The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) will receive $754,100 in the first round of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). These emergency funds are designed to support and assist RI’s arts-related small businesses, artists, and arts and culture organizations as they recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19.

“Rhode Island is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, and this vital sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Dan McKee in a statement. “Thank you to the National Endowment for the Arts for this award. These critical funds will help us as we work to rebuild our economy and our communities and recognize the important role that arts and culture plays in the lives of Rhode Islanders.”

During the next several weeks, RISCA staff members will be reviewing federal guidance as it determines how these funds can best be used to support the recovery of one of RI’s key economic sectors.

“The arts remain critical to our economy and culture and federal funding has never been more important to sustaining these arts organizations and supporting artists and public access to the arts. I am pleased to help deliver federal funding for local arts organizations and artists to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and provide foundational resources to ensure that the arts are available to all Rhode Islanders,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed in a statement.

“Our talented arts community is an engine of Rhode Island’s economy and a big part of what makes our state a great place to live,” said U.S. Senator Whitehouse in a statement.  “After one of the most challenging years in memory, this federal funding will provide a much-needed infusion for local arts organizations.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought tough times for us all, but Rhode Island’s bustling arts and culture scene has been hit particularly hard,” said Congressman Langevin. “I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan and secure this key funding for RISCA because all Rhode Islanders benefit from the first-rate work created by our talented local artists.”

Congressman Cicilline added: “Rhode Island artists are second to none, but this pandemic has been devastating for artists in our state and across the country. I’m pleased that we are announcing this new federal funding through the American Rescue Plan today. These resources will help Rhode Island ensure our arts and culture community fully recovers from the pandemic and emerges stronger than ever.”

The funds announced today and distributed by the Arts Endowment mark 40 percent of the total allotment to the arts in the ARP. The remaining 60 percent will be awarded by the NEA directly to nonprofit organizations to help support jobs; keep the doors open; and assist in its recovery from. In June, the NEA will announce the guidelines and application materials for the second phase of American Rescue Plan funding for the arts.

“On behalf of the RI State Council on the Arts, we are grateful to our federal partners, and look forward to continuing our role as responsible stewards of this valued funding,” Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of RISCA, said in a statement. “Rhode Island artists, arts and culture organizations, arts educators and the entire community were hard hit by the pandemic and these funds will assist in the difficult work of rebuilding the arts economically, educationally and culturally.”

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been impacted by the pandemic. The $135 million allocated for the Arts Endowment in this legislation represents a significant commitment to the arts and a recognition of the value of the arts and culture sector to the nation’s economy and recovery.

About the National Endowment for the ArtsEstablished by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Arts.gov. 

About Rhode Island State Council on the Arts: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. http://www.arts.ri.gov.

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