BREAKING NEWS: California Receives Largest Increase in State Arts Funding in 20 Years


Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Governor Newsom Signs 2019-2020 Budget

Californians for the Arts (CFTA), the statewide arts advocacy organization, is pleased to announce that Governor Newsom has signed the 2019-20 budget to include an ongoing $10 million increase in the general fund to the California Arts Council, the state arts agency. This represents an increase in state funding for the arts from $16 million to $26 million, the largest increase in funding since 1999. In addition, several local one time allocations were allocated to museum projects for a total of $27.5 million including $6 million for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust; $5 million for the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center; $500,000 for the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts; $1 million for the Italian-American Museum; $2 million for the Latino Theater Company; $4 million for the Korean American National Museum; and $9 million for the NTC to kick-start renovation of the long-empty Building 178 in Liberty Station into a Performing Arts Center, all to be funded through the California Arts Council.

The funding total of $26 million excluding line items represents a per capita investment of $.66 cents per person and places California in 26th rank for per capita spending in the United States.
Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Since the January budget announcement, CFTA has steadfastly organized the field and testified at numerous budget and committee hearings to advocate for the increase in ongoing funding. “We are thrilled to see the Legislature and Administration’s commitment to funding the arts in California,” says CFTA Executive Director Julie Baker. “It is clear that as the creative economy represents 7.1% of the California’s gross state product, ahead of agriculture and transportation (Source Bureau of Economic Analysis 2016), an investment in the arts is a smart investment. With increased funding, the arts council’s grants will be available to more organizations and artists, which helps to realize the goal of making arts accessible for every Californian.” Baker continues, “Of course we are also thrilled to report to the field that advocacy works and encourage all to continue advocating for increased funding.”

With Senate Concurrent Resolution 33 (author Senator Ben Allen and Assemblymember Kansen Chu), April is now officially Arts, Culture & Creativity Month. The inaugural month long activation organized by Californians for the Arts kicked off in 2019 with hundreds of organizations participating across the State. The activations helped to build public awareness of the value of the arts including a 30-day social media campaign, “Arts Create Impact.” On April 23, over 200 delegates gathered at the State Capitol for a rally and legislative visits. 76 legislators received visits from delegates advocating for the budget increase as well as legislation such as SB 748, Youth Poet Laureate Bill (author Senator Henry Stern).

“The arts not only have great economic impact for California, they also have the ability to transform communities, enrich lives, build bridges, provide hope and bring joy.” Says Victoria Hamilton, Board President. “The arts bring creative solutions and social impact to issues such as incarceration and rehabilitation, Veterans and PTSD, mental health and wellness, graduation rates, aging, housing, immigration and so much more. We encourage California to continue to increase their investment in our diverse cultures, arts and creativity. California is the Leading State of Creativity and with increased investment, we will truly be THE State of The Arts.”

Contact: Julie Baker, Executive Director, Californians for the Arts
email: phone: 530-277-2670


Dear Valued Arts Advocate,

The $10 million increase in funding for the California Arts Council in addition to several line item appropriations for capital projects for cultural institutions across the State allocated in the signing of the 19-20 budget by Governor Newsom did not come about by accident—Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates (our partner organization which also employs a lobbyist), has worked very hard for the past six years, aggressively lobbying for funds from the Governor and Legislature. Your participation in our organizations helps us to achieve these wins for the State and to inch closer to realizing our goal for arts to be accessible for every Californian.

And your advocacy has made the difference. It’s been two months since Advocacy Day and Arts, Culture & Creativity Month (ACCM) and we thank you for everything you did to make the inaugural year a huge success. We’ve reviewed the survey results, examined our opportunities and areas of improvement and studied the perceived outcomes. We are pleased to present this infographic detailing the goals and results of our efforts and a wonderful video produced by students from San Diego from Arts Advocacy Day.

Click HERE for full report

Although ACCM was impactful and fulfilled the goals of our mission, it did not come without a financial loss for the organization. If everyone who is receiving this email made a donation today, we would be able to right this loss and continue to build our organizational capacity and our programs to serve artists and arts organizations across the State.

Please consider joining today and becoming an official ARTS CHAMPION in California! If you have already joined during the drive, thank you!

We are a small but mighty organization and with your help and continued participation we will reach our goals to reach historic funding levels for the arts and legislation to serve and protect the creative sector and build awareness of the impact of the creative economy.

Thank you for your consideration,

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Julie Baker, Executive Director

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Victoria Hamilton, Board President



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"I am a life-long advocate for the arts and being a former legislator, I know how to weigh in and make my voice heard. But I joined CFTA because individual voices like mine need a vehicle to organize and guide us into the kind of collective impact it takes to be effective in the highly competitive battle for resources. I know from experience that there really is strength in numbers and especially when the numbers are mobilized and strategically employed at the pivotal moments when decisions are to be made. I urge all Californians who care about the arts and are prepared to fight for them to become members of CFTA." – Dennis Mangers

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"I joined Californians for the Arts because, like public radio, we all have to step up and support the organizations that we rely on every day. No more standing on the sidelines if we want to preserve what we treasure!" – Laura Zucker, Arts Leader



We are grateful to the folks at the San Diego Creative Youth Development Network for this video produced by David’s Harp Foundation from Arts Advocacy Day.


Now through August 31st (extended), help us reach our goal of $20,000

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there should be an organization fighting for the voice of the artist and arts organizations at the State and Federal level, if you feel that building public awareness of the value the arts bring to our lives, communities and economy is important, if you think arts and culture provide a creative solution to some of societies most pressing issues and there should be funding and legislation to support the creative industries, then you should become a member of Californians for the Arts!

As if being an ARTS SUPERHERO isn't enough...

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Check out our sweet membership drive swag!

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Julie Baker