Artist Open Studio Tour

Artist Open Studio Tour (AOST) grants provide support for marketing and administration of artist-initiated open studio tours. The studio tour must consist of multiple artists within one studio building or several nearby buildings and be open to the public. These grants support communities of artists around the state of Rhode Island working together to bring people into their studios.

  • Award Amount: $750.
  • Who can apply: Artists and arts administrators that live in Rhode Island.
  • What can be funded: formal open studios that are open to the public.

Click here to read Information for First-Time Applicants or download the pdf.

Applications for this program have no set deadline, and they are considered until the funding for this grant program has been expended. Applications for this program open in early July, and close in early June – alongside our fiscal year. You must apply for a grant in the fiscal year that the event will occur, so if your event is in July or August, you must wait for the grant to re-open.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Not currently be enrolled in an arts degree seeking program or attending high school full time.
  • Have been domiciled in Rhode Island for at least one year at the time of application. This means your home in Rhode Island is your primary residence, and is the address you use for legal forms, state income taxes, car registration, driver’s license or state issued id, and voter registration - regardless of whether you own or rent your home.
  • Be a legal resident of the United States with a tax id number (either Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). This includes refugees, immigrants, and temporary residents. This does not include people in the country on a tourist visa.
  • Not be a staff member or council member of RISCA, or an immediate family member of a staff or council member.

Other rules/things to know:

  • This grant is for $750. No partial grants will be awarded – meaning you will either receive the full amount you apply for or no funding.
  • You may only receive one AOST per fiscal year, and if you are a current recipient of the General Operating Support for Artists grant you are ineligible to apply.
  • If you receive a grant, you must credit RISCA on all marketing materials. Grants awarded by RISCA are provided by the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, on behalf of the residents of Rhode Island. For that reason, awardees must credit RISCA on all material where funders and supporters are listed and on all printed programs.
  • All RISCA grant awards are contingent upon the availability of funds from the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. Sometimes delays in passing the state budget will delay grant award notifications and processing of grant payments – we can’t award grants if we don’t know for sure we will have funds.
  • AOST applications are screened for eligibility and completeness, and then awarded on a first come first served basis until funds are expended.
  • This studio tour may not receive other funding from RISCA in the same fiscal year. There cannot be another application to support this project or aspects of this project through another RISCA granting program, including General Operating Support for Organizations.
  • All RISCA funded project activities must take place within the state of Rhode Island.

If you receive a grant award, it can be used for expenses related to your project and its production or presentation, as well as marketing and accessibility efforts.  This includes paying any artists or arts administrators involved for their time, including the applicant. You will use the grant for the expenses you planned for in the budget you submitted. We understand that this budget is just a plan, and that you may spend the funds in slightly different ways. This is ok, you just need to inform RISCA staff once your program is complete.

There are many things your grant awards cannot be used for. Because RISCA grants money from the National Endowment for the Arts, we are obligated to follow these rules set forth by the NEA. Expenses that cannot be covered by your grant award:

  • Programs that occur in spaces that are not ADA compliant. Persons with disabilities have the right to access all RISCA-funded programs. If the place your project is taking place does not meet any one of the standards of the ADA, you are ineligible for RISCA funding.
  • Capital projects. The construction or renovation of buildings or additions to buildings.
  • Any fundraising expenses such as creating rewards for a Kickstarter or hosting a fundraising event for any purpose.
  • Prizes and awards. You may not spend funds on a prize or award for another event/person/organization.
  • Alcohol and Hospitality Expenses. Purchase of alcohol, food or beverage with grant funds is strictly prohibited.
  • Expenses outside of award period. Your grant award can’t be used to cover expenses incurred or activities occurring outside of the award period, which is July 1-June 30.
  • Regranting funds. You may not use these grant funds to support grants to other artists or organizations through an application or award process.
  • Undergraduate or graduate school activities. You may not use these grant funds for activities which are part of a graduate or undergraduate degree program, or for which academic credit is received.
  • Religious activities. You may not use these grant funds for projects that proselytize or promote religious activities, or which take place as part of a religious service.  
  • Private functions. You may not use these grant funds for any programming that is not available/accessible to the public.

You are required to submit

  • A tentative list of the artists who will be participating.
  • Bio/Resume/CV of the lead applicant: The artist bio, resume, or cv will need to be submitted as either a word document or PDF. Please submit whichever of the three, or a combination, that you feel best represents you.
  • Letter of Commitment: A short letter of support or commitment from an additional participating artist, studio space, or studio building. This must be uploaded as either a word document or PDF.

You may submit up to 4 additional support materials, but these are not required. File formats you can directly upload to the application include JPG, PDF, Word Doc, Excel. These might include:

  • Bios and/or resumes from other participating artists.
  • Collateral or marketing from previous open studio tours.
  • Artwork examples from participating artists.

These grants are awarded based solely on eligibility. RISCA staff read each application for eligibility and completeness, and eligible applications receive grants until funds have been expended for the fiscal year. Once funds have been expended, the application will be closed.

Accepting the Grant and Processing the Award Payment

Congratulations! First things first, you will want to sign the grant agreement form and register with Ocean State Procures as soon as possible so we can start processing your grant payment. Once completed, your grant payment may take between 6-10 weeks to receive. Read your Grant Award Email thoroughly, as it will have instructions on how to register with Oceans State Procures and how to upload your W-9 to the state payment system.

Other things you will need to do:

  • You must acknowledge RISCA support in a prominent manner in all materials and announcements, both audio and visual, related to the grant program. Grant recipients must also display, in a prominent manner, the RISCA logo in association with that acknowledgment. Further detail regarding acknowledgment can be found at the acknowledging RISCA page.
  • You must submit a brief final grant report to RISCA via the online grant system. All grantees are required to submit a brief final report no later than one month following the grant funding period. For grants awarded at the April 1 deadline, this will be January 31st; for grants awarded at the October 1 deadline, this will be July 31st. You will not be able to apply for another RISCA grant if you have an overdue final report.
  • You must keep records of receipts and expenditures related to the funding. You should be prepared to make your records available to RISCA if requested by RISCA. 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 the grant period.
  • You must notify RISCA of any significant changes in your project. Any changes must be reported to RISCA within two (2) months of the change.
  • The grant must be used exclusively for the purposes specified in the Grant Agreement. Any alternative use of funds needs to be cleared by RISCA staff in advance in writing (by email), or the grant funds must be returned.
  • RISCA reserves the right to use any submitted materials for promotional purposes. This includes any text, photographs, audio, or video submitted as part of funded grant applications for limited non-commercial educational or promotional use in publications or other media produced, used or contracted by RISCA including, but not limited to brochures, invitations, newsletters, postcards, websites, etc.

Ocean State Procures

All Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) grant award recipients need to have an approved vendor profile in the Rhode Island OCEAN STATE PROCURES (OSP) system. This new online registration system is used by the State of Rhode Island for any vendor of the state, not just those working with or receiving grant awards from RISCA.

Use the Vendor Self-Registration Quick Start Guide for complete details on how to fully register and create a login to access your secure Vendor Portal.  Please note this is a 2-step process:

  1. Create Vendor Profile - After completing Quick Start Guide step 6 “submit registration”, your login credentials and the login link will be emailed to you (with the subject line: “Welcome to WebProcure!”).
  2. Upload W-9 - Once you have registered (including uploading a new W-9) and been approved by OSP, RISCA can process your award payment.

Declining a Grant Award

Before deciding to decline your grant award due to changing circumstances or any other reason, we recommend you reach out to RISCA staff to see if you can accomplish your project with some modifications. If you do decide to decline your award, this is totally fine to do so. It will have no bearing on future grant applications you might submit to RISCA. You will send an email to Mollie Flanagan, Artist Programs Director, indicating your desire to decline your award, and she will assist you.

Practicing Artist: A person that intentionally creates or practices art in any discipline that:

  • Has sought learning or training in the artistic field from any source, not necessarily in formal academic institutions.
  • Is committed to devoting significant time to artistic activity, as is possible financially.
  • Is or is working towards earning some portion of their income from their art.
  • Disciplines include, but are not limited to: musician, painter, poet, choreographer, teaching artist, ceramicist, storyteller, performer, playwright, sculptor, photographer, wampum artist, printmaker, animator, cartoonist, textile and fashion designer, and filmmaker.

Rhode Island residency: Have been domiciled in Rhode Island for at least one year at the time of application. This means your home in Rhode Island is your primary residence, and is the address you use for legal forms, state income taxes, car registration, driver’s license or state issued id, and voter registration - regardless of whether you own or rent your home. You must reside in the state for at least 183 days per year.

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

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Mollie Flanagan Photo

Mollie Flanagan
Director of Artist Programs 
Read Mollie's bio

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