Folk Arts Fellowship Grant

Click here to access the RISCA grant portal for individuals.

Click here to see grants awarded at the April 1, 2019 deadline.


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.


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.

In order to apply contact

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

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. 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 Arts Access Grant application form via, 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.