Folk Arts Fellowship Grant

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for individuals.

Click here to see grants awarded in 2019.

RISCA Folk Arts Fellowship (FAF) Guidelines – FY22 cycle 2 for October 1, 2021 Deadline

Folk Arts Fellowships provide support to individual artists who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishments in their craft.

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.

All potential applicants to the Folk Arts Fellowship program must contact Elena Calderón-Patiño to discuss their application before the deadline. Applicants who need assistance completing an application and/or who require the assistance of an interpreter should contact Elena by email at well in advance of the application deadline.

Artists seeking Folk Arts Fellowship support will apply online at:


All applications and support materials must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline day.

Applications in the Folk Arts Apprenticeship grants category are accepted once a year on the following date (or on the following business day when these dates fall on a weekend or holiday):

  • October 1(for activities taking place from January 1 to June 30)


  • You must be a United States citizen or Green Card holder and a current, legal resident of the State of Rhode Island. You must have established legal residence in Rhode Island for a minimum of twelve consecutive months prior to the date of application and you must be a current legal resident of the State of Rhode Island at the time that grant funds are disbursed. Rhode Island State Law (§44-30-5) defines a “resident” as someone “who is domiciled in this state” or “who is not domiciled in this state but maintains a permanent place of abode in this state and is in this state for an aggregate of more than one hundred eighty-three (183) days of the taxable year. If an individual selected for a grant award is no longer a resident of the State of Rhode Island when funds are to be disbursed, the grant award may be withdrawn. Applicants must be at least eighteen years of age. Students attending high school or students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in an arts discipline or an arts-related subject area at the time of application may not apply.
  • Only one Folk Arts Fellowship application is allowed per person per deadline. Individuals may not apply for a Folk Arts Fellowship and a Folk Arts Apprenticeship at the same deadline.
  • Folk Arts Fellowship applicants are ineligible to reapply for one fiscal year if they have received funding in this category for three consecutive years.
  • Past RISCA grant recipients may not reapply for RISCA funds unless all final reports for previous awards have been submitted.
  • RISCA staff, Council and their spouses and immediate relatives are ineligible to apply for RISCA funds.

Funding Considerations

The following conditions for funding apply to all Folk Arts Fellowship applicants:

  • 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.
  • Grants awarded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts are provided by the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, on behalf of the citizens of Rhode Island. For that reason, Fellowship recipients must credit the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts on all printed material where funders and supporters are listed and on all printed programs.
  • 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.

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.


Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of artistic quality, as defined by traditions 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.

How to Apply

  • Applicants must submit a completed Folk Arts Apprenticeship application form via
  • Applications must include:
    • Applicant’s cv or resume.
    • Applicant’s biographical statement.
    • Required work samples as specified in the Support Material Requirements section of the application.
  • Support materials must be submitted online by 11:59pm on day of deadline.Support Material Requirements
  • Applicants should consult Elena Calderón-Patiño prior to beginning the application and during the application process for assistance in identifying and/or obtaining the appropriate support materials.
  • 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.
  • Applicants are eligible to apply in more than one Fellowship category provided they have enough work to submit entirely different artwork for each discipline. Different images of the same piece do not constitute different work.
  • Artists MAY submit the same support materials for a Fellowship and a Project Grant to Individuals.
  • Support materials may include:
    • Audio files of original compositions
    • Images of visual art pieces
    • Videos of performances
    • Letters of recommendation from the community, community leaders, testimonials about the importance of maintaining this traditional art form
    • Press or articles
  • Upload Information:
    • Reviews, articles, writing samples, letters of support, testimonials from audience or community members, etc., may be uploaded as PDFs or Word or text documents.
    • If you do not have a PDF converter, the online application system has a Fax to File function (left side bar) that allows you to fax document pages to a designated fax number that will convert them into a PDF. This PDF can be saved to your computer and then MUST BE uploaded to this application. Free PDF conversions are also available online. Word documents can be converted to a PDF using the print function.
    • You can upload images, text documents, video and audio in most formats, however, there is a 25 MB limit for ALL support materials combined. Video can also be submitted as a link to a site such as Vimeo or YouTube in the url lines in the Support Materials section of the online application. Please include a password if required.
    • A links to your artist website can also be submitted in the url line in the Support Materials section of the online application.
    • In the Support Materials List section of the application, you will upload a numbered list of all support materials you are submitting with your application (including website links). For artistic samples, please include title, materials, and year of completion. Also list letters of support and any additional materials.

Review Process

Once the application deadline passes, no alterations or additions may be made to your application. Applications are reviewed by a peer panel based on the contents of your application only.

  • Review of applications by RISCA staff. RISCA staff reviews each application 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.
  • Review of grant applications by panel. An external review panel reviews each applicant’s proposal and artistic support materials. The panel will recommend a Fellowship Winner and a Fellowship Merit Award Winner. The panel is strongly encouraged to recommend awards but reserve the right to decline to make a recommendation, if they feel that no application warrants a fellowship or a merit award.
  • Panel review. The panel then meets via Zoom to discuss each application, adjust their scores based on their conversation as a panel, and make funding recommendations.
  • Council review of panel recommendations. The panel’s recommendations are presented to the Governor-appoint Council which oversees RISCA for approval.
  • Notification of grant awards. Notifications will be made approximately 3 months after the application deadline. Be aware that there is no guarantee that the process will move according to this schedule, as RISCA’s grant awards are dependent on both federal and state funding.

Once a grant has been awarded, applicants should understand that the grant processing procedure is lengthy. 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.

Fellowship Award Requirements

  • You must 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. Further detail regarding acknowledgement can be found at
  • You must submit a final grant report (follow-up) to RISCA via the online grant system. All grantees are required to submit a final report online detailing their grant-related activities no later than the July 31 following the grant cycle. You will not be able to apply for another RISCA grant if you have an overdue final report.
  • You must keep records of receipts and expenditures related to the funded activity. Be prepared to make your records available to RISCA if requested by 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 the grant period.
  • You must notify RISCA of any significant changes in your project and/or organizational leadership. Any changes must be reported to RISCA within two (2) months of the change.
  • 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.
  • Tax Liability. RISCA recommends that individuals concerned about tax liability regarding their grant award follow the advice of their accountant. You will not receive tax documents from RISCA for this award.

Benefits for Grantees

  • RISCA wants to help promote your project! If your project includes a public event, submit information about your event to RISCA via this Event and Publicity Submission Form: This will allow RISCA to post and promote your event via RISCA’s social media platforms and (possibly) email newsletter. Also, if you get any press or accolades for your project or organization, you can submit information via the Submission Form as well.
  • RISCA wants to support you in this – and future! – projects. If you have any questions about your grant, or your panel comments, please feel free to reach out to RISCA staff. If you run into any issues in executing your project, please also feel free to reach out to RISCA staff. We want you to succeed – and we know things happen. We can help you troubleshoot and come up with solutions.

Tax Liability

RISCA recommends that individuals concerned about tax liability regarding their grant award follow the advice of their accountant. You will not receive tax documents from RISCA for this award.