Big Yellow School Bus Grant School Year 20-21

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for organizations.

This grant opens on November 1, 2020, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been expended.

About the Big Yellow School Bus Program during COVID

For the past several years the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has provided funds to Rhode Island schools to underwrite the transportation costs for cultural field trips such as live music, dance or theatre performances, exhibits at art museums, etc., as well as the cost of coverage for classroom teachers involved in the field trip. The Big Yellow School Bus Program was designed to support arts learning in the school.  In order to qualify for this funding there had to be an arts component to the field trip.

As schools plan for the 2020-2021 school year COVID- 19 related restrictions established by the RI Department of Education (RIDE) will prevent students from participating in typical field trips. During the pandemic only virtual experiences will be permitted for both in-class and distance learning.

To support continued learning in the arts during this period RISCA is inviting organizations to create virtual field trip programming that gives students a behind the scenes look at artists’ work, highlights career opportunities, or showcases Rhode Island’s natural resources, arts and culture, and history. Experiences that might qualify as a virtual field trip include pre-recorded videos and/or arranged live, performances and virtual meetings between a representative from an arts or cultural organization and a classroom, or pre-recorded or live tours of exhibits and installations.

During the current school year (2020-2021) RISCA will amend its Big Yellow School Bus Program to support virtual field trips.  Schools may apply for grants of up to $350 to support their participation in arts or cultural virtual experiences.

Rhode Island K-12 tax-exempt public or private schools with 501c(3) educational status, or parent-teacher organizations (PTO) associated with a school are eligible to apply for Big Yellow School Bus grants.

Please note: Big Yellow School Bus Grants do NOT count toward the number of grants an organization can receive from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts each fiscal year.

About the BYSB Grant

  • The virtual field trip must be hosted by a Rhode Island arts or cultural organization or individual teaching artist, group or institution. Big Yellow School Bus funding may only support performances, exhibits, activities or programs occurring in the State of Rhode Island.
  • BYSB grants are awarded to schools or school – affiliated non-profits organizations (eg. PTO/PTA, diocese) , who are then responsible for paying the arts and cultural organization to cover the cost of the virtual field trip, associated performer/teaching artists costs or the like. No BYSB funds remain at the school for other expenses including substitute teacher costs.
  • This is a reimbursement grant. Funds will be sent to the school upon completion and receipt of the Field Trip Follow Up Report which can be completed as soon as the trip takes place. All fields on the Follow Up Report form must be filled in fully and accurately.  You will receive notification via email that this form was received, approved and funds have been released to the school.
  • The application is fully and correctly completed.
  • Please be aware, incomplete applications may be returned thus affecting your first-come, first-served status. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Maggie Anderson, Arts in Education Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, at

BYSB Application Deadline and Notification

  • There is no application deadline. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis in the order they were received. Applicants can submit requests up to 25 days prior to the event.
  • Applications are reviewed daily during normal office hours.
  • THIS YEAR ONLY (School Year 20-21) – Schools may apply for more than one BYSB grant but not within the same grade level. For example, only one grant may be submitted from the Third grade level but a single school may submit more than one application if they are from different grade levels: Second grade and Fifth grade from the same school can submit applications.
  • Notification about the status of your application will be sent by email or phone within 2 weeks of receipt of the application. Formal award notification and the grant packet will arrive within 30 days of the field trip date.
  • Grant will remain open until all funds are awarded.

PDF of guidelines.