California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

October 08, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater

California Arts Council to invest nearly $9 million in grants in 2016

Current programs expanded, new programs created; targeted opportunities for artists and emerging cultural organizations

First Voice SF
With a Creative California Communities grant from the California Arts Council, First Voice produced Suite J-Town, a multicultural, inter-generational series of events created to revitalize the San Francisco Japantown neighborhood

SACRAMENTO -- At a public meeting in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, September 30, the California Arts Council adopted its program budget for fiscal year 2015-16. The Council will invest $8.6 million in a total of ten competitive grant programs that will serve a wide variety of California's communities through engagement with the arts, creative expression, and cultural experiences.

The 2015-16 state budget includes an historic $7.1 million permanent baseline increase in general fund support for the California Arts Council. Two prior years of one-time funding increases allowed the Arts Council to pilot new grant programs, which resulted in documented benefits for California's communities and young people. With this permanent increase, the Arts Council can build upon this success to better meet the needs and demand for arts programs across the state.

"This is an extraordinary moment for the arts and creativity in the state of California," said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. "In 2016, with our permanent funding increase, the California Arts Council will nearly triple the number of grants we are able to provide annually. Our investments support powerful programs that are responsive to the needs of our state and reflective of the unique communities and artists who call California home. In the coming months, we look forward to working with artists and nonprofit organizations in all corners of California to ensure that everyone who can benefit from these programs is aware of the opportunities for state arts funding to reach their community." 

The California Arts Council invests in nonprofit organizations across the state via competitive grant programs, which are administered through a multistep public process including peer-panel review.

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 as further details become available. Notification of guidelines, applications, and technical assistance opportunities will be published in the California Arts Council's weekly e-newsletter, California ArtBeat, beginning in December 2015. Subscribe at

New Pilot Grant Programs

Based on extensive input from the arts field and in support of the Council's strategic goals, the agency will offer two new programs in 2016.

Chairman Harris further remarked, "Our two new grant programs, Cultural Pathways and Artists Activating Communities, are exciting in that they are fresh and innovative, yet they are also rooted in the legacy of our hardworking agency."

Artists Activating Communities: Artists Activating Communities supports sustained artistic employment in community settings, demonstrating the arts to be a central component of civic life, and giving artists a vital role in shaping and serving society. Artist residency activity must include deep interaction with a specific community, and an artistic process that is informed by that interaction. Projects must be artist-driven, should engage community members as active participants, and should activate participants to develop and express their own creativity. Professional artists will work closely with organizational partners and community members to produce creative projects that address a specific community need. $500,000 total program investment (More information is available at

Cultural Pathways: Cultural Pathways is a new pilot grant program rooted in the California Arts Council's commitment to serving the needs of an increasingly demographically-complex California. In this pilot year, Cultural Pathways will focus on arts organizations rooted in communities of color, recent immigrant and refugee communities, or tribal groups. The purpose of the Cultural Pathways program is to strengthen the capacity of small, new and emerging arts organizations that serve and represent the diversity of California, and to anchor the creative work of these organizations in the cultural landscape of the state. $250,000 total program investment (More information is available at

Continuing Grant Programs

The California Arts Council will adopt four programs that began as pilot offerings during the two years of one-time budget increases, and will continue its long-established core grant programs. (Listed in alphabetical order.)

Artists in Schools: The California Arts Council's signature arts education grant program, Artists in Schools supports projects that integrate community arts resources-artists and professional art organizations-into comprehensive, standards-based arts learning at school sites. $1,210,917 total program investment

Creative California Communities: Focused on creative placemaking, Creative California Communities supports large-scale, collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as a key economic development strategy. $2,000,000 total program investment

JUMP StArts: Juveniles Utilizing Massive Potential Starting with Arts (JUMP StArts) supports arts programs aimed to redirect juvenile offenders and/or minors significantly at risk to become juvenile offenders. $750,000 total program investment

Local Impact: The Local Impact program fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations reaching underserved communities. All projects must extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations that have limited access to the arts. $1,345,000 total program investment

Professional Development & Consulting: This program builds arts organizations' capacity for success through small grants to support professional development activities and consulting services. $300,000 total program investment

State-Local Partnership: The State-Local Partnership program fosters community development through the arts at the county level via partnerships between the California Arts Council and a local arts agency. $1,400,000 total program investment

Statewide and Regional Networks: The Statewide and Regional Networks program supports culturally-specific, multicultural and discipline-based statewide and regional arts networks and arts service organizations. $500,000 total program investment

Veterans Initiative in the Arts: Veterans Initiative in the Arts (VIA) provides project and partnership support for nonprofit arts organizations/agencies and veterans assistance organizations to reach veterans, active military, and their families. VIA offers equity, access, and opportunities to enrich the lives of veterans through arts programming that is sensitive and responsive to their unique experiences. $350,000 total program investment

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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