California Arts Council

State of California

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December 02, 2014Caitlin Fitzwater

State Arts Budget One-time Boost Yields Significant Investment in Communities Across California

California Arts Council members vote to support new and expanded arts programs and initiatives with $5 million budget increase

AuCo Vietnamese Cultural Center

With a grant from the California Arts Council, AuCo Vietnamese Cultural Center in San Francisco partners with local community and cultural organizations for the Tenderloin Southeast Asian Arts Initiative. These public programs share cultural traditions between Southeast Asian communities in the Tenderloin neighborhood, and with the greater San Francisco multicultural community. Photo by Calvin Jeng. 

SACRAMENTO - At a public meeting in Santa Monica on November 19, 2014, members of the California Arts Council voted in support of thirteen new, expanded, and continuing programs and initiatives to be funded by a one-time state budget increase of $5 million for fiscal year 2014-15.

"This one-time general fund budget increase allows our Council to address the pressing needs of the arts field and of the state at the highest level in over a decade," said Wylie Aitken, Chair of the California Arts Council. "We are grateful to Governor Brown, our state legislature, and the people of California for their belief in the power of the arts to transform our communities, grow our economy, support our young people, and improve our state."

Aitken continued, "These new investments - combined with those made possible by last year's one-time $2 million funding from former Speaker John Perez and the State Assembly - will continue to prove that ‘art works' in California, and will become the backbone for further state investment in the arts and creativity."

The programs and initiatives funded by the Council reflect its longstanding commitment to arts education and California's young people, and a desire to stimulate economic development in communities around the state through the arts and creativity. Each investment by the Council is deeply rooted in its new strategic plan, which was developed with significant input from the arts field and the public.

The strategic plan calls for the agency to build public will and resources for the arts; foster accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serve as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and provide effective and relevant programs and services.

Details on each program and initiative, including eligibility and grant application guidelines, will be published as they become available. Some initiatives may be subject to review by State control agencies. Below is a summary of the supported initiatives and grant programs. The areas of investment include: 

  • Arts Education Initiatives
  • Competitive Grant Programs
  • Local and Statewide Arts Service Organizations
  • Creative Economy Initiatives
  •  Poetry Out Loud Program
  • China Cultural Exchange Initiative

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to regularly visit the California Arts Council's website to learn more about these programs and initiatives as further details become available. Notification of guidelines for applicable programs will be published in the California Arts Council's weekly e-newsletter, California ArtBeat. Subscribe at

Arts Education Initiatives

The Council will invest nearly half a million dollars in three high-impact arts education initiatives, partially resulting from the work of a statewide arts education coalition known as Core Reforms Engaging Arts To Educate (CREATE) CA. The California Arts Council is a founding organization of CREATE CA which seeks the full inclusion of arts into the California public education system. The three arts education investments are:

  • Turnaround Arts CA: The Council is continuing its support of Turnaround Arts CA, a program using arts education strategies to significantly improve California's lowest performing elementary and/or K-8 schools, in conjunction with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities' national initiative. $300,000.
  • Creativity at the Core: The Council is continuing its support of this innovative program of the County Superintendents Educational Services Association, which places arts at the forefront of Common Core State Standards implementation in California with support from professional arts organizations, helping students succeed in 21st Century learning. $150,000.
  • Student Voices Campaign: The Council will support an expansion of a successful digital media initiative of the California Alliance for Arts Education. For two years, California Alliance has worked with partners around the state to offer students a platform to share their creative power and passion for the arts with decision makers. Support from the Arts Council will further demonstrate how, through digital media, young people can offer powerful evidence of the ways arts education empowers and prepares them for a successful future. $48,000.


Competitive Grant Programs

The Council will support the continued offering of four successful competitive grant programs to be administered through an open call for applications. These programs support state and Council priorities that were identified through a strategic plan listening tour conducted across California and a survey to the field. Guidelines and applications will be available in early 2015. The four competitive grant programs are:

  • Local Impact fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations and artists reaching rural and/or underserved communities. This is a revamped version of a former program known as "Creating Places of Vitality." The Council will expand and update this core grant program, nearly doubling the available grant funds offered in prior years through Creating Places of Vitality. $1,345,000.
  • Creative California Communities supports unique projects representing a wide range of arts disciplines aiming to revitalize neighborhoods through the arts, foster new arts engagement, stimulate tourism, create jobs for artists, invest in young people, and build relationships between local arts, business, government, and non-arts entities. The Council will invest in a second year of this highly popular pilot grant program. $1,000,000.
  • JUMP StArts (Juveniles Utilizing Massive Potential Starting with Arts) supports high-quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for at-risk youth - youth within the jurisdiction of California's juvenile justice system - in classroom, after-school, or incarceration settings. The Council will invest in a second year of this pilot grant program. $200,000.
  • Arts on the Air supports the creation, broadcast, and distribution of original public media content designed to expose Californians to powerful stories about the arts and their value. The Council will invest in a second year of this pilot grant program. $150,000.


Local and Statewide Arts Service Organizations

The Council will increase its investment in two core grant programs that are instrumental to the agency's ability to reach all corners of the state through all artistic disciplines.

  • State-Local Partnership Program is a CAC signature grant program that fosters community development through the arts at the county level through a partnership between the California Arts Council and a local arts agency. The Council approved a $400,000 program increase for a $1,050,000 total investment in 2014-15.
  • Statewide Networks is a signature grant program supporting culturally-specific, multicultural, and discipline-based statewide and regional arts networks and service organizations. Its goal is to strengthen an organization's capacity and delivery of services to its constituents through communications, professional development opportunities, networking and arts advocacy. $375,000.


Creative Economy Initiatives

The Council will expand its investments supporting the integral role the arts and creative sectors play in California's economic growth.

  • Otis Report of the Statewide Creative Economy: For a second year, the Council will support an expansion of the Otis Report on the Creative Economy to include critical statewide data on the creative sectors. The Otis Report illustrates the tremendous impact and influence of the creative sector on the state's economy (1 in 10 jobs, 8% GDP) and is widely used by the field and elected officials as a strong educational tool for the value of the arts and creativity. $60,000.
  • Statewide Creative Economy Convening: The Council will support a convening in Sacramento for key members of the arts field, aligned with the release of the Otis Statewide Creative Economy Report. $50,000.


Poetry Out Loud Program

The Council will provide an increased investment in one of its most popular programs, Poetry Out Loud. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, the California Arts Council coordinates the largest statewide Poetry Out Loud competition in the nation. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage, and compete for college scholarship funding. The Council approved a $50,000 program increase for a $135,000 total investment in 2014-15.

China Cultural Exchange Initiative

The Council will support a statewide conference devoted to the issue of cultural exchange with China, building on the close ties California has established with China in recent years, including the Governor's Trade and Investment Mission to China and a recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives from the California Arts Council and the Chinese Ministry of Culture. The conference will bring together experts from the US and China to educate attendees on the possibilities and requirements for successful international exchange. $50,000.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, Charmaine Jefferson, Nashormeh Lindo, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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