Media release

Arts and cultural organizations of color can apply for $30,000 capacity-building grants

Goal of the Expansion Arts Program is to nourish the artistic and cultural traditions of communities of color

Arts and cultural organizations of color can apply for capacity-building grants of $30,000 through the Expansion Arts Program. A partnership between the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Foundation, the program fosters greater connections across the arts and humanities as well as provides leadership and professional development for a broader network of diverse arts and cultural organizations.

“We believe in the importance of nourishing the artistic and cultural traditions of communities of color. By recognizing and addressing the unique needs of the organizations that preserve a range of cultural traditions, we work to elevate the multiple voices and experiences that define and enrich our state’s cultural offerings,” said Jenny Pereira, vice president of grants and community investments at the Foundation.

The program targets emerging organizations whose programs and missions center on the cultural practices and traditions of Rhode Island’s diverse communities. The goal is to provide the skills and tools these groups need to grow as equal partners in the state’s arts and cultural sectors.

“The Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program is the longest running program of its kind in the United States,” RISCA’s Executive Director Lynne McCormack said. “And, together with our partners, we have the privilege of investing in organizations and culture bearers as they share their histories and traditions. And, as they create an inclusive future and sense of belonging for all Rhode Islanders.”

Four applicants will be selected to receive $30,000 over three years. Priority will be given to newly emerging groups and those with little history of grant funding. Oct. 14 is the deadline to apply.

"The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is proud to support the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program as it is a prime example of the value of collaborative funding models -- ensuring that the three largest funders of humanities, arts, and culture in our state are committed to serving and responding to the needs of small, culturally diverse organizations," said Elizabeth Francis, executive director.

In addition to the funding, consultants are available to help the groups build knowledge and expertise in areas such as financial management, marketing and audience development, leadership development and strategic collaborations.

The recipients of the last round of funding include EcoArts USA, which supports, coordinates and leads arts, cultural and educational exchange programs between artists from Rhode Island, Cuba and Latin America; the Korean American Association of Rhode Island, which serves the state’s Korean community and educates Rhode Islanders about Korean history, culture and heritage; and the Sankofa Community Connection, which encourages pride of place within Newport County’s African American community.

“Our favorite part of the program is belonging to a community that supports our creative work. We learn from each other, access resources and reach new audiences. The program also provides the space to organize your work, and seek potential funding and opportunities to grow as individuals and as an organization,” said EcoArts USA Founder and President Delia Rodriguez-Masjoan.

For more information about applying for the Expansion Arts Program, visit

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As the only dedicated source of funding for public humanities in Rhode Island, we are proud to support museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify the state’s many diverse voices. A private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Humanities Council is supported by federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as by individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit for more information

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. Visit for more information.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $98 million and awarded $76 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2021. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.