California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

June 13, 2017Kimberly Brown

California Arts Council Awards $15 Million to Record Number of Grantees

More than 1,000 grantees across the state receive support for wide-ranging arts and culture projects

Pictured: With support from the California Arts Council, P.S. Arts provides free, VAPA standards-based visual arts classes to every student at Grand View Boulevard Elementary, a Title 1 school in Los Angeles.

SACRAMENTO - Grants totaling $15,032,837 have been awarded to various nonprofit organizations statewide this year, the California Arts Council announced today. A total of 1,076 grantees will receive state grant funding for their work spanning the Arts Council's 15 unique program categories, benefiting California's students, veterans, arts educators, at-risk youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, underserved populations, and communities at large.

Both the award amounts and number of recipients show marked growth over the previous year. As the result of a one-time $6.8 million state arts funding increase, the Arts Council nearly doubled its financial impact for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Investments in core grant programs and recent pilot programs increased by an average of 20 percent. Arts education grants were expanded to support field trips and after school and summer projects. The added funds were also used to develop three new pilot grant programs, aimed at serving formerly incarcerated individuals and supporting arts-focused public media and arts research.

The awards are the largest investment in grants for the Arts Council since the 2002-03 fiscal year.  

"Our Council has been honored to lead this year's state arts grants process, investing so much and reaching so many Californians through the arts and creative expression," said Donn K. Harris, California Arts Council Chair. "These funds can be life-changing for our grantees, who often point to Arts Council support as a pivotal moment in their future success. To witness that exponential return on our state's investment, the ripple effect in our communities' health and vitality, is the greatest reward. The state's growing commitment to the arts and creativity is a clear signifier of who we are and what we value. California and the arts are indivisible."

The California Arts Council's grant programs are administered through a multistep, public process. Following an open call for applications, all submissions are adjudicated by peer review panels made up of experts from the arts field. Based on panel recommendations and available funds, the Council voted on grant awards at public meetings in San Diego on May 9 and Sebastopol on June 7, 2017.

The need in California communities for more arts resources and activities runs deep, and the Arts Council's programs inspired a tremendous level of public demand this year. Grant programs will serve a groundbreaking 51 percent more grantees than the previous year. The competition for state arts grants is substantial, with one-third of 2016-17 grant applicants unfunded.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the California Arts Council's website to learn about future grant opportunities as details become available.

Notification of grant program guidelines, applications, and technical assistance opportunities will be also published in the California Arts Council's weekly e-newsletter, ArtBeat. Subscribe at

Fiscal Year 2016-17 Grant Programs and Awards

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

Number of Grants Awarded: 62
Total Investment: $925,690
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Artists in Schools - Engagement: The Artists in Schools Engagement program supports projects that integrate community arts resources-artists and professional art organizations-into comprehensive, standards-based arts-learning at school sites. A professional development grant category was added this year.

(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.)

Number of Planning Grants Awarded: 2
Number of Professional Development Grants Awarded: 22
Number of Student Engagement Grants Awarded: 141
Total Investment: $1,309,448
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Artists in Schools - Exposure: The Artists in Schools Exposure program supports attendance at professional performances and exhibitions for students who may have limited access to the arts.

Number of Grants Awarded: 71
Total Investment: $1,030,029
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Artists in Schools - Extension: The Artists in Schools Extension program supports arts education programs for pre-K-12 students that operate after school and during the summer, on school sites, in artistic venues, and in community settings.

Number of Grants Awarded: 136
Total Investment: $1,919,913
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Arts and Public Media: The newly revised Arts and Public Media program supports multiplatform nonprofit media projects that demonstrate a clear approach to building public awareness and support for the arts.

Number of Grants Awarded: 13
Total Investment: $164,608
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Creative California Communities: The Creative California Communities program supports collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as a creative placemaking strategy. Projects will benefit residents and visitors in 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: 2
Number of Project Grants Awarded: 26
Total Investment: $2,283,295
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Cultural Pathways: 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.

(Note: The Cultural Pathways program is two-year pilot grant program and was initially funded during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Subsequent funds awarded to these projects on June 16, 2016, are indicated below. An additional $175,000 was allocated to support technical assistance and professional development activities for Cultural Pathways grantees.)

Number of Grants Awarded: 28
Total Investment: $84,000
List of Grant Recipients (PDF)

JUMP StArts: JUMP StArts supports arts education and artist-in-residence programs for youth engaged in the juvenile justice system. Activities may take place in classroom, after-school, social services, or incarceration settings.

Number of Planning Grants Awarded: 2
Number of Project Grants Awarded: 21
Total Investment: $480,167
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

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: 130
Total Investment: $1,878,600
List of 2017 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: 214
Total Investment: $740,950
List of Fall Grant Recipients (PDF)
List of Spring Grant Recipients (PDF)

Reentry through the Arts: Reentry through the Arts is a new, two-year pilot grant program rooted in the California Arts Council's belief that the arts are a powerful vehicle for positive change in people, communities and society. Reentry through the Arts was initiated in response to the Senate Budget Act of 2016 that states, "The Arts Council shall develop a reentry or bridging program to facilitate and expand arts programs designed to help inmates transition from incarceration back into their communities and prevent those on probation, parole, or post-release community supervision from being incarcerated."

(Note: An additional $100,000 has been allocated to support an evaluation of the pilot program to better measure the impact of arts programs for formerly incarcerated people.)

Number of Grants Awarded: 10
Total Investment: $648,284
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Research in the Arts: Research in the Arts is a new program that fosters original research on the value and impact of the arts.

Number of Grants Awarded: 4
Total Investment: $174,937
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

State-Local Partnership: The State-Local Partnership program fosters cultural development on the local level through a partnership between the California Arts Council and local arts agencies throughout the State. State-Local partners enable the creation, presentation, and preservation of the arts of all cultures to enrich the quality of life for all Californians.

(Note: The State-Local Partnership program is administered on an alternative grant schedule. 2017 grants were awarded September 22, 2016.)

Number of Grants Awarded: 53
Total Investment: $1,743,700
List of 2017 Grant Recipients (PDF)

Statewide and 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. An arts service organization provides 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: 33
Total Investment: $658,754
List of Grant Recipients (PDF)

Veterans Initiative in the Arts: The Veterans Initiative in the Arts program provides project and partnership support for nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, and veterans' assistance agencies to reach veterans, active military, and their families.

Number of Grants Awarded: 49
Total Investment: $412,875
List of Grant Recipients (PDF)

In addition to the programs listed above, the Arts Council achieves its mission of California's advancement through the arts through other grant initiatives. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Arts Council invested $150,000 in its Arts and Accessibility program, enhancing opportunities for participation in the arts by people with disabilities in partnership with the National Arts and Disability Center; and $150,000 to support California Poetry Out Loud, a statewide initiative through the National Endowment for the Arts that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

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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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