“Site” seeing: 4 things you may not know about the CAC website

This week on the California Arts Council blog, we’re taking you on a “site” seeing tour of arts.ca.gov. If you’ve never before perused the items of our website’s drop-down menu, you may have overlooked some worthwhile stuff. Here’s the scoop on four great resources worth checking out!

1. Artist Calls & Arts Jobs.

If you’re an artist, arts administrator, or art student seeking work, or just an arts enthusiast looking to break into the field, these are for you.

  • This Artist Calls page includes organizations seeking various creative talents for exhibitions, performances, photography and film shoots, and more.
  • Next comes the Arts Jobs page—we maintain a comprehensive list of vacancies within arts organizations, whether it’s in the art department or accounting. (Most positions posted are in the state, but the occasional out-of-state opportunity is listed as well.)

All the listings can be sorted by specific criteria to help you zero in on whatever best suits your needs. Seeking candidates for a position, exhibition or performance? No problem. Take advantage of our easy-to-use submission forms to have your post included on the appropriate page!

2. Grants.

Obviously, our website features lots of info on the 15 different grant programs we administer. But did you know we got the memo about other grants, too? Our Grants webpage features a database for grants available from outside organizations—also easily sorted to get to what you’re looking for faster. If you’re a grantmaker that wants to give visibility to an opportunity, submit your information to editor@cac.ca.gov.

3. Conferences & Workshops.

Looking for learning opportunities as an arts administrator or educator? Need assistance navigating the world of grant writing or grantmaking? We’ve got a calendar of conferences, workshops, webinars, and training opportunities to help you sharpen your skill set and broaden your knowledge base. To recommend a listing to be added, shoot us an email at editor@cac.ca.gov.

4. Research & Reports.

Keeping up to date in the arts means staying informed of the latest in case studies, strategies, and science. We’ve collected hundreds of reports about the arts. Browse our research database by topic, explore our page of arts terms and concepts, or get some background on the benefits of the arts to education, the economy, and health.

P.S. Listings from most of these pages are regularly featured in our weekly Arts Council newsletter, ArtBeat. Sign up here and never miss the latest updates!

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’s creative economy is booming (and it’s our duty to help it stay that way)

In case you missed it: Some big deal data was dropped this morning.

For the last four years, the California Arts Council has supported the generation of a report, developed by Otis College of Art and Design and its research partner, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. The Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California takes a deep dive into California’s creative industries; more specifically, into their impact on our state’s economy.

Artists are often an overlooked contributor to our state’s GDP. But it’s no coincidence that California leads the nation in creative jobs and stands alone as the sixth largest global economy in the world. And this year’s figures back up that relationship, putting the money where our muse is.

A snapshot of some relevant findings:

  • California’s creative economy generated 747,600 direct jobs, nearly 270,000 more than the second ranking U.S. state for creative occupations, New York.
  • From 2010 to 2015, direct wage and salary employment in California’s creative industries increased by 88,600 jobs to 747,600, an increase of 13.5 percent.
  • Creative occupations often require high levels of education or skills training, with close to 50 percent of those examined requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Property taxes, state and local personal income taxes, and sales taxes directly and indirectly generated by the creative industries totaled $16.7 billion across all of California.
  • The total income reported by arts-related nonprofits in California was $7.8 billion.

So, what do all these numbers mean? It means the arts matter—for wealth as much as health. It means California is awesome—skilled, diverse, imaginative, altogether unique. It means that creativity is an enterprise in and of itself, woven into the fabric of doing business in our state, not as an accent for an already flourishing economy.

It also means that in order to maintain our position as the nation’s nerve center for creativity, we need to invest in our artists that give our state its identity. With rising real-estate costs, an artist’s ability to secure an affordable, appropriate and safe place to live or work presents an enormous challenge. The Ghost Ship fire in Oakland was a harrowing reminder of the reality facing California’s artists, often sacrificing safety for the sake of their work.

This year’s report features an addendum tackling the issue of artist housing, offering solutions for the future. It’s our duty to support the workforce that supports us, and keep the welcome mat out for the creatives to come.

Check out the full report, including the addendum, at www.otis.edu/otisreport.

Storytelling: Essential to the Human Spirit

Today, we’re proud to release the findings of an extensive evaluation of our support of nonprofit media organizations, specifically as it relates to arts and culture coverage and related projects. The report, Nonprofit Media Coverage of the Arts in California: Challenges and Opportunities, is the first of its kind — assessing the status of California nonprofit media organizations’ engagement with arts and culture, and the funding of such activities.

Foreword: Nonprofit Media Coverage of the Arts in California

By Caitlin Fitzwater, Communications Director, California Arts Council

Storytelling is essential to the human spirit. Stories move us, but beyond that they inspire action, deepen understanding, build bridges, and foster change. Storytelling, arts, and culture go hand in hand.

Public media is a key source through which storytelling is made available to all. With no cost for consumption, a radio can be all one needs to be transported and to stay informed. At its best, public media is embedded in communities, fostering the sharing of stories that are authentic to local cultures.

The California Arts Council, our state arts agency, recognizes these contributions as vital to California’s cultural ecosystem. Perhaps that’s why public media emerged as a grantmaking priority in 2013 when a one- time infusion of new state arts funding allowed our Council to “dream big” for the first time in a decade. Seeking to utilize one-time funding for programs that could show significant impact, the California Arts Council developed the Arts on the Air public media program.

KQED - KQED Producer Matthew Williams films artist Wendy MacNaughton at her drawing table.JPGThis pilot grant program was a high priority for the Council. But key to a productive investment is ensuring that grants are effectively serving the field and meeting the actual needs of California’s communities. After all, there’s little point in investing in something if you’re not getting it right. This is precisely why our Council prioritizes evaluation. Rigorous assessment takes many different forms, and in the case of our investment in public media, we wanted to discern, not assume, the true needs of the field. We wanted to deepen our knowledge of public media in California today as part of our assessment, and to foster new relationships along the way. That is why, after two years, the Council suspended the pilot program for a year to evaluate its effectiveness and impact.

In this case, our central evaluation activity was the convening of a California Arts and Public Media Summit in Oakland on June 23,2016. The field participated in the summit robustly and enthusiastically. And the project yielded great results: networking opportunities, relationship building, this report – and perhaps most importantly, better informed programming decisions for the California Arts Council. The public process has always been central to our work, but it is increasingly critical as we develop new programs with growing state arts funding resources. Public input is in our DNA as government funders. It is a crucial vehicle for involving all Californians in the investment of public resources.

The following report contains a summary of activities and input from public media experts and thought leaders across our state and the nation. We express our deepest thanks to all who participated. While this report is indeed informing the work of our Council right now, it’s not just for us. We hope the findings will be a helpful resource and conversation starter for all parties who are invested in the success of the public media field and its engagement with California’s cultural communities. Perhaps it goes without saying, but times are changing – and staying in touch with those doing the work on the ground is paramount to any funder or stakeholder’s success.

Our Council is embracing the evolution of our programs, welcoming change, and capitalizing on the realities of doing good work in a 21st-century California. We are all excited for what’s to come, and are grateful to have continual opportunities to build our knowledge together with our state’s vibrant and diverse communities.



aaeaaqaaaaaaaalaaaaajgrinjc1zjm4ltk3oditngy4ms1imtg0lwuzzmq3ndczztljywCaitlin Fitzwater
is the Communications Director for the California Arts Council, a position she has held since June 2013. Previously, in New York City, Caitlin served as the marketing manager for New York Public Radio, developing campaigns for nationally beloved radio programs including Radiolab and Studio 360. She also managed marketing efforts for the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons Theater. Caitlin was a 2012-13 Executive Fellow at the Devos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. She can be reached at caitlin.fitzwater@arts.ca.gov.

Photo Credits: Documania and KQED Arts