2017: The Highlights

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!

California Cultural Districts: What’s Next?

Updated 11/1/2016

As you may be aware, new California legislation has empowered the California Arts Council to designate areas as state cultural districts. A cultural district is defined as a geographical area with a concentration of cultural facilities, creative enterprises, or arts venues.

We know that every city and town in California is different, and we want to ensure that California’s first statewide cultural districts program is reflective of the unique realities, opportunities, and challenges that exist in communities large and small across our state.

That is why we are seeking input from you, the public, as we undergo the planning process for the new statewide cultural districts program. We are seeking public input to help us develop a program that is reflective of the distinct features that make our communities unique.

We’ve retained the services of consultants Jessica Cusick and Maria Rosario Jackson – experts in public and community arts – as the facilitators of our program development process. Throughout the planning process, we will be reaching out to our arts community, as well as key stakeholders from various sectors including local businesses, community organizations, chambers of commerce, local governments, main street associations, and departments of transportation, public safety, planning and development.

Public Input Meetings

Between now and November, we will be holding five public input meetings in various locations across the state. Click here to view a PDF of the presentation shared at these meetings.

  • “True North” Public Input Meeting – September 8th in Redding
  • Central Valley Public Input Meeting – September 29th  in Fresno
  • San Diego Region Public Input Meeting – October 3rd in Escondido
  • Bay Area Public Input Meeting – October 5th in Oakland
  • Los Angeles Public Input Meeting – October 24th in Los Angeles

Throughout this process, we will be asking key questions of communities across the state, such as:

  • When you think of “cultural districts,” what comes to mind for you?
  • What would be the benefits of a cultural district in your community?
  • Whose involvement would be essential to the success of a cultural district in your community?

Survey

All interested parties are encouraged to weigh-in via brief online survey, available at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAC-CD. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. (Survey now closed.)

This exciting opportunity would not be possible without the cultural districts legislation authors. We extend a special thank you to Assemblymember Richard Bloom and Assemblymember Marie Waldron for their leadership and support.

Our Council will review the program recommendations at our December meeting. It’s expected that the cultural districts program and application process will launch in 2017. In the meantime, our work continues, and we look forward to engaging with you along the way!


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