Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeships

The Folk and Traditional Arts are defined as those artistic practices which are community or family-based and express that community’s aesthetic heritage and tradition.

Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeships (FAA) are designed to foster the sharing of traditional (folk) artistic skills between a mentor and an apprentice who is already familiar with the genre. The program creates this opportunity specifically for individuals who share a common cultural heritage.

Award Amount: Up to $7,000.

Who can apply?

  • Folk and Traditional Art mentor artists that live in Rhode Island.
  • All potential applicants to the FAA Grant program must contact the Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program Director to discuss their application before the deadline.


April 1 Deadline

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

Read more about deadlines and funding periods in our FAQs.

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

All potential applicants to the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship (FAA) Grant program must contact the Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program Director to discuss their application before the deadline.

Applications must be submitted by the folk and traditional mentor artist. In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Have been domiciled in Rhode Island for at least one year at the time of application. This means 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 identification, 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.
  • Be a legal resident of the United States with a tax identification 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.
  • Submit only one Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship application per person per deadline. Individuals may not apply for both a Folk and Traditional Arts Fellowship and a Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship with the same deadline.
  • RISCA encourages one-on-one apprenticeships. In some cases, more than one apprentice per mentor folk artist is appropriate and will be allowed. Please contact the Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program Director to discuss the application.

There is no age requirement to participate as an apprentice. Apprentices under the age of 16 must submit a parent’s or legal guardian’s release or permission letter(s) as part of the application.


If you are:

  • A staff member or Council member of RISCA, or an immediate family member of a staff or Council member.
  • Currently enrolled in an arts degree seeking program or attending high school full time.
  • Proposing a project that is part of a nonprofit or business operation or it’s project. This project must be taking place outside of the support and structure of a larger, more formal entity. You can receive in-kind donations from formal entities (like donated rehearsal space or materials, etc.). 
  • Applying for support for this project or aspects of this project through another RISCA grants program.
  • Receiving General Operating Support for Artists funding from RISCA in the same fiscal year.
  • Delinquent on any final reports for previous RISCA grants.

Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship applicants are ineligible to reapply for one fiscal year if they have received funding in this category for three consecutive years.

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 $7,000. Partial awards occasionally happen.
  • 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 apprenticeship teaching plan or timeline 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 apprenticeship.
  • 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. See the NEA’s Accessibility: Publications, Checklists, & Resources for more information.
  • 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. 
  • Covering expenses incurred or activities occurring outside of the funding period.
  • 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.

Applications will be evaluated based on the following:

Quality and artistic merit of the mentor folk and traditional artist. (25%)

Traditionality and artistic merit of the mentor folk artist.

Apprentice's prior familiarity to the traditional art form. (25%)

Extent of apprentice's prior familiarity with the traditional art form. Extent of apprentice's commitment to continuing the traditional art form.

Clarity and achievability (25%)

Quality, feasibility, and effectiveness of the apprenticeship teaching plan. Goals and outcomes are clearly stated in the apprenticeship teaching plan.

Commitment to public value (25%)

Artist has a desire to expand public knowledge or appreciation of the traditional art form and willingness to have a final performance at a public venue.

Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant recipients must also show evidence of a culminating public presentation at the end of the apprenticeship.

You may submit up to 10 support materials, along with a website if you have one, and an artist bio, resume or CV. All support materials are optional, but strongly recommended. The support materials should help tell the story of your application and be directly related to the Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship you are proposing.

  • The website can be submitted as a link and link to the website of either the lead applicant or the project.
  • 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.
  • A numbered support materials list of what you are submitting along with a one to two sentence description. This must be either a Word Document or a PDF.
  • Up to 10 attachments that tell the story of your application and relate to the review criteria. Examples of support materials can include artist resumes/CVs; images/video/audio of work by applicant and/or participating artists; marketing collateral for past projects; and up to two letters of support from community leaders or organizations familiar with the culture-bearer’s folk and traditional artform and its impact on the community.

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.)

Are you ready to apply?

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Proceed to Online Application 

Elena Patino

Elena Calderón Patiño
Director of Arts and Cultural Sustainability Program
Read Elena's bio
Make an Appointment 

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

Oct. 1

  • Aug. 1 Applications Open
  • Oct. 1 at 11:59 p.m.
    Applications Close
  • Funding Period
    Jan. 1-June 30
  • July 31 Final Report Due

Grant Support