This granting program is currently closed.

This grant program is currently closed, and is in transition to a new, more permanent structure.

The Artist Relief Fund is to help Rhode Island artists who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to afford basic necessities like housing, food, and healthcare. The Fund was managed by the Alliance of Artists Communities who is handling donations and disbursement of grants.

The fund was initially seeded with $150,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts in April of 2020. The fund has received additional funds through the CARES Act, additional RISCA funds, and private donations. Since then, we have awarded 828 small grants totaling $535,195.

We opened Phase 3 of the Artist Relief Fund for applications on June 1, 2021. For this third, and likely final, phase of the Artist Relief Fund, we expect to award approximately 250 grants of $800 to arts and culture workers in the state of Rhode Island. All applications will be screened for eligibility, and then all eligible applications will be selected for funding via a lottery system. 

To donate: Please consider supporting the people behind the arts and culture in Rhode Island by donating to the fund:

To apply: Sign up through the Artist Grant Portal.

To be eligible, you must be able to answer “Yes” to all of these questions.

  • I have been a Rhode Island resident for at least one year and will be a resident upon receipt of any grant funding.
  • I am a practicing artist, culture worker, or arts administrator capable of providing examples of creative work made, curated, or otherwise administered.
  • I am at least 18 years of age.
  • I am not currently enrolled in a degree-granting program (e.g. Bachelor’s or Master’s; if pursuing a Ph.D., coursework must be completed).
  • I am experiencing financial hardship due to a loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I prove eligibility?

  • Submit a w9 with your Rhode Island mailing address.
  • Provide either an artist résumé, a work sample, or a social media account or website featuring your artistic/cultural work. 
  • Verify that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Verify that you are not currently enrolled in a degree-granting program.
  • List your immediate anticipated expenses that you cannot afford.

How and where can I apply?

How will grantees be selected and how will funds be disbursed?

  • Grants will be made by a lottery system. Your application will be screened for eligibility, and all eligible applications will go into a lottery. Grants will be awarded from this pool until all funds are expended. We expect to award approximately 250 grants in the third phase, in June 2021.
  • Applications will be screened for eligibility as they are submitted, and the deadline for application is  June 14th at 8pm.
  • Grant allocations will be determined and applicants notified by the end of the day, Friday, June 18th.
  • If you receive funding, you will receive an email confirmation. You will need to e-sign your grant agreement form and submit it by 9am on Wednesday, June 23rd.
  • Grant payments will begin on June 21st and continue until all funds have been distributed, either by mailed check or Paypal.

What can I use the funding for?

  • This is unrestricted funding designed to support immediate basic needs, like rent/mortgage, utilities, food, insurance, and medical care.

Why do you require a W9?

  • A W9 is required by the IRS in order for the Alliance of Artists Communities to distribute these grants. Collecting this information at the application phase will allow us to distribute funds more quickly to selected grantees.
  • RISCA and The Alliance of Artists Communities will not retain sensitive information (e.g. Social Security numbers) beyond the time frame required by its auditors and so that we may produce required 1099 forms for grantees and their tax reporting obligations at the end of the year.

How do I complete the W9 form requirement?

  • The federal W9 can be downloaded from the IRS here.
  • Please print the first page and fill it out completely with your signature. Scan or take a picture of the signed document and submit it through the application portal or email it to
  • Applicants can also fill out and sign their W9 digitally using Adobe Acrobat.

What security measures are in place for the information I’m providing in this application?

  • Your W9 will be sent to the Alliance of Artist Communities via a password protected dropbox, not through email or mail. The only people with access to your W9 will be Mollie Flanagan at RISCA and Stephanie Storch at the Alliance of Artist Communities.

If I’m awarded a grant, will my name be made public?

  • While RISCA will not publish a list of recipients in the December phase of this program, since the funding is coming from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, we are required to disclose recipients at their request.

I received an ARF grant already in either or both April/May 2021 or December 2020, can I apply for another grant in the Third Phase?

  • Yes.

Application Questions (PDF)