Folk Arts Fellowship Grant

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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 Fellowships provide one $1,000 and one $5,000 award annually to artists in a variety of disciplines who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishment in their craft. Artists are encouraged to apply when they have created a substantial body of work that they are prepared to present in a professional manner.

The folk arts are defined as those artistic practices which are community or family-based and express that community’s aesthetic heritage and tradition. The learning process is informal and is passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth, apprenticeship, and imitation.

Grant Amounts

One $5,000 Folk Arts Fellowship and one $1,000 Folk Arts Fellowship Merit Award will be granted each year.

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

Deadlines

  • 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.

Contact

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

Eligibility

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.

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, and then prepared for review by an external advisory 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

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of artistic quality, as defined by traditionality in the case of applicants for the Folk Arts Fellowship. Since panels assess Fellowship applications solely on the review of support materials such as manuscripts, images, and recordings, applicants should submit the best quality support materials possible. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that support materials are prepared and submitted adequately to RISCA for panel review.

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 http://www.arts.ri.gov/org-apply, including the following attachments:

  • One copy of the applicant’s resume or CV.
  • Applicant’s biographical statement.
  • Complete answers to the application questions.

Support Materials

Support materials may include:

  • Original musical compositions.
  • Images of visual art pieces.
  • Videos of performance or the artist talking about their art form, why it’s important to the artist, and how the art form was learned.
  • Letters of recommendation from the community, community leaders, testimonials about the importance of maintaining this traditional art form.
  • Press or articles.

Submissions should reflect the artist’s most recent work, preferably work created within the last three years. The applicant must be the primary creative force behind the work. Consequently, no other artist may submit the same piece as their own support material at this deadline or in any future RISCA application. All work submitted for review must be complete and not a work-in-progress. Materials used as the basis for awarding a past Fellowship or Merit Award may not be used in a new application in any Fellowship category.

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.

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

All organizations are required to submit a final report detailing their activities over the previous year within 30 days of the completion of the project or by no later than July 31, whichever comes first.
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.

Tax Liability

RISCA recommends that individuals concerned about tax liability regarding their grant award follow the advice of their accountant.

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.