It’s been such an eventful year here at the California Arts Council, full of advancements toward fulfilling our vision—a California where arts and culture thrive on our streets, at our schools, and in the hearts of every resident.
Looking back, we couldn’t possibly list all the wonderful achievements of our grantees, Council, and staff without penning a novel. To save you from scroll fatigue, we hope you’ll settle for this abridged list of some of our biggest accomplishments of 2017.
MORE THAN 1,000 GRANTS AWARDED
More than $15 million in state funding was invested in California nonprofit organizations and units of government for their work spanning the Arts Council’s 15 unique program categories, benefiting students, veterans, arts educators, at-risk youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, underserved populations, and communities at large. The 1,076 grants awarded are the largest investment in grants for the Arts Council since the 2002-03 fiscal year.
$6.8 MILLION PERMANENT BUDGET INCREASE
June’s announcement of the 2017-18 state budget turned a one-time $6.8 million increase from this fiscal year into a permanent one, extending the reach of the California Arts Council’s grant programs to more sustainably meet the needs and demand for arts and cultural experiences benefiting diverse communities across the state.
IMPACT OF CALIFORNIA’S CREATIVE ECONOMY GROWS
Now in its fourth year, the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California continues to emphasize the value of our state’s creative industry, drawing a direct relationship between California’s place as the sixth largest global economy and its artistic residents. This year’s report cited a $406.5 billion creative economic output, responsible for 10.9 percent of the state’s GDP. As an addendum to the report, the Arts Council commissioned a white paper targeting the housing crisis in California to identify ways to fight the displacement of California’s artist population.
ARTS IN CORRECTIONS REACHES ALL STATE ADULT INSTITUTIONS
California’s Arts in Corrections program has become internationally renowned for its high-impact, innovative approach to addressing the state’s critical public safety needs and rehabilitative priorities through the arts. Made possible by an interagency partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, arts programming now reaches all 35 state adult correctional institutions – a significant increase from the 20 institutions served by the program in the previous fiscal year.
THREE NEW GRANT PROGRAMS LAUNCHED
Building on the success of the Arts in Corrections program, the California Arts Council introduced Reentry Through the Arts, a grant program rooted in the belief in the arts as an agent of change for the formerly incarcerated. We initiated Research in the Arts, the first program of its kind supporting original research on the value and impact of the arts. And we revamped and reinstituted our Arts and Public Media program to better engage our communities in arts and culture storytelling.
CALIFORNIA CULTURAL DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED
The California Arts Council launched its California Cultural District program in 2017, designating 14 districts to comprise the program’s first cohort. Aligning with the mission and values of the California Arts Council, the districts will celebrate some of the thriving cultural diversity and unique artistic identities of California while unifying under an umbrella of shared values, helping to grow and sustain authentic grassroots arts and cultural opportunities, increasing the visibility of local artists and community participation in local arts and culture, and promoting socioeconomic and ethnic diversity. Additional new districts will be eligible to apply for state designation in 2019 through a finalized certification process.
Whew! That’s quite a bit, and really, we’ve just scratched the surface of the meaningful work that’s taken place here this year. As we plan for next year and the years to come, we’ll continue to strive for quality service, bettering our communities, improving lives, and celebrating California’s vibrancy through increased access to the arts.
Happy holidays, from all of us ! See you in 2018!