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Use RISCA's online grant application system

If you are an individual artist, click here to register or apply using RISCA's online grant application system

If you are an organization or a school, click here to register or apply using RISCA's online grant application system

RISCA Project Grant Guidelines

RISCA Project Grant Guidelines


RISCA Project Grants are competitive funds available to artists, non-profit organizations, schools and educators.  These grants support programs and projects that engage Rhode Islanders in arts learning, arts participation, arts experiences and appreciation of the arts. 

Project Grants for Education (PGE and PGA):  Learning in and through the arts plays a critical role in the growth and development of our youngest citizens.  Project grants in Education provide support to artists and cultural organizations collaborating with schools and other educational entities, in order to:

  • increase access to high quality curriculum-based arts learning for all RI children and youth
  • foster the professional development of artists and educators
  • engage the participation of families and other community members in arts learning for children and youth
  • help to ensure that all RI youth are able to demonstrate proficiency in one or more art forms at or before graduation from high school*

If you are an artist, school or non-profit organization interested in applying for education grants, please contact daniel.kahn@arts.ri.gov

Project Grants for Individuals (PGI): These grants are available to artists who are Rhode Island residents and do not require a non-profit (501©3) umbrella.  Through Project Grants for Individuals, RISCA supports highly creative and talented artists who seek to produce, perform, teach or share their work with the public.  Project grants to individuals might include the coordination of community arts events, public performances, arts workshops, creative collaborations, and exhibitions and installations with a strong public component. If you are interested in applying to this grant category, contact cristina.dichiera@arts.ri.gov

Eligibility (Who may apply):

Individual Artists: 

  • You must be a United States citizen or Green Card holder and a current, legal resident of the State of Rhode Island in order to apply for support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. You must have established legal residence in Rhode Island for a minimum of twelve consecutive months prior to the date of application.  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.
  • 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.
  • Individuals who are staff of a non-profit organization cannot apply for funding for projects that are part of that organization's programming. Individuals who are paid staff or proprietors of a for-profit organization cannot apply for funding for projects that are a product or service of that organization. Individuals and organizations cannot apply for funding for the same project at the same deadline. Members of the RISCA staff, Council and their spouses and immediate relatives are also ineligible to apply.


  • Non-profit organizations must be incorporated in and conduct business in the State of Rhode Island, with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn from the community at large and shown to be actively involved in the governance of the organization.
  • Units of local government (cities and towns) may apply for support. 
  • A public school, or a college or university with tax-exempt status
  • A tax-exempt school (Catholic or independent)
  • State-run schools (RI School for the Deaf, Davies Career Technical High School, etc.)
  • For individuals applying in education, see the individual artists section above.  Additionally:  individuals must be experienced teaching artists, with a resume and supporting materials demonstrating significant teaching experience with the population targeted in the application. 

What we do and do not fund:
Council support may be used for expenses related to a specific project, such as the production, presentation, marketing and for 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 prior to or after the grant cycle in which the grant has been awarded (7/1-6/30 for April 1 ; 1/1-6/30 for October 1 deadline).
  • 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.

Project Grant Evaluation Guidelines

Each project grant application is reviewed and ranked by a panel of artists and arts professionals based on the following evaluation criteria:

Artistic Quality/Merit (50% of ranking) - Programs and participating artists are of high artistic quality.  The projects are designed to expand the public or students’ knowledge of and appreciation for an art form.  Support materials are excellent quality and present a high level of artistic product. 
For education projects:  Is the artist(s) on RISCA’s Education/Folk Arts Roster?  If not, are support materials persuasive? Does the proposal empower students to do their own work under the artist’s creative guidance?  Does the project support the work of RI artists & teachers in collaboration?  Is the project at least ten days?  Appropriate payment of fees and other services are provided to artists and arts professionals, with preference given to the involvement of highly qualified Rhode Island artists.

Clarity and Achievability (25% of ranking) - The application clearly states: what will be done; when and where things will take place; why the project should be supported with public funds; and how the applicant will go about organizing, managing and evaluating the project.  Budgets are clear, detailed, and accurate.  There is evidence that what is proposed is achievable by the applicant, on his/her own or in partnership with others.  In the absence of past experience, information is provided that helps make a convincing case that this project will succeed. 
For education projects: Are goals for the project clearly stated and realistic?  Does the proposal address have a clear connection to a school’s curriculum?  Is the duration of project ten days or more?  Is planning time for artist(s) built in on a daily basis?  Is a preliminary schedule included?

Public Value (25% of ranking) -The Arts Council seeks to foster a strong, vibrant Rhode Island arts community that is diverse in its public offerings and provides the people of this state with the greatest public benefit possible.  The Council intends to support applicants that make significant contributions to one or more of the following areas:

  • Employing, engaging or presenting Rhode Island artists, or producing/presenting their works.
  • Producing or presenting new works of art or works that strive to make significant contributions to the advancement of the art form.
  • Promoting heritage and cultural diversity and diversifying cultural participation.
  • Implementing arts education as a core subject area, education reform inclusive of the arts, and life long learning in and through the arts.
  • Encouraging access to and participation in the arts by persons in underserved areas.
  • Promoting accessibility to the arts for people with disabilities. (All grant applicants must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and make their programs accessible to all.)
  • Expanding the number and breadth of partnerships that work to make the arts a vital part of community life and extend the reach of arts projects.
  • Making the arts a vital part of economic development and cultural tourism.
  • Indications are provided that the project is supported by the community, financially and in other ways.  Letters of support from participants and supporters are encouraged with all applications.

For education projects: Curriculum Connection - The application reflects a collaboration between the artist(s) and others within the school community (teachers, administrators, students, parents). There are clear indications of integration of curriculum standards/frameworks, including arts graduation standards, with the project. A process of assessment/evaluation is visible.

Grant Ranges:
The Project Grant category for Education requires a 1:1 cash match, meaning that grant requests in this category may not exceed 50% of the project budget.  Applicants may request up to a maximum of $10,000, or up to half the cost of the project, whichever is less. 25% of that match can be in-kind (participating teachers’ salaries figured at an hourly rate, etc)

Individuals applying for individual project grants or education grants do not need a match, but cash and in-kind contributions are encouraged to demonstrate support for the project. 

How to Begin the Application Process
We strongly recommend that first time applicants meet with RISCA staff at least six weeks prior to the deadline to orient new applicants and review draft applications.

Program Access and Physical Accessibility: 
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.” 

Persons with disabilities have the right to access all RISCA-funded programs. 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.  See http://www.nea.gov/resources/Accessibility/Planning/BriefChecklist.pdf for more information.

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.

Project Grant Support Materials

Applications for Project Grants in Education must submit:

  • One copy of their 501(c)3 determination letter (for first-time applicants)
  • One copy of a Board of directors list, including names, professional/cultural affiliations, expiration of terms, years on board.
  • Resumes and job descriptions of key administrative personnel. In the event of vacancies, provide a description of the process you will undertake to fill this vacancy and a projected timeline.
  • One copy of the most recent financial statement you provide to your board of directors.

Artistic support material recommendations
Works samples are an extremely important part of the project grant panel review process.  Artistic work samples should be documented and presented in a professional manner.  All samples should present work completed within the past three (3) years. 

Reviews, articles or writing samples from the past three years, letters of support from potential venues or partners, testimonials from past participants or audience members, resumes, CVs, bios, etc. may be scanned and uploaded to the online application as pdfs or attached as Word or text documents. 

If you do not have a pdf converter, this 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.

The online system can upload images, text documents, video and audio in most formats.

Please Note: 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 below.

Links to artist websites can also be submitted.

If you have trouble uploading media online you may email media files to the appropriate RISCA staff person or DVDs and CDs can be sent or delivered to the RISCA offices by the deadline date.

Send discs to RISCA, One Capitol Hill, 3rd Floor, Providence, RI 02908.

Directions to the RISCA offices can be found here 

All support materials not uploaded to the online system must arrive at the RISCA offices by the deadline date.

How your application is reviewed, from beginning to end: 
Panel meetings generally are scheduled within two months after a deadline. Panels, which change from deadline to deadline and are different for each grant category, consist of artists, arts administrators, educators, and individuals closely associated with the arts.  RISCA staff members manage these meetings, but do not take part in the decision-making process.  Notes are taken of the discussions and these panel comments are provided to the Council along with the panel’s funding recommendations, for the Council’s final funding decisions.

No formal announcement regarding a funding decision and/or a grant amount will be sent to any applicant until after the RICSA Council meeting.  At that time, applicants will receive official notification of the Council’s actions, as well as their panel comments.  Whether or not a grant is awarded, these comments should help in the development of future applications to RISCA.

RISCA grants are judged on their own merits and in competition with other proposals in that category.  Full funding is seldom awarded.  If an applicant has serious concerns regarding the action taken on an application, they are encouraged to seek additional information and resolution at the staff level.  If, after staff discussion, further action is warranted, a grievance procedure is in place.  In order to file a grievance an applicant must establish that the Council's procedures for awarding grants were not followed.  In that instance a letter of grievance should be sent to the Council Chair and RISCA's Executive Director no later than two weeks from the date of notification from the Council.

Project Grant Award Requirements:
Credit to RISCA:
Recipients must acknowledge, in a prominent manner, RISCA support in all materials and announcements, both audio and visual, related to their project. (e.g., "This project is supported in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts".) Recipients must also display, in a prominent manner, the RISCA logo in association with the acknowledgment. The RISCA logo can be found here: http://www.arts.ri.gov/grants/logos/. Click here for more information on acknowledging RISCA grants.

Notification of Grant related Events:
It is important that RISCA staff be apprised in a timely manner of the dates and times of all public events associated with Project Grant awards.  The RISCA staff member associated with the specific grant application should be invited to at least one event associated with the grant award.  Applicants should also post all public events (grant related and otherwise) to the RISCA Arts Calendar at: http://www.visitrhodeisland.com/what-to-see/the-arts-calendar/submit-an-event/

Final Reports:
All applicants receiving RISCA grants must complete a final report on forms provided by RISCA. Grant reports must be submitted within thirty (30) days of the completion of the grant period (usually no later than July 30). 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. 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 Support Materials submitted must be duplications of works. 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. The Support Materials (or a copy thereof) from funded applications become the property of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts; ownership and copyright of the actual work remain with the applicant.