California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

June 24, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater

State Budget Includes $7.1 Million Permanent Increase in California Arts Council Funding

Governor Brown and State Legislature acknowledge significant contributions of the arts and creative sectors with increased investment in state arts agency

Sacramento -

 Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a state budget that includes a $7.1 million permanent increase in general fund support for the California Arts Council.

The total fiscal year 2015-16 state general fund support for the California Arts Council will reach approximately $8.3 million, which will become a permanent baseline for state arts funding. The Governor's budget gives the Arts Council the authority to hire two new permanent staff positions to administer the funds.

"We are grateful to Governor Brown, who formed the California Arts Council more than 40 years ago on the basis that the arts are central to the lives of Californians," said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. "In this year's inaugural address, our Governor pledged to ‘keep California creative' - and with this historic investment, he has ensured that creativity and innovation will continue to help our state thrive for years to come."

"Members in both houses and both parties of our state legislature have demonstrated growing support for the arts over the past several years," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "They have listened to their constituents call for greater cultural expression and creativity in their communities, and to research that shows how an investment in the arts can boost local economies, raise student achievement, stimulate community development, increase public safety, and expand tourism, along with many other critical state goals. We express our deepest thanks to those legislators who champion the arts through their voice and their votes."

Momentum for increased state arts funding began in 2013-14, when then-Speaker John Perez allocated $2 million in one-time assembly funds to the Arts Council. The Governor's 2014-15 budget included a $5 million one-time increase to the Arts Council. In the ten years prior, the Arts Council received only $1 million in state funds annually.

These two years of one-time funding allowed the Arts Council to pilot new grant programs, which resulted in documented benefits for California's communities and young people. With this permanent increase, the Arts Council will be able to better meet the needs and demand for arts programs across the state.  

Timeline: Recent California Arts Council State Funding Allocations

Fiscal Year(s)

State Funding Allocation

2003-04 to

$1 million annual general fund allocation


$1 million general fund allocation +
$2 million one-time funds from State Assembly Operating Budget


$1 million general fund allocation + $5 million one-time general fund


$8.3 million permanent general fund allocation

The Arts Council budget also includes $1 million in annual support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and approximately $2.5 million in annual funds from sales and renewals of California's Arts License Plate and voluntary state tax return contributions to the "Keep Arts in Schools Fund." The Arts Council's total 2015-16 budget will be approximately $11.8 million.

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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 Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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