Announcing California Arts Council Grant Season

State arts grants will support organizational operations, individuals, and project-based activities; prioritizing relief and recovery for organizations and individuals impacted by COVID-19

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council announced the opening of its 2021 grant season, with applications now being accepted for all six of its funding opportunities, responding to the current and urgent needs of the state’s arts workforce and businesses.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. The Arts Council is California’s only public arts grants provider with funding that is accessible to all 58 California counties. As a state agency, the Arts Council prioritizes racial equity and has a broad geographic reach into communities of all sizes. California’s arts sector is large and diverse, and its businesses and workforce are a significant contributor to our state economy and identity.

“The arts are an essential part of the California ecosystem, and we are made all the more aware of their importance during these troubled times,” said Nashormeh Lindo, Chair of the California Arts Council. “As we open another grant season, we hope to help center our communities’ healing and resilience by carefully considering what the Council and the agency can do to best support the creative practices of artists and arts organizations in those communities, to help them survive this upheaval and uncertainty and to creatively thrive in the future.”

What’s New This Year

The Arts Council’s 2021 grant funding has been streamlined, allocating funding to meet the greatest needs of the field during this challenging time. Funding is aligned with three categories and six specific grant offerings, including general operating support for organizations and fellowships to support the creative practice of individual artists, as well as continued support for project-based activities. This year’s grants have been informed and developed by public input and data in alignment with the Arts Council’s Strategic Framework Decision Support Tool.

Grant priorities include an increase of general operating support for arts organizations. Grants prioritize small and economically vulnerable organizations with total operating revenues of $250,000 or less, at risk for closure or halting of activities due to economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct support for individual artists and creative practitioners is also a high priority this year.

New for the 2021 grant season, applicant organizations are required to submit a racial equity statement. As the Arts Council has been evolving its own racial equity practices, the agency invites applicants to start, continue, or strengthen their racial equity practices as a part of the arts community. The racial equity statement requirement is an opportunity for applicant organizations to explain their commitment and tangible efforts to advancing the leadership of and service to Indigenous people, communities of color, racially and ethnically diverse individuals, tribal communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities whose principal languages are not English.

In October, the Arts Council offered a public webinar, titled Why Race? A Learning Journey to Achieve Racial Equity, to share the history and background of the agency’s relationship with racial equity and to support a community-based learning practice. The recorded webinar is available online as a resource for prospective applicants.

Grants Overview Webinar & Application Resources

Arts Council staff presented a 2021 Grants Overview Webinar live on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. A video recording in English and Spanish can be found at

Details for the 2021 grant opportunities available are below. More information, including grant-specific details, dates, guidelines, and staff contacts can be found at

Additional information for grant applicants, plus informational workshops, archived webinars and more can be found at

Follow the California Arts Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and join the conversation around arts grant season using #ArtsCA.

2021 California Arts Council Grants


Impact Projects – Up to $18,000 for collaborative projects that center artists and artistic practice in responding to issues currently faced by California’s communities, prioritizing projects of small organizations. Applicants with project-based activities supported by prior Arts Council grants are encouraged to review the Impact Projects guidelines.

JUMP StArts – Up to $50,000 for high-quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for priority youth and young people impacted by the justice system.


Arts & Cultural Organizations General Operating Relief – Up to $30,000 in operational relief funding for arts and cultural organizations who have experienced economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing small organizations.

Statewide and Regional Networks – Up to $35,000 in support of arts service organizations providing practical resources for the communities they serve.


Individual Artist Fellowships – From $5,000 to $50,000 to recognize, uplift, and celebrate the creative practices of California artists at key career levels.

Administering Organization – Relief for Individual Artists and Cultural Practitioners – Support to a single partner organization to administer unrestricted rapid relief funding for artists and cultural practitioners of color facing dire economic consequences due to the COVID-19 on behalf of the CAC.
(Applications for individual artist and cultural practitioner grants will be announced through both the CAC and the partnered administering organization at a later date during the 2021 grant season.)

Media Inquiries:
Kimberly Brown
Public Affairs Specialist

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The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Jaime Galli, Larry Baza, Lilia Gonzales Chavez, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit

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