Project Grants in Education

  • Summary of grant program: RISCA’s Project Grants in Education (PGE) program provides project-specific support to schools, non-profit organizations, arts educators, and teaching artists to engage students in rich and meaningful artistic experiences in dedicated learning environments. Project Grants in Education projects must be experiential and focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process. PGE strives to build the capacity of local teaching artists and nonprofit organizations, while providing students with high-quality artistic learning experiences.  
  • Award amount: Up to $10,000 for Organizations. Up to $3,000 for Individuals.
  • Who can apply:  Pre-K-12 schools based in Rhode Island (public, public charter, private, alternative, special education schools, career, and technical centers); non-profit or fiscally sponsored organizations based in Rhode Island; Arts educators and teaching artists in partnership with a school based in Rhode Island.

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

The deadline to apply for a Project Grant in Education is 11:59 p.m. on:

  • April 1. This deadline supports projects occurring between July 1 and December 31. For applicants applying at the April 1 deadline, award notification might not occur until after July 1, as we are prohibited from making award announcements until one week after the state budget for the fiscal year (which starts July 1) is enacted.
  • October 1. This deadline supports projects occurring between January 1 and June 30. If a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be 11:59 p.m. on the next business day. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Note that the application portal closes at 11:59 p.m., so you must hit submit before that time for your application to be considered.
  • Pre-K-12 In-School Projects.
  • Projects that authentically match students and school populations with teaching artists from shared cultural backgrounds and experiences.
  • Projects that center learners: of varying abilities; in non-traditional academic programs; of Africana, Latina, Asian and Native American Diasporas (ALANDs); or of “economically disadvantaged” status as defined by the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. as encouraged by The National Endowment for the Art and the RISCA Strategic Plan ‘20.

Pre-K-12 In-School Projects might include: artist residencies, arts integration projects, community engagement projects, school enhancement projects, or curriculum development projects.

Previously funded project examples:

  • An after-school program for students grades 9-12 to learn traditional Native American art forms. The program culminated in an exhibit that celebrates artistic expression and creating visibility of Native American culture and creating a more inclusive school environment.
  • An artist-in-residence for the fall term spearheading building a papermaking studio and implementing a paper arts curriculum at an independent high school.

Community-based learning projects might include arts learning projects that happen in summer camps, after school programs, or weekend programs.

Previously funded project examples:

  • A series of art making workshops at the Boys & Girls club connecting teens with local artists. By participatory arts learning the teens develop relationships with the artists as role models, honing creative/ intellectual development and decision-making skills while creating and critiquing art.
  • A high school for the arts hosts a Community Shakespeare Festival at a local park. This event is open to the public and is an opportunity for students to share what they’ve been learning in their theater classes with the community.

Project Requirements  

  • Projects must include a drafted lesson plan with clearly stated learning goals, intended outcomes, and means for evaluation.  
  • Projects must consist of a minimum of 8 contact hours with the same teaching artist(s) and a distinct group of learners. These contact sessions must occur on separate days.  
  • Projects must consist of in-depth, sequential, and participatory learning opportunities incorporating one or more art forms.

Further Project Requirements

Pre-K-12 In-School Projects

  • Applicant must be a school/district or an individual with a partner school letter of support.

Community Based Learning Projects

  • Non-profit organizations must be the applicant; projects must occur in a dedicated learning environment with a distinct group of learners of any age. Individuals may not be the applicant for a community-based learning project.

Individual applicants with Pre-K-12 In-School Projects additional requirements include:

  • A Letter of Commitment or Support from the partnering school. This letter must detail the partnering school’s support of the project and outline the anticipated roles and responsibilities of all partners.  
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
  • Students attending high school or students, pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in an arts discipline or an arts-related subject area at the time of application, may not apply.

Match Requirement


1:1 Cash Match is Required for requests of 
$3001 or more
        •    the amount over $3000 must be
             matched (see FAQs)

No Match Required if:
        •    Requesting $3,000 or less
        •    Applying as a program in a pilot year (1st or 2nd year program)
        •    Applying as a school or non-profit
             organization meeting
             Free-or-Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) 
             or state identified need criteria 


No Match Required

Free-or-Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) or state identified need criteria

Schools or non-profit organizations must serve students who primarily attend schools with 40% or more students eligible for Free-or Reduced-Price Lunch, or attend schools that had been identified by the state as being in need of support and intervention as determined by a 1 or 2 Star Rating on the RIDE School Report Card, or a district under “state control” at the time of application.

RISCA support may Not be used for

  • Bricks and mortar activities, capital improvements, or the purchase of permanent equipment.
  • Eliminating/reducing existing debt, or contributions to an endowment fund.
  • Fundraising efforts, such as social events or benefits.
  • Prizes and awards.
  • Hospitality expenses, such as food and beverages for openings or receptions.
  • Expenses incurred or activities occurring prior to July 1 or after June 30 in the fiscal year in which the grant has been awarded.
  • Regranting or awarding funds to another person or entity.
  • Activities which are part of 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.
  • Performances and exhibitions not available to the general public, or which are inaccessible to people with disabilities.


Grants applications will be evaluated on the following criteria

  • Project Fit (25%) – The project’s goals and activities clearly fit the Project Grants in Education description.
  • Outcomes (25%) – The expected outcomes, or results, of the project are clearly stated and correlated with the project’s goals.
  • Project Implementation Evaluation (25%) – The applicant has a clear definition of success and specific metrics to measure success.
  • Partnerships & Collaborations (25%) – The applicant is working in coordination and/or collaborating on the project with specific organizations or artists to serve a distinct group of learners.

Artistic Merit: In all four criteria, high-quality, standards-based arts learning, and cultural competencies must be present.

Allocating Funds: Grants with moderate to high overall evaluative scores will be awarded funds by determining how well the project aligns to the Project Grants in Education Program Priorities.

Support Materials

  • Fiscal Sponsor Letter (if applicable)
  • Required documentation for FRPL match waiver (if applicable)
  • Project Budget (Must be the RISCA PGE Template)
  • Example Lesson Plan
  • CVs or Resumes of artists involved
  • Letter(s) of Support/Partnership
  • Artistic Work Samples
  • Optional Upload Section
  • Testimonial (uploaded in Project Narrative under Evidence of Arts Impact) 

Review and Award Process

  • Overview of the panel process.
  • What to do if you receive a grant award.
  • What to do if you don’t receive a grant award.
  • How to get your check.

Artistic Merit: A measurement of high-quality arts learning. This is not a qualitative measurement of the professional history of the artist or artistic discipline attached to the project.

Arts and Culture Organization: Not-for-profit-based groups that provide as their primary mission regular cultural programs or services, which may include producing or presenting a series or regular program of performances, educational programming, exhibitions, media presentations, festivals, readings, or literary publications. Producing is a primary focus on direct creation, production, performance or exhibition of arts; presenting is a primary focus on organizing, selecting or curating and contracting a series, season or festival of performances or events created by other artists and producing groups.

Cash Match: A 1:1 cash match means that for every dollar requested there is a dollar of funds in the recipient’s possession. This may include funds directed towards staff salaries and benefits paid from operational budgets. This may not include in-kind or donated services.

Community Based Learning Project:  An arts learning project for a distinct group of learners facilitated as a partnership with a school and an arts and culture organization that extends beyond the regular school day.

Dedicated Learning Environment: The physical space where the project will occur, typically a PreK-12 school building or arts and culture organization. Technical settings and space for distance learning activities is considered a dedicated learning environment.

Distinct Group of Learners: A pre-identified cohort of student participants of any age that remains stable throughout the duration of the arts learning project.

Economically Disadvantaged: “means a pupil who has been determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals as determined under the Richard B. Russell national school lunch act, 42 USC 1751 to 1769j; who is in a household receiving supplemental nutrition assistance program or temporary assistance for needy families assistance; or who is homeless, migrant, or in foster care, as reported to the center.” from Federal Department of Education

Fiscal Sponsorship: A fiscal sponsor is an organization that fits RISCA’s definition of a non-profit 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.

Non-Profit 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 learning projects must be experiential and focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process. This means the learners should be participating in the art making, not observing a presentation of the art form by the teaching artist.

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.

Teaching Artist 

As defined by the Kennedy Center, teaching artists:

  • Exist at the intersection of the arts and education.
  • Demonstrate a depth of knowledge in their art form. 
  • Are engaged in sustained creative exploration. 
  • Teach in, through, and about the arts.
  • Work in a variety of environments that serve the needs of local communities.

One important distinction is that teaching artists do not serve to replace school certified arts educators. We believe teaching artists can serve as valuable resources and partners to our teachers.

What are possible metrics for Evidence of Arts Impact?

Applicants to PGE are asked to identify “What is your definition of success?” and “What specific metrics will you use to measure success?”.  Below is a list of arts education pedagogies and strategies that may help identify and inform possible methods for project evaluation.

Where can I find my “cash match”? How does this work?

A 1:1 cash match is required for all requests of $3001 or greater. The amount over $3000 must be matched. For example, if you are requesting $5000 in project support you must show a cash match for $2000 ($5000-$3000= $2000).  A 1:1 cash match means that for every dollar requested there is a dollar of funds in the recipient’s possession. This may include funds directed towards staff salaries and benefits, paid from operational budgets. This may not include in-kind or donated services. 

What is a SAM-UEI?

Organizations are required to have a Unique Entity Identifier or UEI (2 CFR 25.200).  In April 2022 the Federal government switched to the use of a UEI created in  as the official UEI.  An UEI reflects the organization’s legal name and current, physical address. As an organizational applicant to RISCA (and possible subrecipient of NEA funds), you must have a UEI but are not required to complete the full SAM registration to obtain it.

What support materials do I need to meet the Free-or-Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) or state identified need criteria?

  • To check for FRPL status, rates for all public schools can be found here: Under Statistical Tables, select School Report, October Enrollment, and the year. For applications being submitted for FY23, do this for 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22.   If the FRPL rate hits the 40% or greater mark for any of the three years, you are eligible for a match waiver.
  • To check for Star Rating documentation, go to If you select a school under School Report Card, the Star Rating is front and center. Please note 2019 is the most current rating in the database. If the star rating is a 1 or a 2, you are eligible for a match waiver.