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        Letter to the Governor - California Arts Council Funding

        Legislative & Budget Updates

        October 20, 2023 | Julie Baker

        October 20, 2023

        The Honorable Gavin Newsom

        Governor, State of California

        State Capitol

        Sacramento, California 95814

        RE: California Arts Council Funding

        Dear Governor Newsom,

        On behalf of California Arts Advocates, I want to thank you for your ongoing support of the arts and culture of California. The recent establishment of the first in the nation CA Creative Corps, employing artists in service to civic issues and the public good, as well as the innovative Creative Youth Development and Cultural District programs, create a much-needed pipeline to careers in the industry. We sincerely applaud these and the many other meaningful programs at the California Arts Council.

        However, these programs are now unfunded. California’s artists, culture bearers, and cultural organizations are generating critical economic and social benefits under challenging economic conditions, leading to low wages for creative workers and precariously undercapitalized organizations, in an environment of increased costs. At the current funding level, the California Arts Council has to deny 58% of its applicants, many of them from rural and underrepresented counties where private funders don’t reach, increasing economic disparities.

        California is long overdue for a meaningful increase in support for the California Arts Council. As such, we respectfully request additional investment of $20 million per year, for a total of $46 million in general fund support for the California Arts Council. With an additional $20m in funding, the CAC can double its impact and continue to fund vital programs that are currently unfunded.

        While there have been one-time program investments made over the last several years, ongoing local assistance funding for the CAC has remained around $26 million since 2018. This increase would restore CAC funding to its 2000-2001 baseline, adjusted for inflation, and raise California’s status from its low-tier ranking as 32nd in state funding for the arts nationwide. While California drives the biggest sub-national arts and culture economy in the world(1), California’s per capita investment of $0.67 falls far behind Florida’s per capita investment in the arts at $2.71(2) California should and could lead in funding for arts and culture by making a $20 million increase to the CAC in your January budget announcement.

        Thank you for your consideration.


        Julie Baker


        CA Arts Advocates

        1 Economic and Social Impact of Cultural and Creative Sectors, OECD 2021

        2 From the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies database:

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