About the California Arts License Plate

The California Arts License Plate was created through special legislation in 1994. It is a joint project between the California Arts Council and the Department of Motor Vehicles and was the first specialty-plate program in the U.S. designed solely to benefit the arts. The plate image is titled Coastline and was created by renowned California artist Wayne Thiebaud in 1993. Since then the iconic image has become famous worldwide, and sales and renewals of the plate have provided millions of dollars to support arts programs in California.

Approximately 60 percent of the California Arts Council’s current budget comes from the sales and renewals of the Arts License Plate.  For each standard and personalized Arts License Plate, approximately $34.60 of the initial purchase and $40 of the renewal goes for California arts.

When the Arts License Plate was first released, Sylvester Stallone encouraged car owners to be arts supporters and “bolt ‘em to your car!”  More recently former California Arts Council member Annette Bening reminded Californians that “kids come alive with the arts” in an animated PSA.

The DMV has asked customers to please allow approximately 6-8 weeks to process orders. Sequential plates will be mailed to applicants as soon as the plates are ready.  For a personalized Art License Plate, the car owner will receive a notice to pick up the plate at the local DMV field office.  California registered car owners may order the California Arts License Plate through the Department of Motor Vehicles.