Providence introduces new $2.5M grant program to support arts facilities construction, renovation

PROVIDENCE – A new grant program introduced Tuesday by the city looks to help nonprofit cultural institutions cover costs for facilities renovations and new facility construction projects.

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the city’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism introduced a new Cultural Facilities Grant Program, which $2.5 million will be allocated to via funds from the city’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act funds. Elorza and DACT Director Lizzie Arajulo said awards will be made on a rolling basis and direct payments of up to $750,000 will be made by the end of this year to organizations that qualify.

Additionally, funds will be made available to organizations for cash match-related costs related to state cultural facilities grants awarded by the R.I. State Council on the Arts, Elorza and Arajulo said.

The city says applicants seeking funding for repairs and renovations must submit a budget narrative sowing how they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, current construction plans, cost estimates and/or feasibility studies. Cultural art institutions seeking funding for cash matching RISCA grants will be required to provide corresponding paperwork, including the RISCA confirmation of award and documentation showing how much matching grant money is needed, the city said.

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In a statement, Elorza said the city understands that renovations and repairs to brick-and-mortar facilities can be costly, especially after two years of hardship arts and cultural organizations faced because of the pandemic.

Organizations can apply for the program through the city’s website.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.