State Arts Council awards 74 grants to RI artists, arts organizations and nonprofits

Next cycle of arts grants to open Feb. 1 with updated offerings

Arts and culture organizations, arts education and healthcare programs, individual and teaching artists, culture workers, and related community projects benefited from $215,011 in funding announced today by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). The 74 grants, of which 34 went to individual artists, were approved by the Arts Council’s Board on Dec. 13, and will assist RI’s arts and culture community throughout the 2022 fiscal year.

The next cycle of arts and culture grants will open on Feb. 1 with a deadline of April 1. Several grant programs have been updated to align with the agency’s ongoing work to ensure that arts and culture continue to be an essential part of Rhode Island life and thrive in our communities. For more information, visit RISCA’s grants webpage.

“On behalf of the State of Rhode Island, I welcome RISCA’s continued investments in arts and culture, which are essential to the cultural, educational, health and well-being of Rhode Islanders. We are pleased that the arts once again are bringing audiences to our town and city centers, where they also help to fill our restaurants and shops. The grants remind us to celebrate our state’s creativity and how important it is to support arts and culture organizations.”

Governor McKee

“Thank you, Governor McKee and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly for your support. As Rhode Islanders return to arts and culture activities, we are thrilled that this cycle, as with the last grant cycle, is one of the most diverse and equitable. Our arts community was the first to feel the effects of COVID-19, and these investments help to put RI back on the road to pre-pandemic levels when the arts typically contributed more than $2 billion annually to the Rhode Island economy, and employed more than 18,000 people.”  

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director, RISCA 

Some examples of grantees are:

  • Teaching Artist Harrison M. Grigsby (who performs under the name Jon Hope) is on the RI Teaching Artist Roster and was a 2019 RISCA fellow in music. Grisby will pilot his Hip Hop Scholars program at Charette Charter High School, Providence.
  • Pawtucket’s Charles E. Shea High School received a grant to focus on using upcycled clothing to create garments for the school’s 2022 spring fashion show. Students will use their creativity to alter gently used clothing to make a fashion statement with a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Hathaway Elementary School, Portsmouth, will host Kevin Doyle, an Irish dancer who will serve as an artist-in residence. Doyle’s physical education and music classes for K-4 grade students will promote cross-curricular learning through movement, music, culture, collaboration and expression.
  • Sidy Maiga, Providence, is a master drummer originally from Mali, West Africa. Maiga is RISCA’s Folk Artist Fellowship recipient for 2022 and received the honor in 2012.
  • Cape Verdean American Community Development (CACD), Pawtucket, will sponsor painting and sculpture classes geared toward low-income teens. Each class, taught by a working Cape Verdean artist, will meet twice weekly for eight weeks.
  • Little Compton Community Center will present a portrait exhibit of Little Compton’s year-round residents painted during a one-year period. The project goes beyond the summer residents to portray those who make up the diverse fabric of town life.
  • Re-Emerge and Renew: Artist Residencies for Staff Wellness at Butler Hospital, Providence, provides the staff (including front-line nurses, housekeeping, maintenance and administrative staff) an opportunity to engage in arts programming. Resident artists, including poet Sussy Santana, storyteller Valerie Tutson, illustrator/cartoonist Walker Mettling, violist Ashley Frith of Community MusicWorks and Haus of Glitter dance troupe, will offer drop-in art making opportunities during staff availability.
  • This spring, the Bristol Art Museum will curate two coinciding art exhibits–guest artists’ work in the museum and artwork by Mount Hope High School students in the Rogers Free Library. The artwork confronts climate change and environmental justice.
  • The Newport String Project will provide free lessons in violin, viola and cello to 40 students at the MLK Community Center, Florence Gray Center and at the East Bay Met School.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick’s music program gives middle school youth access to affordable and accessible music opportunities unavailable anywhere else locally. Through mentoring, discovery and instruction, youth opt to participate in consequential activities to build music skills, and develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Full list of fall 2022 grantees

The grants were distributed from the following grant programs:

  • Available to organizations, Arts Access Grants support arts and culture programs throughout the state that demonstrate excellent artistic, education and cultural value, as well as engagement with and relevance to their community. $62,725.
  • Fellowships are unrestricted awards that encourage the creative development of artists by enabling them to set aside time to pursue their work and achieve specific creative and career goals. The grants, a total of $72,000, were given out in the following disciplines:
    • Choreography
    • Crafts
    • Drawing & Printmaking
    • Film & Video
    • Fiction
    • Music Composition
    • New Genres
    • Painting
    • Photography
    • Poetry
    • Playwriting/Screenwriting
    • Three-Dimensional Art
  • Folk Arts Apprenticeships are designed to foster the sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills between a master and an apprentice, who is already familiar with the genre. The program creates this opportunity specifically for individuals who share a common cultural heritage. $18,000.
  • 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. $6,000.
  • Project Grants in Education and Project Grants in Education for Individuals support artists and culture organizations collaborating with schools and other educational entities. $38,286.
  • Project Grants in Healthcare offer matching grants for arts projects that connect teaching artists with healthcare settings. $18,000.

RISCA’s grants received support from the state’s General Assembly, federal funds through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in addition to matching dollars raised through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions. 

For the spring grant cycle opening Feb. 1, Arts Access Grants and Investments in Arts & Culture have been updated and will be called Project Grants for Organizations and General Operating Support for Organizations, respectively. For individual artists, both the fellowship and Project Grants for Individuals programs have been replaced with four new grant programs. They are entitled: Opportunity Grants, Community Engaged Project Grants, Make Art Grants and General Operating Support for Artists.