Arts and Health Grant

Arts and Health Grants (AHG) support non-clinical art programs with health-related goals that take place in health-based or community spaces. The grant funds both non-clinical arts engagements that promote and facilitate individual health and art activities that address the social determinants of health to provide a community health benefit. The Arts and Health Grant category is grounded by RISCA’s recognition that arts and culture contribute to a thriving community. The arts have the capacity to transform the lives of individuals and communities, contributing to health, well-being, and overall resilience. Arts and culture can facilitate the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional aspects of individual healing, and that when applied to public health, promote healthy environments and policies in communities by fostering empathy, awareness, and social cohesion through shared narrative and aesthetic experiences.

Award Amount: Up to $9,000.
Who can apply

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations based in Rhode Island.
  • Groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Rhode Island.

Eligible nonprofit organizations may include health-based, social service, faith-based, community-based, or arts and cultural organizations.

April 1 Deadline

  • Grants open for applications on Feb. 1.
  • Deadline is on April 1 at 11:59 p.m. 
  • Funding period supports project occurring between July 1 and June 30, the state’s Fiscal Year.

Read more about deadlines, funding periods and decision-making process.
Click here to read Information for First-Time Applicants or download the pdf.

A project is defined as a discrete set of connected activities with a distinct beginning and end. Projects can be one-time events such as an exhibition, a series such as a roster of workshops, or thematically connected concerts, productions, or arts program.

For example: a senior center could apply for an AHG to support a three-week series of free dance classes at the center. However, the same organization could not apply to support its entire nine-month season of programming since that reflects that totality of the organization’s programming and falls outside RISCA's definition of a project. 

The parameters for this program are intentionally broad to be responsive to a community’s needs over time. In the past, this grant program has funded arts experiences open to the entire staff and patients at a hospital to programs tailored to smaller groups with shared health concerns in or out of a hospital setting.

Hypothetical Examples


  • Example One: An organization offers an interactive music program to stimulate memory and cognitive awareness for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
  • Example Two: A substance misuse treatment center offers a series of workshops presented by professional artist(s) (in mediums such as dance, movement, singing, painting, storytelling, poetry, and/or writing) to enable participants to explore their own experience, build a sense of belonging, and develop skills that will assist with their ongoing recovery.
  • Example Three: A dancer/dance company offers an adaptive dance program as an artist residency at a rehabilitation center or long-term care facility for residents and staff.

Public Health

  • Example One: A homeless shelter partners with an artist to create artworks that communicate the experience of homelessness; the resulting works are displayed in a community center to build understanding of the causes and challenges related to homelessness.
  • Example Two: An arts organization and a social justice nonprofit partner to create and promote a public performance that delves into the connection between racism and health outcomes. A post-performance event features a series of community conversations to encourage ongoing dialogue about racism and its impact in the local community.
  • Example Three: A senior center and school co-organize an artist residency to present oral histories, writing, and visual arts workshops. Seniors and students tell, write, and illustrate stories, facilitating intergenerational connection and reducing social isolation. The event culminates with publication of a book, public readings, and/or an exhibit at the senior center and school.

This grant

  • Funds arts experiences that have an intended health or public health benefit.
  • Requires consultation with a health professional(s) and/or subject matter expert(s).

Program Priorities

  • Collaborative arts projects that co-locate arts activities in health and social service facilities and programs, or partner health organizations/professionals with arts organizations/artists.
  • For programs specific to Health: The goal is to utilize the arts to enhance the quality of life and create an environment conducive to healing for individuals, patients, caregivers, and/or staff.
  • For programs specific to Public Health: The goal is to utilize the arts to build healthy communities for all Rhode Islanders by generating awareness of the social determinants of health and to promote the arts and artists as partners in health-related strategies. Applicants are strongly encouraged to collaborate with public health agencies and/or health or social service organizations, and/or to embed experts in related health fields into their projects.
  • Connection to Rhode Island State Arts/Health Plan:
    • Patient Care: Employs arts as part of the treatment plan.
    • Healing Environments: Physical space design as well as what happens in these spaces.
    • Caring for Caregivers: Includes professional, para-professional, informal (family/friends).
    • Education: Improving clinicians’ diagnostic tools, empathy, resiliency, and observation and communication skills
    • Community well-being: Using the arts to address public health concerns such as health literacy, health equity, and trauma resiliency in public areas.


You must be:

  • A nonprofit organization.
    • Conducting business and be incorporated in the State of Rhode Island as a 501(c)(3) with tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
    • Registered with the R.I. Secretary of State.
    • 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.
    • A non-exempt, Rhode Island-based organization using a Fiscal Sponsor that fits the above requirements.

To confirm nonprofit status with the state, visit R.I. Secretary of State’s online database.

NOTE: An umbrella healthcare institution may submit up to two AHG applications in the same cycle if they are submitting different project proposals on behalf of different facilities. Divisions, branches, departments, programs, or other subunits of nonprofit corporations, colleges, or universities are ineligible to apply on their own. Applications may be submitted only by the parent corporation.

You still can be eligible if your organization is incorporated in a state outside of Rhode Island. 

For out of state organizations to be eligible, they must:

  • Show their principal place of business is in Rhode Island.
  • Be registered with the R.I. Secretary of State’s office.
  • Produce programming predominantly in Rhode Island.
  • Be governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn predominantly from the Rhode Island community.

Applying with a Fiscal Sponsor  

  • Non-exempt, R.I.-based organizations can apply via a Fiscal Sponsor. A Fiscal Sponsor is an organization registered with R.I.’s Secretary of State Office and can accept a grant on your behalf. The Sponsor must be financially, administratively, and programmatically responsible for all conditions of the grant.
  • Organizations interested in using a Fiscal Sponsor must contact the Deputy Director prior to beginning an application for approval and to request a grant profile that links the organization to the Fiscal Sponsor.
  • Nonprofit organizations acting as Fiscal Sponsors can also apply for grants for their own programs or be awardees.

When submitting a grant via a Fiscal Sponsor, a letter of agreement between the applicant and the Fiscal Sponsor must be provided. Download the fiscal sponsorship letter template. Typically, Fiscal Sponsor will charge an administrative fee ranging from 0-10 percent depending on the degree of administrative support and bookkeeping required. This fee can be factored into your budget.

A Fiscal Sponsor

  • Must fit RISCA’s definition of a nonprofit organization as stated above.
  • Is responsible for signing any grant documents and ensuring that the sponsored organization follows the rules of the grant program and submits their final report. 
  • Cannot be a project partner in the sponsored organization’s application.

Note: If there is an organization that fits the Agency’s definition of an eligible nonprofit involved in the project, they can function as the lead applicant.


If you are:

  • Receiving General Operating Support for Organizations funding from RISCA in the same fiscal year.
  • Applying for support for this project or aspects of this project through another RISCA grants program.
  • Delinquent on any final reports for previous RISCA grants.

Funding Rules and Restrictions

All grant awards are contingent upon the availability of funds from the Rhode Island General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

  • The maximum grant award in this category is $ 9,000 - but partial awards are common.
  • Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis. Award amounts may vary cycle to cycle depending on available funds, number of applications, and the panel decision-making. For more information on our Decision-Making Process, visit our Applicant Resources web page.
  • If you receive a partial award, you won’t be expected to accomplish the project as initially outlined. You may reach out to staff to discuss project modifications at any time.
  • You also have the option of declining the grant award with no penalties.
  • If you receive a grant, you must credit the Agency on all marketing materials. See Acknowledging RISCA.


  • Grants can be used for expenses related to your project and its production or presentation including marketing and accessibility efforts associated with the project.
  • If using an RFP or RFQ process to select artists for a project, funds can be used to pay artists. These are considered stipends and must be publicly communicated as such.
  • Programs must occur in spaces that are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. You are ineligible for a RISCA grant if your facility does not meet ADA standards.

    For more information: NEA’s Accessibility: Publications, Checklists, & Resources.
  • All funded project activity must take place in Rhode Island.

Not Allowable

Grant funding cannot be used for the following:

  • Capital projects, including the construction or renovation of buildings, or additions to buildings.
  • Development efforts, such as social events or benefits or any fundraising expenses.
  • Addressing, eliminating, or reducing existing debt or for contributions to an endowment fund. 
  • Purchasing of alcohol, food, or beverage.
  • Prizes and awards for an event, person, and/or organization.
  • Regranting.
  • Activities that are associated with 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.
  • Programming, performances, and exhibitions unavailable and/or inaccessible to the public.
  • Expenses incurred or activity happening outside of the award period.

Per the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) enabling legislation, The NEA requires that state arts agencies include artistic merit and artistic excellence in their evaluative criteria. However, the NEA allows state arts agencies to define artistic merit and excellence for themselves and in conversation with their communities. For this grant program, artistic merit and artistic excellence is defined as “Artistic Integrity and Relevancy.”

Panel reviewers will use the following criteria to evaluate and recommend applications for funding.

Health Impact, Access, and Engagement (50%)
Is there evidence of a positive heath impact on the individual and/or community?

  • Thoughtfully conceived project concept, with the capacity to deliver appreciable health and/or public health benefit through non-clinical art experiences.
  • Clearly describes target audience/population to be served and intended health benefit.
  • Project is appropriate and aligns with the participants’ needs and abilities. Project plan anticipates and removes barriers to provide physical and programmatic access to individuals of all abilities and underserved populations.
  • Shows evidence of engagement with health professionals and/or subject matter experts and/or community partners as defined by the project.
  • Shows evidence of impact as defined by the scope of the project.
  • Health: Evidence of integrating the arts to promote wellness and healing—facilitating the physical, cognitive, and social emotional aspects of individual and collective well-being.
  • Public Health: Utilize the arts to build healthy communities by generating awareness of the social determinants of health and to promote the arts and artists as partners in health-related strategies.

Optional (not required): Provide professional development and education opportunities for staff that further understanding of the power of arts-based approaches to facilitate equitable health and well-being.

Artistic Integrity and Relevancy (25%)

Is there evidence that the arts are relevant and integral to this project and centered in achieving health goals? 

  • Artist engagement is central to the project.
  • Evidence that practicing artist/s can provide relevant and respectful engagement with the identified population.
  • Health: Artistic experiences are centered in achieving health goals.
  • Public Health: Artistic experiences are centered in achieving public health goals.

Feasibility (25%)

Is there evidence that the project will be carried out successfully as defined?

  • The application clearly defines the project. This includes what will be done, by whom, when and where activities will take place and the population that will benefit.
  • The applicant has clear definition of success and specific metrics to measure success.
  • Project collaborators present appropriate qualifications and experience with defined project.
  • Budgets are clear, detailed, and accurate; the planned allocation of funds supports project goals.

Required Documentation for Determining Applicant Eligibility

  • 501(c)(3) Determination Letter.
  • SAM-UEI, a 12-character Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) assigned by the federal System for Awards Management (SAM), must be submitted by any entity receiving federal funds. Learn how to get a SAM-UEI for your organization by clicking here. If you don’t have a SAM-UEI by the application deadline, email the Arts and Health Program Director prior to the grant deadline.
  • Recent 990 from one of your past three fiscal years. A 990 is the type of annual tax return 501(c)(3) nonprofits file.
    • For nonprofits less than one-year-old who have yet to complete a 990 form, you will need to submit a Word Document indicating that you have not completed a 990 form.
  • If you are using a Fiscal Sponsor, you need your Fiscal Sponsor’s 501(c)(3) Determination Letter, SAM-UEI, recent 990, and Fiscal Sponsor letter. Use the Fiscal Sponsor Template for your letter.

Support Materials for Panel Review

Required Documents and support materials are an extremely important part of the Arts and Health Grant Panel review process. 

  • Project Budget (Must be the RISCA Arts Health Grant Budget Template)
  • CVs or Resume(s) of artists involved.
  • CVs or Resume(s) of health advisor / subject matter expert
  • Artistic Work Samples
  • Evaluation form of health / public health impact (optional)
  • Optional Upload Section may include Letter(s) of Support/Partnerships, evidence of health / public health need, etc.

Note: If you are submitting video or audio, please link to YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud in the text box and on the support material list. File formats you can directly upload to the application include JPG, PDF, Word, Excel. Please do not submit files in Pages or Numbers. (Our grants system is unable to read files in these formats.)

  • ALAANA (African, Latin American, Asian, Arab, Native-American): This is an acronym for Asian, Latina/o/x/e, African, Arab, and Native American intended to be inclusive of any individual, culture, community, or arts organization from these racial/ethnic identity groups. The term intentionally names these broad racial and ethnic identities rather than grouping them under the more generic term “people of color.” Source: Grantmakers in the Arts.
  • BIPOC: An acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color. The term is meant to unite all people of color while acknowledging that Black and Indigenous people face different and often more severe forms of racial oppression and cultural erasure as consequences of systemic white supremacy and colonialism. Source:
  • Arts and Health is an umbrella term that refers to Arts in Health, Arts in Medicine, Arts in Healthcare. 
  • Arts in Health refers to the field dedicated to using the power of the arts to enhance health and well-being in diverse institutional and community contexts. (National Organization for Arts in Health).
  • Arts in Public Health refers to professional artists practicing in collaboration with public health professionals or communities to enhance population health through wellness and prevention. This includes addressing the social determinants of health as well as the upstream drivers of health inequities. (Center for the Arts in Medicine, University of Florida).
  • Arts in Healthcare is a multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience by connecting people with the arts and artists practices in the healthcare environment.
  • Behavioral Health describes the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. Behavioral health looks at how behaviors impact someone’s health — physical and mental.
  • Creative Therapies is the use of art forms to help treat certain health conditions. These therapies recognize the inherent connection between creativity and the human psyche, utilizing various creative modalities to address emotional, psychological, and physical challenges. Creative therapies encompass a range of practices, including art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, and poetry/writing therapy.
  • Creative Arts Therapists are mental health or counseling professionals who "use distinct arts-based methods and creative processes for the purpose of ameliorating disability and illness and optimizing health and wellness" (NCCATA, 2020 - National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc.). Distinct difference from professional artists because of difference in qualifications and licensing/certification.
  • Fiscal Sponsorship: An organization that fits RISCA’s definition of a nonprofit organization that accepts a grant on behalf of the sponsored organization and is financially, administratively, and programmatically responsible for all conditions of the grant. The Fiscal Sponsor is also responsible for signing any grant documents and ensuring that the sponsored organization follows the rules of the grant program and submits its final report.
  • Health Professional is an individual who is trained and qualified to provide healthcare services to individuals, families, and communities. Health professionals include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and others who work in various healthcare settings to promote, maintain, and restore people’s health and well-being. They are dedicated to diagnosing and treating illnesses, preventing diseases, and improving overall health outcomes.
  • Health* is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. 
  • Non-clinical refers to patient care supports that do not provide direct diagnosis, treatment, testing, or care for a patient.  
  • Nonprofit Organization: Is incorporated in and conducting business in the State of Rhode Island, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, 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.
  • Participatory Arts engagement means the learners should be participating in the art making, not just observing a presentation of the art form by the teaching artist. Projects must be experiential and focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process. 
  • Public Health* refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focuses on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases.
  • Social determinants of health (SDOH)* are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, and political systems. The SDH have an important influence on health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.
  • Underserved communities. The National Endowment for the Arts defines “underserved” communities as "ones in which individuals lack access to arts programs due to geography, economic conditions, ethnic background, or disability." This definition may include BIPOC/ALAANA communities, people with disabilities, immigrant groups, rural populations, aging populations, people living in poverty, people experiencing houselessness, incarcerated populations, communities recovering from trauma or disaster, and military service members and veterans.

*As defined by The World Health Organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SAM-UEI?

The federal government requires all organization have a System of Award Management Unique Entity Identifier (SAM-UEI). Organizations applying for grants from us will need a SAM-UEI to submit your application. We recommend you request a SAM-UEI as soon as possible to ensure you have it by the application deadline.

To request your SAM-UEI, visit the website for the latest information and instructions on how to obtain a SAM-UEI.

Note: the registration is free – but there are many scammers out there. Make sure you are doing this process through a .gov website and only trust communications that come from regarding registration and annual renewals.

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Anisa Raoof
Grants Program Manager Arts and Health
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April 1

  • Feb. 1 Applications Open
  • April 1 at 11:59 p.m.
    Applications Close
  • Funding Period
    July 1-June 30 
    (State’s Fiscal Year)
  • July 31 Final Report Due

Grant Support