Help RISCA Help the Arts – Two Important Surveys by September 18th

Dear Friend:

We are living through an unprecedented time. Like many organizations, RISCA is thinking about what we do and how we can better support the RI arts and culture community. This may involve continuing to provide the programs and services on which you depend. It may also involve reimagining our work so that it is of greater assistance during this unique period.

We know you have been asked to do many surveys. We have resisted the urge to bombard you with surveys, and have only asked you to complete one survey (so far) that directly supported federal advocacy efforts by Americans for the Arts. Today, we are asking arts and culture organizations to complete two surveys by September 18th. This quick turnaround time is important as we will immediately review and make use of the data to support the work of state and federal policy-makers.

RISCA’s Organizational Support in the time of COVID-19 Survey (17 questions; estimated time to complete survey: 20 minutes with assembled information). The primary purpose of this survey is to understand the financial impact of the pandemic on your organization. We understand these questions are sensitive, but we need to ask them as they will support our continued efforts to access public support for arts and culture organizations. Your responses will be confidential. Outside of RISCA staff, the data collected from this survey will only be shared in anonymous aggregate. See survey and instructions here – you will want to read over the questions and instructions to see what information you need before completing it.

RI Nonprofits and COVID-19: A Survey on Organizational Impacts, Needs, and Supports (21 questions; estimated time to complete survey: 20 minutes). The purpose of this survey is for RISCA and other partners to understand the impact of the pandemic on the entire Rhode Island nonprofit ecosystem.

This survey is a partnership with Grantmakers Council of RI, Fio Partners, RISCA, and other RI-based funders. Many community partners are distributing this survey, so if you receive multiple invitations to complete it, you only need to do so once (we will be sharing response data). As funding organizations are considering how to best support the nonprofit sector through grants, technical assistance, and learning, we want to make sure arts and culture organizations needs are included in their assessment. See survey and instructions here.

We have crafted these surveys to complement each other and not duplicate questions. In a few cases, RISCA’s survey digs deeper on a related question asked in the RI Nonprofits survey.

It’s important to remind everyone that we do not – as of early September – have a state budget for the fiscal year that started on July 1st. We have no idea what the state budget will look like, but we do know that the State of Rhode Island is facing significant financial challenges. This, too, will have an impact on what we are able to do to support the Rhode Island arts and culture community.

For now, please stay safe! We value and appreciate all that you contribute to the cultural life of our state.

Sincerely,
Randall Rosenbaum

RISCA Commits to Improving Communications for the Arts Sector – New Position Made Possible Through Federal Funding

With funding support from our federal partners at the National Endowment for the ArtsRISCA is currently looking to hire a person who can direct planning and communication efforts that support the Rhode Island arts community and the work of the state arts council. 

During the past year and a half, we’ve been traveling the state, listening to the needs of artists and cultural workers, arts organizations and arts educators, as we put together our latest Strategic Plan. Time and again we heard you say we needed to increase the visibility of the arts – and the work of the State Arts Council – in ways that acknowledge the important role art plays in the economic, educational and cultural vitality of our state and its residents. This priority found its way into our Strategic Plan, which was adopted in May of this year. 

When the pandemic struck, Governor Raimondo focused the State’s energy on controlling the spread of the virus. She was also concerned about the social and emotional health and well-being of Rhode Islanders. She came to RISCA to explore ways the arts could be more “present” in people’s lives. The Arts Council undertook a number of initiatives, including #RIArts, an Artist Relief Fund, direct support for artists and arts administrators on how to navigate the crisis, summer programming for kids through a collaboration with the State Department of Education, and other efforts. 

We quickly found that our ability to amplify these programs was hampered by a lack of capacity to plan and implement cohesive communications. This became even more challenging as RISCA staff time was channeled toward direct help to those impacted by the crisis. We circled back to our Strategic Plan, heard what you told us, and knew we needed to take our communications efforts to the next level. 

Part of the Coronavirus Relief Fund earlier this year, championed by our RI Congressional Delegation, included funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. While most of Rhode Island’s portion went to support our nonprofit arts community, funds were also available to create a Senior Administrative Aide position tasked with communications related to COVID relief and agency/community visibility, for use during the crisis and beyond. 

Thirty-nine state arts agencies have a dedicated communications position. We are now recruiting for such a position.  If you have a background in communications and experience in marketing and communication in an arts or arts-related field, consider joining our team.  For information and to apply, go to apply.ri.gov and search for Senior Administrative Aide.  

Randall Rosenbaum
Executive Director
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

For Arts and Culture Organizations: One-on-One Check-ins with Todd – How’s It Going?

From RISCA’s Organizations Program Director, Todd Trebour:

As the pandemic continues, I wanted to hear from you all how you and your organizations are faring, and how I/RISCA can be helpful this fall and spring with our programs and services. I will definitely provide any help, information, and ideas I can in our conversation, and am happy to talk through any tough problems you are facing or program ideas you are developing as well. The hour is yours to use as you wish! Our conversations will be confidential.

Check out the sign up schedule here. When you sign up, be sure to provide your email address and phone number. I will follow-up with details. If none of the time listed work for you, email me at todd.trebour@arts.ri.gov and we can definitely find an alternative time.