Arts and Health Grant

Replaces Project Grants in Healthcare

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for organizations.

Application Deadline: April 3 by 11:59 pm
Who may apply: Nonprofit* or fiscally sponsored organizations based in Rhode Island.
*Eligible nonprofit organizations may include health-based, social service, faith-based, community-based,
or arts and cultural organizations.
Award Amount: Up to $9,000.
Project Location: Health or community spaces in Rhode Island.
Project Period: July 1 – June 30 (Project period is based on RISCA fiscal year July 1 – June 30)

The Arts and Health Grant supports art programs and artist residencies with health-related goals that take place in health-based or community spaces. The grant funds both “non-clinical arts engagements that promote and facilitate individual health” and “public arts activities that provide a public health benefit in Rhode Island communities”.

The arts have the capacity to transform the lives of individuals and communities, contributing to health, well-being, and overall resilience. This grant program acknowledges that arts and culture facilitate the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional aspects of individual healing, and that when applied to public health, promote healthy environments and policies in communities by fostering empathy, awareness, and social cohesion through shared narrative and aesthetic experiences.


  • Participatory arts programs or artist residencies are the primary focus of the project.
  • Identified health need/challenge with a clear plan to deliver health-related outcomes for individuals
    and/or communities via arts-based experiences.
  • Activities take place in health-based or community spaces.
  • Participating artists are Rhode Island residents and paid for their services.
  • Activities are accessible and provide an opportunity for meaningful participation for people of all abilities, and representative of diverse identities and communities.
  • For projects specific to health: Utilize the arts to enhance the quality of life and create an environment conducive to healing for individuals, communities, caregivers, or staff. Artists need to partner or consult with a health professional(s) and/or subject matter expert(s).
    – Sample: Senior center offers an interactive music program once a week over 6-months to stimulate memory and cognitive awareness for adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • For programs specific to Public Health: Utilize the arts to build healthy communities for all Rhode Islanders by generating awareness and using creative strategies to address the social determinants of health. Artists need to partner with a public health agency or social service or community-based organization.
    Sample: A weekend arts-intensive workshop for Opioid Task Force, with follow-up visits by the workshop artist(s) to help staff incorporate their learning into community health practice.


  • Develop arts programming with an understanding of the expressed needs of the community to be served.
  • Connection to Rhode Island State Arts/Health Plan:
    • Patient Care – employs arts as part of the treatment plan
    • Healing Environments – physical space design as well as what happens in these spaces
    • Caring for Caregivers – professional, para-professional, informal (family/friends)
    • Education – improving clinicians’ diagnostic tools, empathy, resiliency, and observation and communication skills
    • Community well-being – using the arts to address public health concerns such as health literacy, health equity, and trauma resiliency in public areas

RI Arts and Health State Plan:
RIDOH Strategic Framework:


  • Arts and Health refers to the practice of applying arts initiatives to health problems and health promoting settings (National Arts and Health Framework, P.2) and the use of the arts to promote, maintain, or improve health and well-being (Davies, C. et al., 2016).
  • Arts in Healthcare is a multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience by connecting people with the arts and artists practices in the healthcare environment.
  • Arts in Public Health refers to professional artists practicing in collaboration with public health professionals or communities in service to improving health.
  • Behavioral health describes the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind and spirit. Behavioral health looks at how behaviors impact someone’s health — physical and mental.
  • Creative Therapies is the use of art forms to help treat certain health conditions.
  • Health* is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
  • Non-clinical refers to patient care supports that do not provide direct diagnosis, treatment, testing, or care for a patient.
  • Participatory Arts means the learners should be participating in the art making, not observing a presentation of the art form by the teaching artist. Arts learning projects must be experiential and focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process.
  • Public health* refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focuses on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases.
  • Social determinants of health (SDH)* are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems. The SDH have an important influence on health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.

*As defined by The World Health Organization


  • Have a registered SAM-UEI (Unique Entity Identifier).
  • Provide a 501(c)3 determination letter for our organization (or from a fiscal sponsor).
  • Provide an IRS form 990 or 990-N* upload.
  • Have submitted all required reports on past Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grants.

Grant applications will be evaluated with the following criteria:

Health Impact, Access, and Engagement (50%)

  • Thoughtfully conceived project concept, with the capacity to deliver appreciable health and/or public health benefit.
  • Clearly describes target audience/population to be served and intended health benefit.
  • Project is appropriate and aligns with the participants’ needs and abilities. Project plan anticipates and removes barriers to provide physical and programmatic access to individuals of all abilities and underserved populations.
  • Shows evidence of engagement with health professionals and/or subject matter experts and/or community partners as defined by the project.
  • Shows evidence of impact as defined by the scope of the project.
    • Health:
      • Evidence of integrating the arts to promote wellness and healing—facilitating the physical, cognitive and social emotional aspects of individual and collective healing and well-being.
    • Public Health:
      • Incorporates activities that impart a clear understanding/experience of public health benefit.
      • Utilize the arts to generate awareness and health-related strategies to build healthy communities for all Rhode Islanders by addressing the social determinants of health.
  • If Applicable: Professional development and education opportunities for healthcare staff that further understanding of the power of arts-based approaches to facilitate health, well-being, and equity.

Artistic Engagement and Relevancy (25%)

  • Artistic excellence and merit are evident through its artistic engagement and relevancy.
  • Artist engagement is central to the project.
  • Evidence that Rhode Island practicing artist/s can provide relevant and respectful engagement with the identified population.
    • Health: Artistic experiences are centered in achieving health goals.
    • Public Health: Artistic experiences are centered in achieving public health goals.

Feasibility (25%)

  • The application clearly defines the project: What will be done? By whom. The population that will benefit. When and where activities will take place.
  • The applicant has clear definition of success and specific metrics to measure success.
  • Project collaborators present appropriate qualifications and experience with defined project.
  • Budgets are clear, detailed and accurate; the planned allocation of funds supports project goals.


RISCA uses the online application system, Foundant. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one as an organization. Please read the instructions and questions carefully and double-check that all attachments have been uploaded. We recommend you keep a copy for your files.

To access the grant portal:

Deadline: The deadline to apply for this program is 11:59 p.m. on April 3. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Note: If a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the revised deadline will be 11:59 p.m. on the next business day.


Use this checklist to guide you through the application process, from gathering your information to hitting SUBMIT. The checklist represents an entire application, and the order in which the materials should be packaged. All items are required as applicable:

____ Fiscal Sponsor Letter (if applicable)
____ 501(c)3 determination letter for your organization (or from a fiscal sponsor)
____ Organization’s registered SAM-UEI (Unique Entity Identifier)
____ For 501(c)3 nonprofits only: IRS form 990 or 990-N*


____ Project Budget Form (Must be the RISCA AHG Budget Template)
____ Project Timeline
____ CVs or resume of project leader(s) and artists involved
____ Artistic Work Samples (may include links to artist website or Creative Ground profile)
____ Letter(s) of Support by community members and/or key partners relevant to proposed project.
____ Sample(s) of evaluation forms or assessment rubrics related to project success and health outcomes
____ Optional Upload Section
____ Part 9 – ASSURANCES


RISCA staff are here to help you with your application and the application process. We want to help you succeed! Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of RISCA’s grant information sessions and discuss their proposals with the appropriate program director before writing and submitting applications. The grant program director can review and provide feedback on drafts of narrative questions and budgets if submitted by email well in advance of the application deadline. Applicants should also review the legal and reporting requirements relevant to State Arts Council grants.

Once the application deadline passes, no alterations or additions may be made to your application.  Applications are reviewed and evaluated by a peer panel based on the contents of your application only. Because RISCA is a state agency granting out taxpayer funds, RISCA staff does not make any funding decisions: panels of Rhode Island residents do.


RISCA is committed to a peer review process that provides fresh and diverse input from an ever-changing field. The Panel consists of 3-5 people (not RISCA staff) with a mix of arts and culture and health-related interests or expertise to review applications. In addition, RISCA will consider age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, geography, the discipline of arts experience, relationship to arts and culture (e.g., being an artist, arts administrator, or arts enthusiast), and health/public health experience along with other factors when curating its application review panels. A panelist can serve on a review panel three times over the course of three years – which encompasses 6 grant cycles. Panelists cannot serve on a panel in the same grant program during the three-year period. This ensures a changing and diverse array of individuals evaluating our grant applications and guarantees that panels are different every grant cycle.

  • RISCA staff provide orientation and training to panelists. Panelists complete a two-part panel training before they review applications: The first part focuses on implicit bias; the second part focuses on the logistics of being a panelist, including a review of the applications and rubrics.


  • Step 1 – Review of applications by RISCA staff. Each application is reviewed 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.
  • Step 2 – Review of grant applications by The Panel. A panel consisting of 3-5 Rhode Island residents—chosen for their experience involvement in health, public health, or in the arts and health community and in a variety of disciplines—reviews, scores, and provides notes on each application based on review criteria.
  • Step 3 – The Panel meeting to make funding recommendations. The panel meets as a group in person at RISCA offices or via Zoom to discuss each application, adjust their scores based on their conversation as a panel, and make funding recommendations. Note: RISCA staff do not make funding decisions. RISCA staff facilitates the discussion but does not participate.
  • Step 4 – RISCA’s Governing Council reviews and approves panel recommendations. The Arts and Health Program Manager presents the panel’s award recommendations to the Governor-appointed Council that oversees RISCA. They are responsible for reviewing and approving panels’ recommended grant awards.



  • Notifications will be made approximately 3 months after the application deadline and are dependent on the Council meeting schedule. Applicants will receive official notification of the Council’s action via email. Be aware that there is no guarantee that the process will move according to this schedule, as RISCA’s grant awards are dependent on the availability of both federal and state funding.
  • All applicants will receive panel comments. Whether or not a grant is awarded, these comments should help in the development of future applications.

If You Receive an Award, Next Steps

Read your Grant Award Email thoroughly, as it will have important information about your award.

  • Grant Agreement: Log in to the RISCA grant portal to read and sign your grant agreement to officially let us know if you are accepting or declining your award. Failure to return the grant agreement by the designated date could result in the cancellation of the grant and reallocation of funds.
    • What if I don’t want my grant award because circumstances have changed and/or I can’t complete the project? Before deciding to decline your grant award due to its size or changing circumstances of your project, we recommend you reach out to the AH Program Manager to see if you can accomplish your project with some modifications. If you do decide to decline your award, it is totally fine to do so. It will have no bearing on future grant applications you might submit to RISCA. You will send an email to AH Program Manager indicating your desire to decline your award, and they will assist you.
  • Additional Grant Award Requirements:
    • 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. Grants awarded by RISCA are provided by the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, on behalf of the residents of Rhode Island. For that reason, awardees must credit RISCA on all printed material where funders and supporters are listed and on all printed programs. Further detail regarding acknowledgment can be found at Awardees are required to share evidence of at least one RISCA acknowledgment in the Final Report
    • Submit a final grant report to RISCA. All grantees are required to submit a final report detailing their grant-related activities no later than July 31 following the grant cycle. You will not be able to apply for another 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 funds. You should be prepared to make your records available to RISCA if requested. 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 years following the grant period.
    • Notify the AH Program Manager of any significant changes in your project and/or organizational leadership. Any changes must be reported to RISCA within two months of the change.
    • The grant must be used exclusively for the purposes specified in the Grant Agreement. Any alternative use of funds needs to be cleared by the AH Program Manager in advance in writing (by email), or the grant funds must be returned.
    • 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.
  • Award Payment
    • RISCA disburses funds appropriated from public sources, both federal and state. All awards are subject to the availability of state and federal funds.
    • You must be an approved vendor with the State of Rhode Island via Ocean State Procures*.
    • Award payments may take up to 120 days to be processed. 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.

*What is Ocean State Procures, and how do I register?
All RISCA grant award recipients need to have an approved vendor profile in the Rhode Island Ocean State Procures (OSP) system. This new online registration system is used by the State of Rhode Island for any vendor of the state, not just those working with or receiving grant awards from RISCA.

Please note this is a two-step process: 

  • STEP 1: Create a Vendor Profile. After completing Quick Start Guide step 6 “submit registration,” your login credentials and the login link will be emailed to you (with the subject line: “Welcome to WebProcure!”).
  • STEP 2: Upload W-9. Once you have registered (including uploading a new W-9) and been approved by OSP, RISCA can process your award payment. Note: Your W-9 information must match your vendor profile to complete the approval process.
  • Need Help? For technical assistance with your OSP vendor registration and/or account, email or call 1-866-889-8533.


What are example projects?

Here are hypothetical examples of the types of programs Arts and Health Grant will fund:

  • A dance ensemble provides a 12-week adaptive movement program in rehabilitation or long-term care facility for residents/patients and staff.
  • Weekend arts-intensive workshop held for public health organization staff, with several follow-up visits by the workshop artist(s) to help staff incorporate their learning into community health practice.
  • An organization offers an interactive music program once a week over 6-months to stimulate memory and cognitive awareness for adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • A mural artist works with an opioid addiction task force to create a public awareness campaign about an Overdose Prevention Toolkit.
  • An artist provides an 8-week Comic Book writing and printing workshop for autistic teens and young adults to promote self-expression, bolster confidence, and build community.

What is the maximum grant request? Is there a Cash Match requirement?

Funding requests may be made for up to $9,000. For the Fiscal Year 2024, no matching funds are required.

Do you give partial awards?

Because we are a state agency, we have an obligation to provide grants for projects around the state. Therefore, partial awards may be granted based on the total available funds for this grant program and the number of eligible grant requests per grant cycle. Note: If you receive a partial award, you are not expected to redesign the project or to accomplish the project as initially outlined. RISCA staff will follow up after award announcements to discuss possible modifications to the program that would still fit the parameters of your grant award and brainstorm other ways of fundraising (if necessary). You also have the option of declining the grant award with no penalties.

When are grants awards announced?
All RISCA grant awards are contingent upon the availability of funds from the Rhode Island State General Assembly. For example, if you apply for an AHG at the April 1 deadline, the grant award will be funded from the upcoming state fiscal year’s budget, which begins July 1. Therefore, project activities for a grant submitted after the April 1 deadline must start on or after July 1. However, any delays in passing the state budget will delay grant award notifications and the processing of grant payments. If you have concerns about applying for a grant for a project that has activities beginning in July, contact the AH Program Manager to discuss.

Who may apply?

  • A nonprofit organization*. Your organization must be incorporated in and conducting business in the State of Rhode Island, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn from the community at large and shown to be actively involved in the governance of the organization (for confirmation that your nonprofit organization is incorporated in the State of Rhode Island, visit the Secretary of State’s online database). If your organization is incorporated in a state outside of Rhode Island, you may still apply for a grant. The organization must show that its principal place of business is in Rhode Island; it is registered with the Secretary of State’s office; it is producing programming predominantly in Rhode Island; and it is governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn from the Rhode Island community and shown to be actively involved in the governance of the organization. Questions? Please contact the AH Program Manager for more information.

*This nonprofit organization may include arts and culture organizations, hospitals, social service agencies, rehabilitation/recovery centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult day centers, senior centers, veterans’ homes or hospice/grief programs.

Divisions, branches, departments, programs or other subunits of nonprofit corporations, colleges, or universities are ineligible to apply on their own; applications may be submitted only by the parent corporation.

  • A non-exempt, Rhode Island-based organization using a fiscal sponsor that fits the above requirements. You can still apply if you have a nonprofit organization as a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is an organization that fits RISCA’s definition of a nonprofit organization that accepts a grant on behalf of the sponsored organization and is financially, administratively, and programmatically responsible for all conditions of the grant. The fiscal sponsor is also responsible for signing any grant documents and ensuring that the sponsored organization follows the rules of the grant program and submits its final report.

The fiscal sponsor cannot also be a project partner; if there is an organization that fits RISCA’s definition of an eligible nonprofit involved in the project, they can function as the lead applicant for this application. Organizations that are interested in using a fiscal sponsor for the Arts and Health Grant must contact the Arts and Health Program Manager prior to beginning an application for approval and to request a grant profile that links the organization to the fiscal sponsor.

When submitting a grant via a fiscal sponsor, a simple letter of agreement must be provided. This fiscal sponsorship letter may be used as a template. Typically, fiscal sponsors will charge an administrative fee ranging from 0-10% for administering grants depending on the degree of administrative support and bookkeeping they provide; this fee can be factored into your grant budget. For a template of the fiscal sponsorship letter, click here.

What is a SAM-UEI?

Organizations are required to have a Unique Entity Identifier or UEI (2 CFR 25.200). In April 2022 the Federal government switched to the use of a UEI created in as the official UEI. An UEI reflects the organization’s legal name and current, physical address. As an organizational applicant to RISCA (and possible subrecipient of NEA funds), you must have a UEI but are not required to complete the full SAM registration to obtain it.

What does it mean to make the project “accessible to all”?

Persons with disabilities have the right to access all RISCA-funded programs. Recipients of public funding are required to make reasonable efforts for projects to be accessible to the public. Applicants should consider physical and programmatic accessibility as an integral part of the planning and budgeting process. Accessibility involves the location (the facility) and the content (the activity or product). Thinking about accessibility issues in the early design and planning stages of a project (e.g., accessible websites, sign language interpreters, recordings of printed materials, audio-description describers, or large-print labeling) is key to ensuring that persons with disabilities will be able to participate.

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.”

See for more information. If your facilities do not meet any one of the standards of the ADA, you are not in compliance and may not be ineligible for RISCA funding.

What are Health and Safety Guidelines?

All projects must be able to be completed while following the Rhode Island State health and safety guidelines. Visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website for guidance:

What is the list of Grant Restrictions?

  • To allow for broad and equitable distribution of public funds, organizations may submit only one application per grant deadline to the Arts and Health Grant program – with the exception if an organization is also a fiscal sponsor or an umbrella healthcare institution.
    • An organization may function as a fiscal sponsor to other organizations within the same grant program. But a fiscal sponsor may not serve as a program partner on a sponsored application. If they are a program partner, they should be the applicant for the program.
    • An umbrella healthcare institution may submit up to two AHG applications in the same cycle if they are submitting different project proposals on behalf of different facilities.

What are examples RISCA support may not be used for?

  • Capital projects. The construction or renovation of buildings or additions to buildings, except for accessibility improvements to cultural facilities.
  • Addressing Debt. Eliminating or reducing existing debt, or for contributions to an endowment fund.
  • Any development efforts, such as social events or benefits.
  • Prizes and awards. Note: your project having an award or competition component does not make the project ineligible, you just can’t use your grant monies for the prize or award. If using an RFP or RFQ process to select artists for a project, RISCA funds can be used to pay artists. In this scenario, these are considered stipends, not awards or prizes, and should be publicly communicated as such.
  • Hospitality expenses. This includes food and beverages for openings or receptions. Under no circumstances will the purchase of alcoholic beverages be supported. Note: your project can have hospitality expenses; you just can’t use your grant monies for hospitality expenses.
  • Expenses outside of the award period. Your grant award can’t be used to cover expenses incurred or activities occurring prior to July 1 or after June 30 in the fiscal year in which the grant has been awarded.
  • Regranting funds. Applications where the purpose is to “regrant” or award funds using some or all the RISCA grant funds.
  • Undergraduate or graduate school activities. Activities that are part of a graduate or undergraduate degree program, or for which academic credit is received.
  • Religious activities. Applications for projects that proselytize or promote religious activities, or which take place as part of a religious service.