California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

July 16, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater

California Arts Council Invests more than $4 million in Communities Across the State

347 grants awarded for programs reaching students, veterans, artists, underserved communities across California

Education Through Music - Los Angeles
With a grant from the California Arts Council, Education Through Music - Los Angeles partners with local school districts to provide free comprehensive music instruction to elementary school students.

SACRAMENTO - The California Arts Council has announced $4,328,062 in grants to California nonprofit organizations under six unique competitive grant programs. 347 grants will be awarded for programs supporting arts education; underserved communities; veterans and their families; local economic development; public media engagement; and arts service organizations.

A Fiscal Year 2014-15 one-time budget increase allowed the California Arts Council to award the largest number of grants provided by the state agency in 13 years. The supported programs include both the Arts Council's core programs and new pilot investments.

"California Arts Council grants support a wide range of projects that are crafted by each community to reflect their values and needs," said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. "It is always exciting to see what creative minds attempt to do when working collaboratively. With an increased state investment, we are able to further spark the powerful growth and prosperity that result from the deep arts engagement provided by our grant programs."

The California Arts Council's competitive grant programs are administered through an open call for applications with all submissions adjudicated by peer review panels made up of experts from the arts and academic fields. Each program was welcomed by high interest and demand from the public. Investments were made based on the peer review panel's recommendations and available funds. The Council voted on grant awards at a public meeting in San Diego on June 24, 2015.

Grant Programs and Awards

Local Impact: The Local Impact program fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations reaching underserved communities. All projects must extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 146
     Total Investment: $1,285,297
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Artists in Schools: The Artists in Schools (AIS) program supports projects that integrate community arts resources-artists and professional art organizations-into comprehensive, standards-based arts learning projects for California's students.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 135
     Total Investment: $1,210,917* (*supported by Fiscal Year 2015-16 funds)
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Creative California Communities: The Creative California Communities (CCC) program supports large-scale collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as a key economic and/or community development strategy. Projects will benefit residents and visitors in California's communities by leveraging the assets of the creative sector, which includes artists, cultural organizations and arts-related businesses.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 30
     Total Investment: $1,269,787
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Statewide Networks: The Statewide Networks program supports collaborative service organizations that provide practical services to working artists and constituent organizations.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 19
     Total Investment: $286,000
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Veterans Initiative in the Arts: The Veterans Initiative in the Arts (VIA) is a pilot competitive grant program that provides project and partnership support for the California Arts Council's State-Local Partners (local arts agencies) to reach veterans, active military, and their families. VIA offers equity, access, and opportunities to enrich the lives of veterans through arts programming that is sensitive and responsive to their unique experiences.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 13
     Total Investment: $125,561
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Arts on the Air: Arts on the Air supports public media projects that expose Californians to impactful stories about the arts and their value. The program supports projects that demonstrate a clear approach to building public awareness and support for the arts; maximize audience reach and community engagement; and involve California artists and arts organizations.
     Number of Grants Awarded: 4
     Total Investment: $150,500
     List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Earlier this year, the Council awarded grants for two additional programs: JUMP StArts and Professional Development and Consulting.

Examples of Funded Grant Projects (in alphabetical order)

Alameda County Arts Commission (Veterans Initiative in the Arts) Veterans + Families + Art = Creative Power is a new community building project by the Alameda County Arts Commission with partnering veterans service agencies. This project will bring veterans and their intergenerational families together for a series of art workshops. The goal is to strengthen family bonds and encourage family communication through the engaging, joyful and transformative power of the art making process.

Armory Center for the Arts (Artists in Schools Program) Artful Connections with Math is a visual arts-math integrated program, designed and delivered by Armory Teaching Artists in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms in Title I schools in the Pasadena Unified School District. Artful Connections with Math is specifically designed to reach underachieving students in Title I elementary schools that have high percentages of English Language Learners.

California Poets in the Schools (Statewide Networks Program) California Poets in the Schools will strengthen their unique statewide grassroots organizational network that places local poets in community schools to empower over 26,000 young poetic voices. 

Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center (Local Impact Program) Noche Culturales is a series of eight cultural events rooted in regional cultural arts within a social context in Contra Costa County. Noche Culturales will feature performances by artists and performing groups that represent local and regional cultures, curated by a team of experienced cultural artists, and enhanced with culturally appropriate cuisine.

Twentynine Palms Artists Guild (Creative California Communities Program) Sand to Stone: Contemporary Native American Art in Joshua Tree, is a multidisciplinary project - art exhibition, outdoor performances, site-specific installation, art expo, publication, website, and education programs - that centers on an area of specific cultural significance to the four tribes affiliated with Joshua Tree National Park. It encourages Native American artists to reconnect with the park in the production, exhibition and performance of art, music and dance and fosters cross-cultural interaction and the celebration of the land within and around park boundaries.

KALW (Arts on the Air Program) KALW will launch Sights and Sounds - a multi-platform project highlighting the perspectives and creations of Bay Area artists, with an emphasis on creative people rooted in underserved communities via arts reporting and sound-rich audio and community event production. Through a weekly radio and web feature, and a live event in East Oakland, Sights and Sounds will connect artists with new audiences and increase grassroots engagement with the arts.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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