Governor Raimondo’s FY2021 Budget for the Arts


On January 16th Governor Gina Raimondo presented her budget proposal to the General Assembly for Fiscal Year 2021.  It was a challenging budget in many respects, given the State’s financial situation. We’re grateful to the Governor for her support of the arts. Here is what she proposed for RISCA in the coming year.

Grant funding

Governor Raimondo recommends a hold-even budget for discretionary grant funding for the arts.  Total grant funding for the coming year will be $1.62 million in state and federal funds.

Workforce Development in the Arts

Governor Raimondo recommends an additional $40,000 in support of Year Two of RISCA’s Workforce Development in the Arts project.  Over the past year, we have piloted a workforce development program in cooperation with New Urban Arts, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, AS220, the Steel Yard, and Roger Williams University. The pilot was modeled as a three-credit college course and participants spent a semester learning together. The goal of this program is to equip young artists with the business and professional skills they need to have a career in the arts.

Capital funding for arts and cultural facilities

Starting in June 2019, RISCA collaborated with members of the Rhode Island arts and culture community to put together a $40 million, multi-year request for capital funding for the arts. The request was submitted to the Governor’s Office later in the summer for review.

After full consideration of a number of factors, and advocating by Trinity Rep and the RI Philharmonic on behalf of the arts and culture community, Governor Raimondo included $6.0 million in the “Housing and Infrastructure” bond initiative to support capital projects in historic preservation and the arts.

The proposal breaks down as follows:

  • $1.0 million to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for capital improvement grants to historic properties.
  • $1.0 million to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) for capital improvement grants to non-profit cultural organizations.
  • $2.5 million to Trinity Repertory Company for capital improvements to their campus in DownCity Providence.
  • $1.5 million to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School for capital improvements to their campus in East Providence.

As we’ve said many times before, the arts are a smart investment for the State of Rhode Island. We get much more back as a return on that investment: in jobs, dollars for the Rhode Island economy, education for our young people, and a great quality of life. We’d like to thank Governor Raimondo for her continued support of the arts, particularly in light of the budget challenges Rhode Island is facing this year.

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