Artist Fellowships

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for individuals.

Click here to see fellowships awarded at the April 1, 2019 deadline.

Fellowships are unrestricted awards that encourage the creative development of artists by enabling them to set aside time to pursue their work and achieve specific creative and career goals. One $5,000 fellowship and one $1,000 merit are awarded in each of 13 disciplines each year. Fellowship and Merit awards are based solely on artistic merit, and are highly competitive. Awards are selected through an anonymous panel review of submitted work samples. Artists are encouraged to apply when they have created a substantial body of work that they are prepared to present in a professional manner.

If you have any questions about this program or the application, please contact Mollie Flanagan at mollie.flanagan@arts.ri.gov.

Deadlines

Fellowship deadlines are at 11:59pm on April 1 and October 1 of each year, based on discipline:

April 1 deadline:

  • Crafts
  • Film & Video
  • Folk Arts (see separate requirements in the Folk Arts Fellowship Guidelines)
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Playwriting/Screenwriting
  • Photography
  • Three-Dimensional Art

October 1 deadline:

  • Choreography
  • Drawing & Printmaking
  • Music Composition
  • New Genres
  • Painting

If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be 11:59pm on the next business day. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Eligibility

  • You must be a United States citizen or Green Card holder and a current, legal resident of the State of Rhode Island.
  • You must have established legal residence in Rhode Island for a minimum of twelve consecutive months prior to the date of application and you must be a current legal resident of the State of Rhode Island at the time that grant funds are disbursed. Rhode Island State Law (§44-30-5) defines a “resident” as someone “who is domiciled in this state” or “who is not domiciled in this state but maintains a permanent place of abode in this state and is in this state for an aggregate of more than one hundred eighty-three (183) days of the taxable year.” If an individual selected for a grant award is no longer a resident of the State of Rhode Island when funds are to be disbursed, the grant award may be withdrawn.
  • You must be at least eighteen years of age.
  • Students attending high school or students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in an arts discipline or an arts-related subject area at the time of application may not apply.
  • You must be the primary creative force behind the work and the work you submit must be created by you, as an individual artist, not as part of a collective, group, or duo.
  • You may only submit work you consider completed, works in progress are not eligible.
  • You may submit the same work samples for a Fellowship and a Project Grant for Individuals, if you are applying for both.
  • You may not submit the same work samples for Fellowship applications in two different disciplines. To apply for more than one Fellowship Award, you must submit completely different artworks for each application. Different excerpts from the same piece do not constitute separate work. Work samples or materials used as the basis for awarding a past Fellowship or Merit Award may not be used in a new application in any Fellowship category.

Prior recipients of RISCA funds may not apply unless all past due final reports for previous grants and Fellowships have been submitted. Fellowship grant recipients will be ineligible to apply in the same category for two deadlines following receipt of an award (example, if you applied on October 1, 2017 and received a fellowship, you may not apply again until October 1, 2020). Recipients of Merit Awards may apply at subsequent deadlines.

RISCA staff, Council members, and their spouses and immediate relatives are ineligible to apply for RISCA funds.

Funding Conditions

The following conditions for funding apply to all Fellowship applicants:

  • One $5,000 Fellowship and one $1,000 Fellowship Merit Award are granted in each discipline annually. The Council reserves the right to increase or decrease either the amount or the number of awards granted in any given year.
  • If you receive a grant, you must credit RISCA on all marketing materials. Grants awarded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts are provided by the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, on behalf of the citizens of Rhode Island. For that reason, grant recipients must credit the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts on all printed material where funders and supporters are listed and on all printed programs (see Grant Award Requirements below for details).
  • All RISCA grant awards are contingent upon the availability of funds from the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. For example, any delays in passing the state budget will affect the timing of your grant payments being processed.
  • Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis. No applicant is guaranteed funding at any level, even if all basic criteria have been met.

Review Process

Once the application deadlines passes, no alterations or additions may be made to your application. Applications are reviewed by a peer panel based on the contents of your application only.

  • Review of applications by RISCA staff. RISCA staff reviews each application for compliance with eligibility and submission requirements. If RISCA staff detects issues, they may call upon applicants or grantees to furnish proof of their eligibility.
  • Review of grant applications by panel. A panel consisting of three experts in the specific discipline- chosen for their expertise, diversity in artistic style and practice, and accomplishments in the art field – reviews the work samples and work list.
    • For film & video, fiction, poetry, playwriting/screenwriting, choreography, music composition, and new genres materials will be reviewed by panelists on their own, in advance of the in person panel day.
    • For crafts, photography, three-dimensional art, drawing & printmaking, and painting, all materials will be viewed on a large monitor in a slide show on the in person panel day.
  • In-person panel review. The panel meets in person at RISCA offices to discuss each application and select the recipients. Panels are strongly encouraged to recommend awards, but reserve the right to decline to make a recommendation if they feel that no application warrants a Fellowship or a Merit Award.
  • Council review of panel recommendations. The panel’s recommendations are presented to the Governor-appoint Council which oversees RISCA for approval.
  • Notification of grant awards. Notifications will be made approximately 3 months after the application deadline. Be aware that there is no guarantee that the process will move according to this schedule, as RISCA’s grant awards are dependent on both federal and state funding.

Once a grant has been awarded, applicants should understand that the grant processing procedure is lengthy. In many cases, grant funds may not be received prior to the start of a project. Applicants should be aware of this possibility and plan their cash flow accordingly.

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of artistic merit, as defined within the context of each individual arts discipline and by the panelists. Decisions are based solely on the submitted work samples, panelists do not receive any information about the artist. Please note that an entirely new panel is convened each year, and panelists can only serve on any RISCA panel once every three years.

Access for People with Disabilities

Applicants who need assistance completing an application and/or require an interpreter should contact RISCA well in advance of the deadline. LARGE PRINT GUIDELINES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Work Samples

Fellowships are awarded through an anonymous review process, based only on the work samples. Work samples will be reviewed in the order they are submitted, which should match the Work Samples List. In the Work Samples List, include the title, medium, dimensions, year of completion, and additional information as required below. If any other clarification about each artwork is necessary for the panel to understand what they are seeing or hearing, no more than one line per work sample should be added for clarification. You many not include statements of meaning or an artist statement. You may not include your name, publication, performance, or exhibition history, or any other identifying information on the work samples or work sample list.

RISCA encourages the submission of work in languages other than English. However, if non-English literary works are submitted, the applicant must also provide an English translation of each work, along with information identifying the translator.

Choreography

Samples may include any dance discipline (such as modern dance, ballet, hip-hop, Latin dance, etc), but must consist of a deliberately composed dance sequence which is part of a meaningful whole. The Choreography Fellowship awards accomplishment in the art of choreography rather than performance. Submit two to three works completed within the past five years. The Work Samples List must include title, year of completion, duration of total piece, and number of performers for each piece. If applicable, also include title and composer of the musical score.

Crafts

This discipline includes both functional and non-functional crafts, including, but not limited to, the manipulation of materials such as clay, wood, metals, fiber, and glass. Submit between 8 and 10 jpegs, up to 2MB each, of work completed in the last 3 years. Detail or installation views may be included, however the application may not exceed 10 images total.

Drawing and Printmaking

This discipline includes pencil, ink, charcoal, conte crayon, pastels, lithography, aquatint, mezzotint, woodcut, linocut, etching, intaglio, monotype, silk-screen, and all other drawing and printmaking techniques, not limited to two dimensional objects. Submit between 8 and 10 jpegs, up to 2MB each, of work completed in the last 3 years. Detail or installation views may be included, however the application may not exceed 10 images total.

Film and Video

Submit up to 15 minutes of total footage, from work completed in the last five years. The Work Samples List must include the title, year of completion, any special techniques used, and the applicant’s role/s in each film. The name of the applicant should not appear within the films themselves; please block out your name in the opening and closing credits.

Poetry

Manuscripts should consist of a maximum 15 pages, containing work completed in the last three years. Copies from journals or books will not be accepted, and the manuscript must not include your name or any publication information. The Work Samples List must include whether the work is part of a larger text, part of a series, a complete manuscript, etc.

Fiction

Manuscripts should consist of a maximum of 30 pages of a complete work, excerpt of a novel, or short stories, completed in the last three years. Copies from journals or books will not be accepted, and the manuscript must not include your name or any publication information. The Work Samples List must include whether the work is part of a larger text, part of a series, a complete manuscript, etc.

Playwriting/Screenwriting

Manuscripts should consist of a play or screenplay, completed in the last three years.  Copies from journals or books will not be accepted, and the manuscript must not include your name or any publication or performance information.

Music Composition

Submit a minimum of two and maximum of three audio files of musical works representing original compositions completed within the past 5 years. Corresponding musical scores, sheet music, or lyric sheets may be uploaded as PDFs, your name may not appear anywhere on the score.

Painting

Submit between 8 and 10 jpegs, up to 2MB each, of work completed in the last three years. Detail or installation views may be included, however the application may not exceed 10 images total.

Photography

Submit between 8 and 10 jpegs, up to 2MB each, of work completed in the last three years. Detail or installation views may be included, however the application may not exceed 10 images total.

Three-Dimensional Art

Submit between 8 and 10 jpegs, up to 2MB each, of work completed in the last three years. Detail or installation views may be included, however the application may not exceed 10 images total.

New Genres

New Genres may integrate more than one arts discipline; work may be interactive or incorporate new technologies and innovative processes. It includes, but is not limited to: performance art, conceptual modes, audio art (other than music composition), multi-media works, and other experimental interdisciplinary art forms. The applicant must be the primary artistic force behind the work, not a performer or interpreter of the work of another artist. Applicants should submit documentation of a minimum of two and maximum of three pieces (including music, dance, film, etc.) completed in the last 3 years via submission guidelines below. Visual art should be submitted as up to 10 jpegs uploaded to the online application. This application many include a statement that describes how a piece works and/or is experienced by an in-person viewer; it may not include any explanation of meaning, intent, or artistic statement.

Work Sample Formatting and Submission

Format:

  • All text documents as PDFs
  • Sound files as MP3s
  • Visual images as JPEGs
  • Videos as MP4s

Naming Conventions:

  • Name your work samples as follows: Number of Sample_Title of Piece.jpg. Example: 1_Sunshine.jpg
  • Name your work samples list: WorkSampleList_Title of First Piece

Submission:

For video and audio submissions that are over 2 mb:

  • Send via Vimeo:
    • Send password, if necessary
    • Select the option that allows the work to be downloaded
  • Create a google drive folder and share it with support-material@arts.ri.gov, with full permissions. The google drive folder name must include your name and which category you are applying for, and please email Flanagan@arts.ri.gov to confirm receipt.

Fellowship Award Requirements

  • You must acknowledge RISCA support in a prominent manner in all materials and announcements, both audio and visual, related to the grant program. Grant recipients must also display, in a prominent manner, the RISCA logo in association with that acknowledgment. Further detail regarding acknowledgement can be found at https://risca.online/grants/public-acknowledgement/.
  • You must submit a final grant report to RISCA. All grantees are required to submit a final report detailing their grant-related activities no later than the July 31 following the grant cycle. You will not be able to apply for another RISCA grant if you have an overdue final report. This form is submitted online through the grant portal.
  • You must keep records of receipts and expenditures related to the funded activity. Be prepared to make your records available to RISCA if requested by RISCA. All grantees are subject to periodic audit or review by RISCA or the State of Rhode Island and must retain fiscal records for a period of seven (7) years following the grant period.
  • RISCA reserves the right to use any submitted materials for promotional purposes. This includes any text, photographs, audio, or video submitted as part of funded grant applications for limited non-commercial educational or promotional use in publications or other media produced, used or contracted by RISCA including, but not limited to: brochures, invitations, newsletters, postcards, websites, etc.

Benefits for Grantees

  • RISCA wants to help promote you! If you have a public event, receive press or accolades for your work, or other exciting news, submit information to RISCA via this Event and Publicity Submission Form: https://goo.gl/forms/zT1jDLShn2NVEfIX2. This will allow RISCA to post and promote your event via RISCA’s social media platforms and (possibly) email newsletter.
  • RISCA wants to support you in this – and future! – projects. If you have any questions about your grant, or your panel comments, please feel free to reach out RISCA staff. If you run into any issues in executing your project, please also feel free to reach out to RISCA staff. We want you to succeed – and we know things happen. We can help you troubleshoot and come up with solutions

Tax Liability

RISCA recommends that individuals concerned about tax liability regarding their grant award follow the advice of their accountant. You will not receive tax documents from RISCA for this award.

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