State’s arts agency awards 93 grants to arts and culture organizations, folk artists, individual artists, artists in healthcare

Agency to open grant applications on Feb. 1 with an April 3 deadline

 Workforce development in the arts, arts and culture organizations, individual artists, folk artists and artists in healthcare benefited from $452,206 in grants approved by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) in December. The 93 grants awarded will further advance arts and cultural activities throughout the state.

In addition to featuring RISCA’s newly restructured and updated grant programs, the state’s Arts Agency implemented a program that supports existing arts workforce development programs for arts and culture organizations, culturally specific organizations and secondary schools. Totaling $218,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, 14 arts workforce entities were awarded grants of between $10,000 and $25,000. The funds will prepare R.I. residents for employment in the creative sector.

On Feb. 1, the R.I. State Council on the Arts will start accepting applications for grants to arts and culture organizations, individual artists, arts educators and artists in healthcare. The deadline to complete an application is Monday, April 3. To learn more visit

“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,” Governor McKee said. “We are pleased that the agency invested funding for arts workforce development, vital to the life of our creative economy. These grants remind us of how important it is to support the arts, which bring audiences to our town and city centers, and, in addition to enjoying the arts, fill our restaurants and shops.”

In announcing the grants, RISCA’s Executive Director Lynne McCormack thanked Governor McKee, and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly and our Congressional delegation for their continued support. “We are proud that included in this grant cycle is a program that ensures that recipients receive important funding to strengthen, formalize or begin careers in the arts with creative skills necessary for R.I.’s 21st century workforce.” McCormack added: “And, many thanks to the diverse group of members of our arts community who gave input and feedback regarding the awarding of all of these grants to an incredible group of grantees.”

Some examples of projects supported in the current cycle of RISCA grants include:

  • RiverzEdge Arts Project, Woonsocket, will engage 85-100 youths, who will participate and earn wages as they work alongside peers and professional artists to complete client commissions and grant-funded public art projects.
  • Tiverton High School’s Career and Technical Education Marine Carpentry Program creates more than 80 hours of work-based learning opportunities for students grades ninth through 12th. Throughout the program, students construct 12-foot kayaks, rowing dories and 16-foot skiffs. Students earn OSHA 10 Certification, American Safety Hand & Power Tool Certification as well as college credits.
  • Cynthia Ross Meeks, Providence, is an indigenous artist, who creates drum fans and shields out of natural materials. With her work she exemplifies the reverence, beliefs, cultural beauty and enduring life of her ancestors.
  • Artist Kincaid McLaren, of Providence, received a Make Art Grant for “First Generation Celebration,” which will celebrate and appreciate black and brown first-generation college students and those who came before them. The photographic and digital project will both salute recent college graduates and thank parents for paving the way and supporting them throughout college.
  • Pawtucket’s Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition was awarded a Project Grant in Education for its Fifth Grade Poetry Slam. Rhode Island Teaching Artist Roster poets will work with fifth graders on writing, developing, editing, improving and performing poems.
  • An arts education grant was also given to a partnership with the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts, R.I. Black Storytellers and the Providence Art Club to connect the historic importance of Christiana Bannister’s career operating hair salons in the 1850-70’s and Edward Bannister’s success as an artist.
  • The Refugee Dream Center, Providence, will install a gallery wall at Rochambeau Providence Community Library to display the work of artists from the Rhode Island refugee community. This project will give refugee artists the financial support to practice their craft and showcase the underrepresented well of talent that exists within the refugee community in Rhode Island.
  • Ensemble Altera’s Sing Out in Schools program in Johnston aims to address issues of exposure and access to choral music by visiting students in the following schools, Blackstone Valley Prep Upper Elementary, a Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School and Riverside Middle School.
  • Alfonso Acevedo, Central Falls, will conduct free art workshops every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., March – June 2023, at the Adams Memorial Library in Central Falls for youth and their adult family relatives.
  • Hattie Ide Chaffee Home, Riverside, which provides skilled healthcare within a home-like environment for patients, will receive funds for an intergenerational arts program offering experiential movement and theatrical workshop for seniors, staff, families and community members.

Click here for a full listing of grantees.

Grant awards were giving out in the following programs:

  • Build the Future Grants were awarded to 14 existing arts workforce development programs for arts and culture organizations, culturally specific organizations and secondary schools. $218,000.
  • Six Folk Arts Apprenticeships were given out for the sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills between a mentor and an apprentice. $16,000.
  • Two Folk Arts Fellowships will support individual artists who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishments in their craft. $6,000.
  • The latest revamped grant program, Project Grants in Education, was awarded to 11 arts-related education entities. Six grants were to first time applicants. The recipients engage students in rich and meaningful artistic experiences in dedicated learning environments. $61,610.
  • The 23 Project Support for Organizations grants will provide support to arts and culture projects that are relevant and meaningful to Rhode Island communities. $48,706.
  • Fifteen Community Engaged Project Grants offer funding for artists or groups of artists to create arts and culture projects that are directly and actively engaged with R.I. residents. $34,773.
  • Make Art Grants were awarded to 19 artists or groups of artists to create or continue specific artwork in any discipline. $44,887.
  • Three Project Grants in Healthcare offer matching grants for arts projects that connect teaching artists with healthcare settings such as hospitals, hospice and community health agencies. $22,230.

These grants received support from the State’s General Assembly, federally funded through National Endowment for the Arts, and some matching dollars raised through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions.

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