The Artist Relief Fund is to help Rhode Island artists who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund has a rolling deadline. The Fund is managed by the Alliance of Artists Communities.

UPDATE: On Friday, May 1st, we temporarily closed applications to the fund. For more details, view the full statement here. The partners will meet in mid-August to assess and plan for a second round of grants. Stay tuned to RISCA’s e-newsletter, social media, and this website for updates.

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. Since launching the fund has received over $65,000 in private contributions. Together, we have awarded 418 small grants totaling $206,635.

To donate: Please consider supporting the people behind the arts and culture in Rhode Island by donating to the fund: https://www.artistcommunities.org/arf.

Grants up to $1,000 will be awarded and disbursed weekly and will be based on eligibility and immediate financial need. Grants will be disbursed until the fund is exhausted.

RISCA, in cooperation with the Rhode Island Foundation and the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, launched this $100,000 fund in on April 7, 2020.

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 lost income related to your arts practice.
  • List your immediate anticipated expenses that you cannot afford.

How and where can I apply?

Should I apply more than once if I have not been funded?

  • Yes. You will need to submit a new application if you are notified that you were not funded. This is to ensure up to date information, as well as giving applicants the opportunity to address feedback on their application.

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

  • Grants will be made on a first-come-first-serve basis, with a focus on immediate financial need, until the fund is exhausted or replenished.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a three-person panel including RISCA and ACT staff as well as an independent Rhode Island-based arts administrator, for eligibility and immediate financial need around basic necessities.
  • Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted, with the weekly cut off on Tuesdays at midnight to be considered for the current week’s funding.
  • Grant allocations will be determined and applicants notified on Friday.
  • If you receive funding, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • Checks will be cut and mailed on Monday.

What can I use the funding for?

  • This is unrestricted funding that you may use for any kind of relief. You do not need to reveal how you spend the money. This fund is intended to help artists and culture workers experiencing financial losses or hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is this award taxable?

  • Yes. This grant is considered taxable income by the IRS so you will need to pay taxes on it. Each person’s tax obligations will differ based on individual circumstances. You may want to consult a tax professional as you prepare your taxes for 2020.

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 Mollie.Flanagan@arts.ri.gov.
  • 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?

  • No. Personal information (including your name) will not be disclosed or publicized.

Am I able to get this grant more than once?

  • Maybe. Due to the magnitude of this crisis, we anticipate many more requests for funding than there are funds to distribute. That being said, we will re-evaluate this in 30 days and may open the application for a second round depending on need, available funds, and availability of other financial support systems.

Application Questions (PDF)