COVID-19 COVERAGE

RI receives federal funds to support arts, cultural groups

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Rhode Island’s statewide arts and humanities agencies will receive $840,600 in federal funds designated for relief to arts and cultural organizations affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, according to a joint statement by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

The funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, established in part to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

RISCA will receive $424,300 from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Humanities Council will receive $416,300 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Rhode Island’s share is part of the $150 million allocated to the federal cultural organizations through the CARES Act.

The Humanities Council and RISCA are committed to directly delivering these federal relief funds as quickly as possible to local nonprofit arts and humanities organizations serving Rhode Island communities. Application information and eligibility requirements are now available on the Humanities Council website, and will be available shortly on the RISCA website.

Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, expressed thanks for the increased federal support. “Rhode Island’s arts and cultural organizations have been deeply affected by the current crisis,” said Rosenbaum. “The economic loss to arts organizations is estimated at over $4.5 billion nationwide. Here in Rhode Island the livelihood of a sector that contributes over $1 billion annually to our economy is being threatened.”

Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities noted that “This is a daunting and uncertain time, and humanities organizations have experienced unprecedented losses. The Humanities Council and RISCA were chosen to distribute these funds because of our well-established relationships with museums, historical societies, libraries, theaters, arts organizations, and cultural institutions that are anchors of our communities. One thing I am certain about is that these organizations will help Rhode Islanders understand and weather this crisis.”

Both Rosenbaum and Francis expressed gratitude to the state’s Congressional delegation. “This support from the NEH and NEA as part of the CARES act is thanks in large part to the sustained commitment by Sens. Reed and Whitehouse and Reps. Langevin and Cicilline to the arts and humanities in Rhode Island.”

“Arts and culture have a big impact on Rhode Island’s economy and this federal funding will help save jobs and stabilize nonprofits. We need the arts and humanities now more than ever, and I was pleased to help secure this funding in the CARES Act,” Reed said.

“The arts and humanities are a vital part of Rhode Island’s economy, and they are a valuable resource for everyone,” Whitehouse said. “Our vibrant local arts economy has taken a significant hit as venues close and events are postponed for everyone’s safety, so this federal funding will help the arts and humanities communities weather the pandemic.”

“With widespread disruptions and closures, the coronavirus outbreak has had a particularly devastating impact on the many amazing arts and cultural institutions that call Rhode Island home,” Langevin said. “We have to ensure that our creative economy and those who fuel it with their talent and hard work can weather this epidemic and come out stronger. This critical federal funding will help us in that mission.”

“Rhode Island’s arts and humanities community generates more than a billion dollars in economic activity and supports thousands of jobs in our state each year,” Cicilline said. “This new federal funding will help ensure that all Rhode Island continue to reap the benefits of the extraordinary artists who call our state home.”

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