RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council) announced today a collaborative partnership to distribute federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to arts, culture, and humanities nonprofits. This funding, from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), totals $968,000.

Applications are open to all eligible nonprofits regardless of whether they have received federal funding in the past. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-centered organizations and nonprofits with annual budgets under $500,000 will be prioritized in this grant program, in keeping with federal agencies’ emphasis to focus on equity, inclusion, access, and pandemic resilience.

The recovery grants, called the RI Culture, Humanities and Arts Recovery Grants (RI CHARG), are designed to assist nonprofits with general operating support to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from hardships suffered due to the pandemic.

The Arts and Humanities Councils are encouraging first-time applicants. They will be offering joint virtual workshops on July 16 and July 21; for more information and to register, visit:  www.eventbrite.com/e/ri-charg-information-sessions-tickets-161954473189. In addition, one-on-one virtual support sessions; open drop-in hours via Zoom; and other resources geared toward those new to the granting process will also be available. Visit either Council’s website for more details: RISCA’s website: www.arts.ri.gov; RI Council for the Humanities’ website: www.rihumanities.org.

“The arts, culture and humanities communities are an important economic driver in our state. These funds from the American Rescue Plan, through the National Endowments for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, deliver critical investments in this sector supporting its recovery and full return,” Governor McKee said. “On behalf of Rhode Island, we applaud and thank RI’s Humanities Council and the State Arts Agency as well as the NEA and NEH for their service to our state.”

“COVID-19 was a blow to every piece of what makes Rhode Island special. That’s why I worked to get funds for local cultural and heritage organizations into the American Rescue Plan because Rhode Island’s creative economy enriches our state. By combining federal grants with private donations, we can generate economic activity and help our state’s cultural sector survive the pandemic, adapt and prepare for the future, and continue to serve audiences going forward,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island’s arts, culture, and humanities organizations are a key part of what makes our state special and many were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in a statement. “I’m glad to see the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities working together to distribute federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to help support this important work.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on Rhode Island’s world class culture and arts scene, but the American Rescue Plan Act is helping our incredible nonprofit sector recover,” saidRep. Jim Langevin. “I’m thrilled that this federal grant funding will help our arts and humanities communities respond to the worst impacts of the pandemic and continue growing our economy and enriching the lives of so many Rhode Islanders.

“Rhode Island artists are responsible for generating millions of dollars in economic activity each year,” said Rep. David Cicilline. “This announcement will ensure money from the American Rescue Plan continues to benefit artists across our state who are doing work that benefits all of us.”

Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of RISCA, added: “We are excited that the Arts and Humanities Councils have joined forces to greatly expand access to recovery funding in our communities to help culture, humanities and arts nonprofits, including small- to mid-sized and BIPOC-centered organizations, and first-time grantees. Our partnership is a departure from traditional emergency funds as it greatly expands access to grants to some of our state’s most vulnerable and hard-hit culture, humanities and arts organizations. On behalf of both Councils, we are grateful to Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and Congressman Cicilline for their diligence, dedication and determination to ensure that these important NEA and NEH funds were made available in our state.” 

For more information, nonprofits are encouraged to reach out to both of the following:

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts 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. Visit www.arts.ri.gov for more information. 

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices. A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Humanities Council is supported by federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit www.rihumanities.org for more information.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).