We’ve created a series of short-form, documentary videos that celebrate creative expression in California. The videos follow art programming across California, from rural towns to some of the state’s largest cities, which are making positive impacts in our communities.
STEM + Arts = STEAM. In this week’s #MyCreativeCA video, watch San Diego’s Malashock Dance Company teach students math through movement at a local Title 1 elementary school.
We’ve created a series of short-form, documentary videos that celebrate creative expression in California. The series of videos follow art programming across California, from rural towns to some of the state’s largest cities, which are making positive impacts in communities.
The first video in our series comes from the Bay Area. Oakland-based dance organization, Destiny Arts first received California Arts Council grant in 1989. They currently receive support through our Artists in Schools and JUMP StArts programs.
On Wednesday, January 27 the California Arts Council celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a special event at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, hosted by former Council Member Annette Bening. Below is a selection from Bening’s opening remarks.
We have come together tonight to celebrate the arts – to honor the countless ways in which creative expression enriches our lives as Californians – whether through community transformation and social prosperity, cultural exchange or individual discovery, or lifelong learning for all generations. As we just saw in the beautiful film that shared a few stories from across our state, the importance of the arts cannot be overstated.
And we’ve come together to consider a question: Why should government support the arts? Why indeed…Of course it is the government’s role to serve its citizens, and as the film we just saw illustrates, the California Arts Council surely does that. But there is a larger purpose to public support of the arts, which is why, for as long as mankind has had governments, governments have funded the arts. Ancient civilizations are endlessly fascinating, but why is that? Without the paintings and the sculpture, the architectural marvels, and every art form from pottery to poetry, what would we know today about ancient Egypt? About Greece, or Rome, or Babylon … the list goes on and on. Art, it has been said, is the signature of a civilization.
To me, arts and creativity are an essential part of what makes us human. As an actor, I tell stories – stories that move audiences to reflect on, and empathize with, people who may be very different from themselves. Movies transport us to places far and near, real and imagined. There’s nothing more human than that. It is imagination—expressed in art—that lifts us out of the everyday and connects us to a larger world. As a member of the California Arts Council I spoke up for the rights of our state’s young people to experience the transformative benefits of arts education, as I did. And as a Californian, I personally take pride in the creativity that makes our communities such wonderful places to live.
The California Arts Council is a special agency. From its beginnings in 1976 to today the Arts Council has demonstrated why government support of the arts is so important. Public support is what brings the arts, with all their power to heal and inspire, to rural communities, towns large and small, blighted neighborhoods, struggling schools, prisons and hospitals, and everywhere the arts can make a difference – from Skid Row to symphony hall. The arts are an invaluable policy asset and prosperity generator for California. The creativity of our state sets us apart and gives California a special place in people’s imaginations. California’s scenery is matched by its spirit, and on this stage tonight you will see a sampling of what I mean by that.
Through the years, the work of the California Arts Council has demonstrated that beyond the arts’ sometimes intangible, inherent value to society, and beyond their value as the signature of who we are, the arts help the state succeed – through economic growth, education, tourism, health and public safety.
This has been the case from 1976 to today, and it will continue to be so for the next forty years.
Annette Bening is a four-time Academy Award nominee, two-time Golden Globe-winner, and a recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Award. She served as a member of the California Arts Council from 2004-2008.
We recently traveled across California to film some of the inspiring people making an impact in their communities through art and creative expression. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be sharing a new video here each week. Here’s a sneak peek that was previewed at our 40th anniversary celebration at the historic Crest Theatre in Sacramento on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
As our host Annette Bening stated on stage at the Crest Theatre, “From its beginnings in 1976 to today the Arts Council has demonstrated why government support of the arts is so important. Public support is what brings the arts, with all their power to heal and inspire, to rural communities, towns large and small, blighted neighborhoods, struggling schools, prisons and hospitals, and everywhere the arts can make a difference – from Skid Row to symphony hall. The arts are an invaluable policy asset and prosperity generator for California. The creativity of our state sets us apart and gives California a special place in people’s imaginations.”
From the role of art in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) to preserving traditional and folk arts, this video shows the wide reach of California Arts Council’s grantees and partnerships to advance arts in California for everyone.
by Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council
Not often (if ever) can you sing the praises of an elected official who took specific action forty years ago to create an enduring legacy—and then see that same person, in the same role, provide a current update to the story! But the California Arts Council will always be tied to Governor Jerry Brown…then and now.
Brown raised eyebrows during his first tenure as Governor by filling virtually every seat on the new Arts Council in 1976 with working artists. Whatever that first Council might have lacked in administrative acumen, they more than made up in artistic vision and passion. The early years were marked by fascinating discussions, ardent beliefs, and ultimately the creation of internationally-regarded, innovative programs serving Californians all over the state.
Fast forward to today and again Governor Brown is at the helm and in the limelight. Serving now an historic fourth term, the Governor was recognized today for his arts support by Americans for the Arts and the US Conference of Mayors in Washington, DC. He has been awarded the 2016 National Award for State Arts Leadership.
A Well-Deserved Honor
Governor Brown was chosen for this award for several important reasons:
Last year he signed a $7.2 million permanent increase to the base funding of the California Arts Council…this after signing a previous year one-time increase of $5 million.
In his most recent budget, he also signed off on $2 million earmarked for an inter-agency agreement between the Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to build on pilot programs begun in 2014 which now represent the most robust Arts in Corrections work in the nation.
Governor Brown also signed exciting new legislation giving the California Arts Council authority to develop and implement a statewide certification and support program for Arts and Culture Districts. The Governor, having previously served as the Mayor of Oakland, knows firsthand the important economic development potential of the arts when targeted investments are made in cultural development. He tested this notion in a highly visible way by creating the Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) while Mayor. OSA is now a national model for arts and community development.
Forty Years and Going Strong
As the California Arts Council gets ready to celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2016 with a sold-out kickoff celebration at the historic Crest Theatre in Sacramento on January 27th, we know that Governor Brown is a true champion for the artists and arts lovers of the state. In his own words:
“Government investment in the arts is critical to support the expression of new ideas and cultural diversity across our society. The arts and creativity play a key role in ensuring California remains a vibrant, thriving state to live in and visit…our state’s artists and creative communities are among the many features that make California so unique.”
Thanks, Governor. We couldn’t have said it any better!
Top photo: Governor Brown delivering his State of the State address on January 21, 2016
Some years, it’s hard to come up with a list of what we’re thankful for when Thanksgiving rolls around. This is not one of those years. No need for the California Arts Council to cudgel its brain to come up with a positive spin…this year, the positive spin has been so intense, we’re downright dizzy with good news.
Are we grateful? You bet.
We’re grateful to Californians for the Arts, our State-Local Partners, the Ovation Foundation, and all the passionate citizens of our great state who went to bat for us this year at the Capitol. Thank you for making your voices heard.
And we’re grateful to the California state legislature, who heard those voices and responded. And to Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the bill that gave us a one-time boost of five million dollars. We promise to make you proud.
We’re grateful to more than twenty thousand Californians who donated to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund through their state tax forms. Thanks to you, more than $250,000 in donations will go directly to programs that put arts education in California schools—not a penny of your donation will be spent on our administrative costs or overhead. So we thank you, your kids’ teachers thank you, your local schools thank you, and we hope your kids thank you too.
We’re grateful to our tireless volunteers, the distinguished members of the California Arts Council. These wonderful folks are true public servants, who donate their über-valuable time, not to mention their clout, to advance California through the arts and creativity. (That’s our mission statement.)
We’re grateful to the smart, dedicated UC interns and volunteers who come to our offices in Sacramento day after day and help us make bricks from straw. Thanks to them, the bricks get made more-or-less on time and under budget.
We’re grateful to our fabulous grantees. Thank you for the brilliant art you make, the lives you touch, the spirits you awaken, the neighborhoods into which you breathe new life, the downtowns you revitalize, the people you hire and the people you inspire.
Thanks, everyone, for caring—for cheering us on—for “liking” our Facebook page, following us on Twitter, and reading our blog.
We are heading into 2015 with renewed hope, and it’s all thanks to you.