Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for individuals.


The folk arts are defined as the artistic practices that reflect the aesthetic heritage and tradition of a community. The learning process is passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth, apprenticeship, and imitation, which all continually binds communities together. Artistic traditions are reinvigorated by the conversations of shared heritage and cultural life. The deadline to apply for both grants is on April 1st.

Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grants are designed to foster the fusion of traditional folk artistic skills between a master and an apprentice who is already familiar with the genre. The program creates an opportunity specifically for individuals to unite through a shared cultural background. The folk arts are further defined as the artistic practices that sustains a community’s cultural identity and heritage by having traditions directly passed down from generation to generation.

Grant Amounts

Grant requests may range from $1,000 to $3,000.

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


April 1, 11:59pm

If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be midnight the next business day. Any hard copy support materials must be received at the RISCA offices by this time. 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.


Elena Calderón Patiño, Director of Community Arts Program, 401-222-6996


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).

Past recipients of RISCA funding may not reapply for support unless all final reports for previous awards have been submitted according to grant contract guidelines.

One application per cycle will be accepted from individuals applying in this category.

Individuals who are staff of a non-profit organization cannot apply for funding for projects that are part of that organization’s programming. Individuals who are paid staff or proprietors of a for-profit organization cannot apply for funding for projects that are a product or service of that organization. Individuals and organizations cannot apply for funding for the same project at the same deadline. Members of the RISCA staff, Council, and their spouses and immediate relatives are also ineligible to apply.

Applications must be submitted by the master artist. Please note that RISCA encourages one-on-one apprenticeships. In some cases, more than one apprentice per master is appropriate and will be allowed.  There is no age requirement to participate as an apprentice. Apprentices under the age of 16 must submit a parent’s or legal guardian’s release or permission form as part of the application procedure.

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.

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 checked by staff for accuracy and completeness (they may call upon applicants to furnish proof of eligibility.
  • Applications are prepared for review by an external review panel.
  • Applications are sent to the panelists and are read and ranked online.
  • The review panel meets to determine their final funding recommendations.
  • Funding recommendations go to the Council for their review and approval.
  • Notification of grant awards will be made within eight to ten weeks of 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

All Arts Access Grant applications will go through a panel review process. Panelists will be selected for their ability to provide diverse viewpoints within the arts as well as broad demographic representation. Panelists evaluate applications based on published evaluation criteria and propose recommendations to the Council, which makes all final funding decisions.

The peer panels will evaluate the application material based on the following review criteria:

  • Traditionalist and artistic merit of master artist.
  • Traditionalist and artistic merit of master artist.
  • Extent of apprentice’s prior familiarity with the traditional art form.
  • Extent of apprentice’s commitment to continuing the traditional art form.
  • Feasibility and effectiveness of the apprenticeship plan.
  • Quality and Feasibility of culminating public presentation.
  • Evidence of a public component.

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.”
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all programs and facilities meet or exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and are accessible to all. Rhode Island arts facilities, and the managers of arts projects in Rhode Island, must make their programs as accessible as possible to the widest number of people and work to remove barriers that may block accessibility. This includes addressing the structural, programmatic, communication and attitudinal barriers that keep people with disabilities from fully participating in arts programs.  Read more here.
If your facilities do not meet any one of the standards of the ADA, you are not in compliance and may be ineligible for RISCA funding.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a completed Arts Access Grant application form via, including the following attachments:

  • One copy of the applicant’s cv or resume, not to exceed three pages.
  • One copy of the applicant’s biographical statement.
  • Required work samples.
  • One copy of a statement of purpose from the apprentice.

Support Materials

If your application deals with the work of a particular artist or artists, please provide audio samples, video samples, or digital images of that artist’s work, whichever is applicable. These may be uploaded directly to the application form, or you may upload a Word or PDF document containing links to the appropriate material.
Other suggested support materials for your organization/project include:

  • Brochures, postcards, catalogs and other mailings.
  • Select press and publicity.
  • Resumes/CVs of lead artists and/or staff.
  • Sample publications.
  • Letters of support.

You are not required to upload material in all five boxes, though a variety of materials is encouraged in order to illustrate the strengths of your project to the review panel.
In the text box provided for each item, please list the title, medium, dimensions, year of completion, duration, etc. where applicable. Please limit audio and video clips to no more than 2 minutes. (If a sample is longer than two minutes, please indicate start and end times for the clip you would like the panel to review.)

PLEASE NOTE: The online system can accommodate images, text documents, video, and audio in most formats, however there is a 25 MB limit for ALL support materials combined. We recommend that video be uploaded to a site such as Vimeo or Youtube, and links provided in an uploaded document.
If you have trouble uploading media online you may email or mail/deliver DVDs and CDs to the RISCA offices. All support materials not uploaded to the online system must arrive at the RISCA offices by the deadline date.

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.

Final Report

The Folk Arts staff will conduct an evaluation of the apprenticeship, which will serve as a final report.  Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant recipients must show evidence of a completed public component at the end of the grant period. Any requests for extension must be submitted in writing and are subject to approval by the authorizing agent of RISCA.

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.

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.

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 Access Arts Grants application for additional information on RISCA’s use of support materials from funded projects.