you. We know the value of your skills and talents, especially at this most challenging time. We will continue leveraging our platforms and engaging our networks to raise relief support and increase this fund. We will work to replenish the fund with additional monies, and hope to re-open applications in a few weeks.

If you have the means, we encourage you to donate to the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund at https://www.artistcommunities.org/arf.

Over $840,000 in Federal Funds to Rhode Island for Arts & Humanities COVID-19 Relief

Rhode Island’s statewide arts and humanities agencies will receive $840,600 in federal funds designated for relief to arts and cultural organizations affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, according to a joint statement by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council).

The funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, established in part to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

RISCA will receive $424,300 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Humanities Council will receive $416,300 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Rhode Island’s share is part of the $150 million allocated to the federal cultural organizations through the CARES Act.

The Humanities Council and RISCA are committed to directly delivering these federal relief funds as quickly as possible to local nonprofit arts and humanities organizations serving Rhode Island communities. Application information and eligibility requirements are now available on the Humanities Council website, and will be available shortly on the RISCA website.

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, expressed thanks for the increased federal support. “Rhode Island’s arts and cultural organizations have been deeply affected by the current crisis,” said Rosenbaum. “The economic loss to arts organizations is estimated at over $4.5 billion nationwide. Here in Rhode Island the livelihood of a sector that contributes over $1 billion annually to our economy is being threatened.”

Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities noted that “This is a daunting and uncertain time, and humanities organizations have experienced unprecedented losses. The Humanities Council and RISCA were chosen to distribute these funds because of our well-established relationships with museums, historical societies, libraries, theaters, arts organizations, and cultural institutions that are anchors of our communities. One thing I am certain about is that these organizations will help Rhode Islanders understand and weather this crisis.”

Both Rosenbaum and Francis expressed gratitude to the state’s Congressional delegation. “This support from the NEH and NEA as part of the CARES act is thanks in large part to the sustained commitment by Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Representatives Langevin and Cicilline to the arts and humanities in Rhode Island.”

Quotes from Members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation

“Arts and culture have a big impact on Rhode Island’s economy and this federal funding will help save jobs and stabilize nonprofits.  We need the arts and humanities now more than ever, and I was pleased to help secure this funding in the CARES Act,” said Senator Reed.

“The arts and humanities are a vital part of Rhode Island’s economy, and they are a valuable resource for everyone,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Our vibrant local arts economy has taken a significant hit as venues close and events are postponed for everyone’s safety, so this federal funding will help the arts and humanities communities weather the pandemic.”

“With widespread disruptions and closures, the coronavirus outbreak has had a particularly devastating impact on the many amazing arts and cultural institutions that call Rhode Island home,” said Congressman Langevin. “We have to ensure that our creative economy and those who fuel it with their talent and hard work can weather this epidemic and come out stronger. This critical federal funding will help us in that mission.”

“Rhode Island’s arts and humanities community generates more than a billion dollars in economic activity and supports thousands of jobs in our state each year,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This new federal funding will help ensure that all Rhode Island continue to reap the benefits of the extraordinary artists who call our state home.”

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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. Visit www.arts.ri.gov for more information.

About the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices. A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Council is supported by federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit www.rihumanities.org for more information.