Project Grants in Education

Project Grants in Education (PGE) provide project-specific support to schools, nonprofit organizations, arts educators, and teaching artists to engage students in rich and meaningful artistic experiences in dedicated learning environments. Proposed grants must be experiential and focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process. The grant strives to build the capacity of local teaching artists and nonprofit organizations, while offering students 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).
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit or fiscally sponsored organizations based in Rhode Island.
  • Arts educators and teaching artists in partnership with a Rhode Island-based school.


April 1 Deadline

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

Oct. 1 Deadline

  • Grants open for applications Aug. 1.
  • Deadline is Oct. 1 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Funding period supports projects occurring between Jan. 1 and June 30.

Read more about deadlines and funding periods in our FAQs.

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 a festival, show, or exhibition, or a series such as a roster of classes, or thematically connected concerts, productions, or arts program.

This program prioritizes projects that:

  • Are Pre-K-12 in-school projects.
  • Authentically match students and school populations with teaching artists from shared cultural backgrounds and experiences.
  • 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 R.I. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and encouraged by The National Endowment for the Arts and the RISCA Strategic Plan ‘20.

Hypothetical Examples

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

Example Projects:

  • An after-school program for students grades 9-12 to learn traditional Native American art forms. The program culminated in an exhibit that celebrated artistic expression, created visibility for Native American culture and contributed to a more inclusive school environment.
  • An artist-in-residence for the fall term spearheaded building a papermaking studio and implemented 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.

Example Projects:

  • A series of art-making workshops at the Boys and Girls Club connecting teens with local artists. By participatory arts learning the teens developed relationships with the artists as role models, and honed creative/ intellectual development and decision-making skills while creating and critiquing art.
  • A high school for the arts hosted a community Shakespeare festival at a local park. The event was open to the public and offered an opportunity for students to share what they’ve been learning in their theater classes with the community.

For additional examples review past grantees

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 eight 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

  • Nonprofit 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

  • A Letter of Commitment or Support from the partnering school.
    • The 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 18 years of age.


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 undergraduate or graduate program or attending high school full time.
  • Receiving General Operating Support for Organizations or General Operating Support for Artists 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.

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 


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.

 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 Arts Education Program 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 the grant budget in your application.

Fiscal Sponsor Requirements

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 RISCA’s definition of an eligible nonprofit involved in the project, they can function as the lead applicant.

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

  • The maximum grant award in this category is $10,000 – but partial awards are common.
  • Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis. Grant award amounts may vary in amount 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 the Arts in Education Director 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 RISCA 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. 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.

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 (see more on Fiscal Sponsors in the eligibility section)
  • 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) 

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 Number format. Our grants system is unable to read files in these formats.

Review and Award Process

For information on the review process visit Overview of the Decision-Making Process. And for more on how to receive an award, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Artistic Merit: in the context of Project Grants for Education, 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.
  • 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 art-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: 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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, though, 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 $3,001 or greater. The amount over $3,000 must be matched. For example, if you are requesting $5,000 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?

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.

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.
Seamus Hamas

Seamus Hames
Arts Education Program Director/504 Accessibility Coordinator
Read Seamus's bio
Watch the instructional video on the Project Grants in Education Grant

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