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

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

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.

“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.