California Arts Council Adopts New Strategic Framework that Prioritizes Equity, Flexibility, and Collaboration

Strategic framework cover image, courtesy of Cashion Cultural Legacy. Photo by Michael Malone, Buggsy Malone Photography.

SACRAMENTO, CA – California’s state arts agency and appointed Arts Council have adopted a new strategic framework to guide their work for the next seven years. The framework, titled Creative Impact: The Arts & the California Challenge, encompasses several aspects, including a new mission, vision, and values statements; a racial equity statement; a decision support tool; and a set of aspirations for potential future actions of the Council and agency.

With this framework, the California Arts Council is committing to developing an organizational culture that actively addresses barriers to equity and participation for all Californians and celebrates the connections and intersections of all our communities. The framework was developed through a yearlong process led by consultant Dr. Tamu Nolfo, involving extensive research, public participation, and engagement.

The California Arts Council has experienced tremendous growth during the last decade as it has worked to rebuild services to California communities after the agency’s state budget was cut by 97% in the early 2000s. This framework reaffirms the role of the Arts Council to strengthen the field of arts and culture and to champion the arts as essential, not optional, in addressing the challenges facing our communities today and in the future.

In the framework, Arts Council Chair Nashormeh Lindo and Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford jointly state, “The California Arts Council holds a unique position within state government. In exercising our responsibility as stewards of state arts funding, we can exemplify government by, for, and of the people. This requires thoughtful listening, responsiveness, and collaboration-all qualities found in our new framework.”

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission Statement:
Strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all.

Vision Statement:
A California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Click here for the complete list of Values.

Racial Equity Statement

The framework development process confirmed the need for a formal commitment to achieving racial equity, detailed in the Racial Equity Statement section of the document. The Arts Council believes that racial injustice is the most pervasive and entrenched form of injustice permeating the institutions and structures that everyone must access. Pursuit of justice in this arena benefits everyone by taking a critical eye to systems of oppression – systems that undercut fairness across multiple demographics, conditions, and experiences.

Decision Support Tool

The framework is designed to maintain the flexibility and fluidity needed to respond to challenges and opportunities that may arise over the next seven years. A decision support tool has been developed to guide the Council and staff through a methodical process as they consider new programs, policies, or practices. The tool is designed to slow down the decision-making process and counter existing biases. It is designed to improve equitable outcomes, particularly for people who may be disproportionately impacted by actions and/or have a significant stake in the results.


This framework recognizes this unique opportunity in time to position California’s arts and cultural strategies at a level proportionate to its economic and demographic status – as well as its status as an international leader on many contemporary issues. It includes 28 emerging opportunities that fall under five general categories: grantmaking, programs, partnerships, policy, and public communications.

Framework Implementation

Agency staff and the Council will begin to implement the strategic framework over the coming months. Additional tools and resources for the field will be published when a new Arts Council website is launched later this year. Click here to view the complete strategic framework as a PDF document.

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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, 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

For press inquiries, Kimberly Brown

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