RISCA staff to assist in navigating the grant application process; Deadline is April 1

Help includes workshops, drop-in office hours and one-on-ones 

Our helpful and friendly RISCA staff can assist you with your grant application needs. In addition, we are available to  meet with you about your grant ideas. We are offering grant writing and budgeting workshops, drop-in hours, and more during February and March so you can meet our April 1 deadline.

A key reminder: Get your questions to staff prior to 6 p.m. on deadline day, April 1; portal closes at 11:59 p.m.

During our workshops, we offer an overview of our major grant programs, and you’ll have time to ask questions and meet with program staff.

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View the video of our FY22 grant workshop.


If you’re new to submitting a grant application to RISCA, or just want a refresher on the “good and less good” of grant writing, join us for one of our virtual meetings. 

You can see a copy of the Grant Workshop PowerPoint Presentation. A copy of an example Grant Budget is available here

Open Drop-in Office Hours on Zoom 

Need last-minute help with your RISCA grant? Or, do you need a place to write and get your questions answered at the same time? RISCA staff will be there during drop-in virtual office hours to answer questions; help with technology; read drafts; or support whatever other needs you may have. Virtual Zoom drop-in office hours are as follows: 

  • Thursday, April 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., click here to register.


Grant writing/budgeting workshops occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Tuesday, March 2. You can view a copy of the Grant Workshop PowerPoint Presentation here.

How to schedule a one-on-one meeting

Arts Access Grant 

Todd Trebour, Organizations Program Director, will be holding one-on-one virtual meetings for non-profit organizations interested in Arts Access Grants organizations. He will answer any questions you have about the grant program. He can also help you with the budget forms; review any specific answers you’ve written; or any other assistance you need with your grant application.

You can sign up for either a 30 minute or 1-hour meeting slot. To schedule a meeting with Todd, click here

If none of the dates or times listed works for you, email Todd at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov for alternate date/time.

Project Grants for Education and Project Grants in Education for Individuals

Maggie Anderson, Director of Arts In Education, will be holding one-on-one meetings for non-profit organizations, artists and schools interested in Project Grants in Education and Project Grants in Education for Individual.

You can sign up for a 1 hour slot, and ask her any specific questions you have about the grant program. She can also help you with the budget forms; review any specific answers you’ve written; or assist you need with your grant application.

Maggie is scheduling appointments for February 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26; March 3, 4 and 5, between 9 am and 2 pm. To arrange an appointment, email Maggie Anderson at Maggie.Anderson@arts.ri.gov

Project Grants for Individuals

Mollie Flanagan, Individual Artists Program Director, will be holding one-on-one virtual meetings for artists interested in project Grants for Individuals. She will be answering any questions you have about the grant program.

You can sign up for either a 30 minute or 1-hour meeting slot. To attend a meeting with Mollie, click here.

7 RI Providence arts organizations to receive $145,000 in National Endowment for the Arts grants

NEA supports the Arts with over $27.5 Million in Awards in First Round of FY2021 Funding

Providence RI —The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2021 of more than $27.5 million with $145,000 divided among seven Providence-based arts organizations.

The following lists the Providence arts organizations receiving grants:

  • Alliance of Artists Communities, $25,000.
  • Dirt Palace, $10,000.
  • DownCity Design, $30,000.
  • New Urban Arts, $10,000.
  • Providence Children’s Museum, $20,000.
  • Rhode Island School of Design, $35,000.
  • Trinity Repertory Company $15,000.

The NEA supported projects span 14 artistic disciplines in communities throughout the United States. Also, included in this announcement are the recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation and support for arts research projects.

“The arts remain critical to our economy and culture. I am pleased to help deliver federal funding for local arts organizations and artists to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and associated closures,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island’s exceptional artists and performers continue to face significant challenges as the pandemic has forced venues, galleries, and museums to remain closed. These federal funds will help keep arts organizations afloat until restrictions can be safely lifted and we can get back to enjoying the arts in person. And we’re working hard to provide more relief through the bill whose path to passage we cleared in the wee hours of Friday morning,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

“When Rhode Island’s wonderful arts and culture institutions thrive, our local artists and communities thrive,” said Congressman Langevin. “The COVID crisis has heightened challenges for many local organizations, and we continue our work to ensure they weather the storm and can keep offering invaluable community programming and resources. I’m deeply appreciative of RISCA’s commitment to our local artists and congratulate the grantees, who I know will add to the vibrancy of the Creative Capital.”

“Rhode Island’s arts community is second to none. Every day, artists create, inspire and entertain us, while also generating millions of dollars in economic activity that support jobs across the Ocean State,” said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. “I’m pleased that this new federal funding will provide critical resources to some of Rhode Island’s leading arts organizations so that they can continue their important work.”

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), expressed gratitude for the federal support Rhode Island arts organizations receive from the National Endowment for the Arts. “These federal dollars provide greater access to the arts for all Rhode Islanders,” Rosenbaum said. “This investment contributes to the cultural vitality and economy of our state, and we thank our amazing Congressional delegation and friends at the Arts Endowment for their help.”

“The creativity and resilience of artists and arts organizations across the country have inspired Americans during this challenging year,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These projects represent the vitality and perseverance of arts organizations small and large to overcome significant challenges, transform to new ways of engagement, and forge new relationships that benefit the diverse populations in neighborhoods and cities throughout the United States.”

  • Click here to view a state-by-state listing of all the grants announced in this release.
  • Click here to view a listing of awards by discipline/grant category
  • Click here for a list of the panelists who reviewed the applications for funding

The Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards range from $10,000 to $100,000 and cover these artistic disciplines: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. In February 2020, the agency received 1,674 eligible GAP applications requesting more than $82.4 million in FY 2021 support. Approved for funding are 1,073 projects totaling nearly $25 million, with grants recommended to 64% of all applicants and an average grant amount of $23,190. Grant guidelines and upcoming application deadlines are now available on the Arts Endowment website for organizations wishing to apply.

The Arts Endowment is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Part of this commitment includes our partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Many supported projects are currently working in a virtual space. This is also true for the panel process. Once applications are submitted to the agency for consideration and staff have reviewed them for eligibility and completeness, a panel of dedicated experts with knowledge and experience in their field review and score each application in accordance with the published review criteria. Recommendations are then made to the National Council on the Arts. The council makes recommendations to the Chairman, who makes the final decision on all grant awards. The Arts Endowment assembles diverse panels every year with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. To learn more about the process  or to volunteer as a panelist.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Lockdown story: COVID-19’s effect on an educational arts program

During the pandemic, Johnston’s Donna Tellier, Founder and Director of Johnston Dance and Performing Arts (J-DAPA), had to halt all programming for her students. With nearly all her efforts to keep her 14-year-old enrichment program alive meeting with frustration, concern began to grow about the survival of her after-school work in Johnston with K-12 students.

Her season usually consists of a fall and spring musical, and winter and spring recitals. The program specializes in working with young people who are interested in learning the technical aspects of putting on a show. They gain experience by learning from trained professionals. Her staff varies in age range and experience, she said. She added about her team, “We all have one thing in common – a passion to teach the arts and instill a love for performing in the hearts of all of our students.”


Heeding the call of economic hardship among RI’s arts community due to the pandemic, RISCA administered $1 million in Covid Relief Funds (CRF) to artists, professional arts education associations, and arts and culture organizations. The funds provided badly needed assistance to members of the arts and culture community who were suffering losses.

To fully understand the impact of COVID-19 on educational arts programs like Tellier’s J-DAPA, we asked Tellier to describe her experience.

Q: How has COVID-19 affected your work?

Donna Tellier: Unfortunately, due to COVID 19 we were not allowed to have our program in the schools. After careful consideration, I have decided to hold off on recitals until Johnston schools allow all regular indoor after school activities.

We started to hold virtual classes and rehearsals for our school musical Matilda. We were hoping to have a few weeks of free review classes, followed by an outdoor recital but ran into some liability issues. We tried to have a recital in a church hall but again, were faced with more liability issues. We even considered live streaming the recital on YouTube, but we were not able to find a location to record the dancers that was safe. Each potential plan that we came up with led us to a road block every time.

Q: Because of the pandemic, what changes and adjustments have you had to keep your program viable?

Donna Tellier: Personally, it breaks my heart that our students haven’t had the chance to wear their costumes and perform the routines that they worked so hard on, but the safety of our J-DAPA family is, and always will be our main concern. Rest assured, we will keep trying to make this happen as soon as possible.

I don’t know when after school programs will he allowed back in the high school, that is why, thanks to the RISCA CRF Grant, we have some help covering some of our losses. I was glad that our lighting technician mentioned that he heard about the grant on Facebook. Even with the incredible amount of support and donations that we have received during these very difficult times, J-DAPA is struggling to stay afloat.

I am looking for a new home for the program to continue. I am currently in the process of searching for a building to rent because after school programs are not allowed in the schools. I am hoping to find a place to hold classes and rehearsals safely and continue to offer classes at a low rate. If anyone has any connections or leads to a space that we could rent for little to no cost, please let us know.

Q: Can you tell us about you and your work in the arts?

Donna Tellier: As a young girl from a large lower income family I loved dance and theater and the confidence it gave me, especially because I was a very shy child. However, the cost of dance lessons and performance costumes were always too expensive for my parents, and therefore I was pulled from my love of the arts whenever my family couldn’t afford it.

I vowed that someday I would start a program for families like mine, for children like me. When my children started elementary school, I offered the idea of a dance and theater program to their school principal. Then, I presented our idea to the school committee, and we were approved.

In 1998, I started Thornton Dance and Performing Arts. All the money raised from performances and classes went back into the program to help make classes affordable for less fortunate children whose families could not afford dance classes.

In 2007, we changed the name to Johnston Dance and Performing Arts (J-DAPA) combining our Thornton program to create a fully inclusive program to the community and surrounding communities in Rhode Island. By late summer of 2016, J-DAPA finally became a state recognized nonprofit organization.

We offer many different types of dance including lyrical, ballet, tap, hip – hop, jazz and acro, as well as acting classes and singing lessons. Our season typically consists of a fall musical, winter recital, spring musical and spring recital.