State awards $3.5M in capital grants to support arts, culture renovation efforts

PROVIDENCE – Approximately $3.5 million in capital grants were awarded to 42 entities by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission to help renovate and preserve various cultural arts centers and historic sites throughout the state, Gov. Daniel J. McKee announced Tuesday.

The funding comes from the $7 million allocated from the Cultural Arts and State Preservation Grants Programs ballot question that was approved by voters in March 2021. Out of the grant amount that was just allocated, 24 state cultural facilities grants totaling $2.3 million were distributed by RISCA, McKee said, while 18 state preservation grants totaling $1.2 million were distributed by the heritage commission.

In a statement Tuesday, RISCA Communication Director Faye Zuckerman said the state’s museums, cultural arts centers and performance spaces will receive the capital improvements “they badly need.”

“Rhode Island is rich in history, arts and culture, which play a significant role in our economy in every city and town,” McKee said in a statement. “Through this funding, our state will continue to be a leader nationally in historic preservation and arts and culture.”

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The grants ranged from $9,900 to $250,000. The Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum in Exeter received a $250,000 cultural facilities grant to build a new campus in partnership with the University of Rhode Island. The Island Moving Company in Newport also received a $250,000 cultural facilities grant from the state.

The state also said the Teatro Educational Center for Arts and Sciences, or Teatro ECAS, Rhode Island’s only Spanish-language theater, received a $204,420 grant to help renovate a new performance space in Providence’s Valley Arts District. The city of Central Falls received $150,000 to make repairs to Cogswell Tower in Jenks Park.

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.