Artist Fellowships

To apply, click here to access the RISCA grant portal for individuals.

Fellowships encourage the creative development of artists by enabling them to set aside time to pursue their work and achieve specific creative and career goals. 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.

Grant Amounts

One $5,000 Fellowship and one $1,000 Fellowship Merit Award are granted in each discipline annually.

Deadlines

  • April 1, 11:59pm, for:
    • Crafts.
    • Film & Video.
    • Folk Arts.
    • Fiction.
    • Poetry.
    • Playwriting / Screenwriting.
    • Photography.
    • Three-Dimensional Art.
  • October 1, 11:59pm, for:
    • Choreography.
    • Drawing & Printmaking.
    • Music Composition.
    • New Genres.
    • Painting.

If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be 11:59 PM the next business day. Any hard copy support materials must be received at the RISCA offices by 4:30 pm of the appropriate day. Postmarks do not apply; materials postmarked by the deadline date but received on a later date will not be counted as part of your application. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Contact

Mollie Flanagan, Individual Artists Program Director, 401-222-3882.

Eligibility

To receive this grant you must meet these requirements:

  • At least eighteen years of age.
  • Not a high school, undergraduate or graduate student studying art or arts-related subjects.
  • United States citizen or Green Card holder.
  • Legal Rhode Island resident from at least a year before the application date to when grant is made (more information available here).
  • Be the primary creative force behind the work. The work you submit must be created by you, as an individual artist, not as part of a collective, group, or duo.
  • Submit work completed within three years of applying. (Choreography, Film & Video, and Music Composition may submit work completed within five years.)
  • 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.

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. Prior recipients of RISCA funds may not apply unless all past due final reports for previous grants and Fellowships have been submitted.

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

Funding Considerations

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.

Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis. No applicant is guaranteed funding at any level, even if all basic criteria have been met.

The Council reserves the right to increase or decrease either the amount or the number of awards granted in any given year.

What RISCA Will and Will Not Fund

Council support may be used for expenses related to a specific project, such as production, presentation, marketing, and reasonable administrative expenses necessary for carrying out the project.

Council support may not be used for:

  • Bricks and mortar activities and capital improvements, or for the purchase of permanent equipment.
  • Eliminating or reducing existing debt, or for contributions to an endowment fund.
  • Fundraising efforts, such as social events or benefits.
  • Prizes and awards.
  • Hospitality expenses, such as food and beverages for openings or receptions.
  • Under no circumstances will the purchase of alcoholic beverages be supported.
  • Expenses incurred or activities occurring prior to July 1 or after June 30 in the fiscal year in which the grant has been awarded.
  • Applications where the purpose is to “regrant” or award funds using some or all of the RISCA grant funds.
  • Activities which are part of a graduate or undergraduate degree program, or for which academic credit is received.
  • Applications for projects that proselytize or promote religious activities, or which take place as part of a religious service.
  • Performances and exhibitions not available to the general public, or which are inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Review Process

The application review process follows approximately this schedule:

  • Applications are due.
  • Applications are checked by staff for accuracy, completeness and, determine compliance with eligibility and submission requirements. RISCA staff may call upon applicants or grantees to furnish proof of their eligibility. Staff then prepare the application for review by an advisory panel.
  • A panel consisting of one in-state member, one out-of-state member, and a third regional (not to exclude Rhode Island) member chosen for their involvement, mastery, and accomplishments in the particular arts discipline reviews each applicant’s artistic work samples. RISCA employs a blind review process designed to protect the anonymity of the applicant and to guarantee assessment purely on the basis of the artistic merit of the artworks submitted – the panelists will not know the identity, background, or experience of any applicants.
  • In the crafts, 3 dimensional art, photography, drawing & printmaking, and painting categories, the panelists will view work sample submissions on a large television screen in the RISCA offices. For all other categories, the panelists will review the work sample submissions on their personal computers ahead of the panel review session, and then look at it on a large television screen in RISCA offices while making their final decisions.
  • The panel will recommend a Fellowship Winner and a Fellowship Merit Award Winner. 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.
  • Notification of grant awards will be made approximately three months after the application deadline.

Be aware that there is no guarantee that the process will move according to this schedule, and it may take more time to review and award grants at certain times of the year.
Once a grant has been awarded, applicants should understand that the grant processing procedure is lengthy. In some 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 quality, as defined within the context of each individual arts discipline. Since panels assess Fellowship applications solely on the review of work samples such as manuscripts, jpegs, and recordings, applicants should submit the best quality work samples possible. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that work samples are prepared and submitted adequately to RISCA for panel review. 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.
Persons with disabilities have the right to access all RISCA-funded programs. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified person with a disability … shall solely by reason of their disability be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a completed Artist Fellowship Grant application form via https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=artsrischolarship.

Support Materials

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. For example, if a painting is on a three-dimensional surface or if a musical composition incorporates sections of improvisation, that may be briefly noted.

Work samples must be prepared and submitted according to the specifications listed below. Because the review process is completely anonymous, the fellowship applicant’s name must not be appear within or on any images, videos, manuscripts, or sound files that the panel will review.

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

Crafts include, but are not limited to, the manipulation of materials such as clay, wood, metals, fiber, glass, etc. Submit a minimum of 8, maximum of 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

For works such as pencil, ink, charcoal, conte crayon, pastels, lithography, aquatint, mezzotint, woodcut, linocut, etching, intaglio, monotype, silk-screen, and all other printmaking techniques, submit a minimum of 8, maximum of 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. Manuscripts should be presented in professionally formatted, typewritten form; photocopies from journals or books will not be accepted. 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. Manuscripts should be presented in professionally formatted, typewritten form; photocopies from journals or books will not be accepted. 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 complete full-length play or screenplay, completed in the last three years. Manuscripts should be presented in professionally formatted, typewritten form; photocopies from journals or books will not be accepted.

Music Composition

Submit a minimum of two and maximum of three 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 a minimum of 8 and maximum of 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 a minimum of 8 and maximum of 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 a minimum of 8 and maximum of 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

This category includes work that does not fall within the other Fellowship categories. 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.) via submission guidelines below. Visual art should be submitted as up to 10 jpegs uploaded to the online application. New Genres is the only Fellowship Category that may include a written statement within the application. The purpose of this statement is to clarify the scope and nature of works submitted and may not include personal information or an artistic statement.

Formatting

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

Submission

For  submissions of video or audio that are too large to attach to the online application use one of these options

  • Mail or drop off a flashdrive to Mollie Flanagan, RISCA, One Capitol Hill, 3rd Floor, Providence, RI 02908 by 4:30 pm on the day of the deadline
  • Send via Vimeo (send password if needed, allow for work to be downloaded)
  • Share a google drive folder named with your name and the category you are applying for with support-material@arts.ri.gov with full permissions.

Grant Award Requirements

Recipients must acknowledge their RISCA support in a prominent manner in all materials and announcements, both audio and visual, related to the performance, exhibition, etc. mounted as a result of their support from RISCA. Recipients must also display, in a prominent manner, the RISCA logo in association with the acknowledgment. Guidelines and logos here.

Final Report

All Fellowship and Merit Award recipients are required to submit a final report providing an overview of their activities during the year of their grant award by no later than July 31 the year following their award. For example, if you received an award at the April or October 2017 deadline, your final report is due July 31, 2018.

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 completion of the grant period.

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.

Limits of Liability

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is not responsible for damage or loss of materials submitted to its office, whether or not such damage or loss is caused by negligence of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, its employees, or agents.

All supporting materials submitted must be duplications of work. No original or single editions of works will be accepted.

Hard copies of support materials will be mailed back to an applicant only if a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage is provided (with the exception of manuscripts which will not be returned). Support Materials from applications without a self-addressed stamped envelope will be held for sixty (60) days following the award decision and may be picked up during normal business hours, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, at the Council offices. See the Assurances section at the end of the application for additional information on RISCA’s use of support materials from funded projects.

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