Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Awards Over $224,000 in Grants to Boost Arts and Culture Across the State

Arts and culture organizations, arts educators, artists, and folk fellowships and apprentices benefited from $224,663 in grants approved by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) in December. The 71 grant awards will further advance arts and cultural activities throughout the state.

“Today’s announcement by the Arts Council reminds us of our state’s national reputation as an arts and cultural destination. The arts play a vital role in our lives including bringing audiences to our town and city centers, and helping to fill our restaurants and shops, educating our young people, and contributing to the health of our communities,” Governor McKee said. “On behalf of the State of Rhode Island, I thank RISCA for thoughtful and thorough work of providing key arts investments in our state.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts in Rhode Island add $2.2 billion to the state’s economy and accounts for 3.2 percent of the state’s GDP. Our creative sector employs nearly 17,000 workers. Since 2021, our grantmaking to organizations and artists totaled more than $2.8 million and supported more than 800 arts entities.

In announcing the grants, RISCA’s Executive Director Lynne McCormack thanked Governor McKee, members of the General Assembly and our Congressional delegation for their continued support. “We are pleased to support these projects and programs led by artists and organizations across the state. These grants will provide accessible and equitable arts and culture opportunities to Rhode Islanders from newborns to seniors. We are grateful for the contributions of artists, folk artists and apprentices, arts organizations and educators who work each day to solve difficult problems with creative approaches and inspire us during challenging times. Thank you to all the members of our grants panels who provided their expertise and experience in awarding the grants.”

Some examples of this cycle’s arts grants include (In alphabetical order by town):

  • Amy Lovera, Barrington, to create large-scale shadow-like silhouettes that will examine moments of family life, including the play-words of children and the daily struggles and joys of parenting.
  • Jayme and Megan Hennessy, Block Island, to lead free bi-monthly ukulele sessions at the B.I. community center. The sessions will review chords and strumming patterns while playing folk and popular music.
  • Korean American Association of Rhode Island, Cranston, to host a free outdoor block party featuring traditional Korean food, interactive games, costume-wearing and music performances.
  • Robin S. Spears Jr., Charlestown, to create, with an apprentice, traditional tools made from natural materials. This traditional artform is done by only a few local Indigenous people.
  • Hollis Hickerson, East Providence, will provide a free 5-week felting workshop for ages 10-12. The mission is to instill creativity and resilience through fiber at the Creative Reuse Center of Rhode Island.
  • The Met East Bay (High) School, Newport, is the setting for art students to have hands-on experience in a ceramic’s studio to study the medium, create artwork and learn about clay as a career. Works will be showcased at the
  • Newport Art Museum School and East Bay Met School.
  • Newport Historical Society, Newport, to launch a 2024 exhibition illustrating the biographies of five African Americans who lived in the city between 1639 and 1842.
  • Lois Harada, North Providence, to complete the final four of 10 posters inspired by Works Progress Administration (WPA) from tourist destinations to sites of Japanese American incarceration.
  • Nadar Molina Figueroa, Pawtucket, a folk dancer and choreographer, to continue the artistry and preserve cultural roots of Colombian folk dancing.
  • Heather McMordie, Providence, and soil scientist, Edward Landa examines long-term impacts of early 1900s mosquito control ditches on Northeast coastal wetlands for an installation of screen prints on mosquito mesh and a projection of historical marsh-scape.
  • Phebe Campsey will create artworks with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities culminating in two month-long exhibits in Westerly.
  • Rhode Island Stage Ensemble, Woonsocket, will provide a free youth drama education program culminating in a production of Disney’s Descendants.

The grantees received grants from the following programs:

  • Community Engaged Project Grants offer funding to artists or groups of artists to create arts and culture projects that are directly and actively engage Rhode Island residents. $28,215.
  • Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeships are designed to foster artistic skills between a mentor and an apprentice. The program creates an opportunity specifically for individuals who share a common cultural heritage. $42,000.
  • Folk and Traditional Arts Fellowships support individual artists who demonstrate the highest level of skill and accomplishments in their craft. $10,000.
  • Make Art Grant provides grants to artists or groups of artists to create or continue specific artwork in any discipline. Projects have specific goals, although completion and public showing of the art is not required. $47,418.
  • Project Grants in Education support schools, nonprofit organizations, arts educators and teaching artists. Recipients engage students in rich and meaningful artistic experiences in dedicated learning environments. $49,200.
  • Project Grants for Organizations provide support to arts and culture projects that are relevant and meaningful to R.I. communities. $47,800.
  • These grants received support from the State’s General Assembly, federally funded through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and some matching dollars raised through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions.

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




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