California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

July 07, 2016Caitlin Fitzwater

California Arts Council Invests more than $8.5 million in Communities Across the State

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

Pictured: With support from the California Arts Council, Diablo Ballet enhance students' academic performance by providing creative movement education in Title I schools across Contra Costa County.

SACRAMENTO - The California Arts Council has announced $8,726,168 in grants to California nonprofit organizations under ten unique, competitive grant programs. 712 grants will be awarded for programs supporting arts education; underserved communities; veterans and their families; local economic development; arts and community development; creative placemaking; and arts service organizations.

A Fiscal Year 2015-16 permanent state budget increase allowed the California Arts Council to award the largest number of grants provided by the state agency in 14 years. 225 more awards were made this year than in 2014-15. Ten grant programs were offered this year, including the Arts Council's eight core programs and two new pilot programs.

"California Arts Council grants provide vital support for projects in diverse communities across our state," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "This was an historic year of state arts support. We are proud to invest more than $8.5 million in funding 712 grant projects that will stimulate local growth and prosperity, and meet the needs of our communities through deep engagement with culture and creative expression."

The California Arts Council will continue to grow the reach of its programs in the coming year, as the result of a significant one-time state arts funding increase for 2016-17 announced last week.

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 field. Each program received high interest and demand from the public. Investments were made based on the peer panels' recommendations and the available program funds. The Council voted on grant awards at public meetings in Los Angeles on April 22, 2016 and Richmond on June 16, 2016.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the California Arts Council's website regularly to learn about future grant opportunities as details become available. Notification of guidelines, applications, and technical assistance opportunities for upcoming grant programs will be published in the California Arts Council's weekly e-newsletter, California ArtBeat, beginning in December 2016. Subscribe at

Fiscal Year 2015-16 Grant Programs and Awards

Artists Activating Communities: A new pilot grant program, Artists Activating Communities supports sustained artistic residencies in community settings, demonstrating that the arts are a central component of civic life, and that artists are vital in shaping society. Projects are artist-driven, engage community members as active participants, and activate participants to develop and express their own creativity.

Number of Grants Awarded: 47
Total Investment: $559,968
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Artists in Schools: The Artists in Schools 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
List of 2016 Grant Recipients (PDF): 

(Note: The Artists in Schools program is administered on an alternative grant schedule in accordance with the school calendar year. 2017 Artists in Schools grants were awarded on June 16, 2016. View a list of 2017 grantees at this link:

Creative California Communities: The Creative California Communities program supports collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as vehicles for creative placemaking. Successful projects represent the distinct character and quality of a community and present a vision for enhancing the social or economic livability of that community through the arts. Projects benefit residents and visitors to California's communities by leveraging the assets of the creative sector (artists, cultural organizations and arts-related businesses) to address community needs or priorities.

Number of Planning Grants Awarded: 10
Number of Project Grants Awarded: 41
Total Investment: $1,953,707
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Cultural Pathways: A new pilot grant program, Cultural Pathways is rooted in the California Arts Council's commitment to serving the needs of an increasingly demographically complex California, and the belief that a healthy arts ecosystem reflects contributions from all of California's diverse populations. This program provides two years of operating support and a host of technical assistance and professional development activities to small and emerging organizations rooted in communities of color, recent immigrant and refugee communities, and tribal groups.

Number of Grants Awarded: 28
Total Investment: $280,000
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

JUMP StArts: JUMP StArts supports arts education and artists-in-residence programs for youth within the juvenile justice system. Activities take place in classroom, after-school, social services and incarceration settings throughout the many diverse communities in California. Projects are designed and developed in partnership between an arts organization and a juvenile justice/social services entity, reflecting a collaborative relationship between the partnering organizations that maximizes positive impact for youth participants.

Number of Grants Awarded: 27
Total Investment: $603,071
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Local Impact: The Local Impact program is rooted in the California Arts Council's vision to create a state where the arts are a central component of daily life and accessible to all. The Local Impact program fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project support for arts organizations with operating budgets under $1 million. All projects extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations that have limited access to the arts.

Number of Grants Awarded: 149
Total Investment: $1,434,753
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Professional Development and Consulting: The Professional Development and Consulting program assists arts organizations in building their capacity for success through consulting services or professional development training.

Number of Grants Awarded: 122
Total Investment: $328,500
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

State Local-Partnership Program: The State-Local Partnership Program fosters community development through the arts at the county level via partnerships between the California Arts Council and a local arts agency. Partners benefit from funding, technical assistance and coordinated activities that support their efforts that enrich the lives of the members of their communities through the arts.

Number of Grants Awarded: 54
Total Investment: $1,400,000
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Statewide & Regional Networks: The Statewide and Regional Networks program is rooted in the California Arts Council's vision to nurture collaborative service organizations and networks that advance the arts and artists in the state. Arts service organizations provide specialized, practical services to working artists, constituent organizations and the cultural community. Collectively, these networks help to activate California Arts Council constituents, the arts community, stakeholders, and the public.

Number of Grants Awarded: 28
Total Investment: $490,984
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

Veterans Initiative in the Arts: Veterans Initiative in the Arts is rooted in the California Arts Council's desire to address the needs and improve the lives of California's veterans through the arts. This grant program provides project and partnership support for nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, and veterans' assistance agencies to reach veterans, active military personnel, and their families through local arts programming.

Number of Grants Awarded: 33
Total Investment: $300,268
List of Grant Recipients (PDF):

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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 Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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