California Arts Council Announces 2021 Individual Artist Fellows

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council (CAC) announced today that it has awarded a total of $2.185 million in support of 182 recipients who applied for an inaugural 2021 Individual Artist Fellowship.

“The Individual Artist Fellowships support artists from a broad spectrum of artistic practices, backgrounds, geographies, and communities, whose work addresses themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, consistent with the goals of the Council,” said Council Chair Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez of Fresno.

The program marks a historic return of direct support for artists and their creative practices. It is the agency’s first opportunity for funding of individual artists during the course of its regular grant season cycle since 2002. Previous opportunities were discontinued when the agency’s state budget was reduced by more than 90 percent in 2003.

The fellowship program was developed in alignment with the Council’s priority to offer direct support to California’s individual artists and cultural practitioners. The 2021 grant opportunities were also informed by public input and data in alignment with the Arts Council’s Strategic Framework Decision Support Tool.

“The California Arts Council is eager to celebrate, along with our fellows, this much anticipated return to directly supporting our state’s artists,” said Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford. “These fellowships signify the beginning of a new era of understanding and valuing the role of the artist in the social fabric of our state’s communities.”

Click here to view a complete list of the 2021 Individual Artist Fellows.

The grant program provides funding to artists 18 years of age and older at key moments in their careers, elevating their capacity for continued contribution to the field and our state. The grant identifies three career tiers at which artists may benefit from this support:

  • CAC Emerging Artist Fellows – $5,000 per award (95 artists supported)
     Artists with between two and four years of artistic practice.
  • CAC Established Artist Fellows – $10,000 per award (66 artists supported)
    Artists with between four and 10 years of artistic practice.
  • CAC Legacy Artist Fellows – $50,000 per award (21 artists supported)
    Well-established artists with 10 or more years of artistic practice.

The California Arts Council’s grant programs are administered through a multistep, public process. Following an open call for applications, submissions are adjudicated by peer review panels made up of experts from the arts and cultural fields and representative of California’s diverse geography; racial, ethnic, and gender identities; perspectives and knowledge. Based on panel recommendations and availability of funds, the Council voted on the Individual Artists Fellowships at a recent public meeting.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the California Arts Council website’s Grant Programs and Grants FAQ pages to learn about grant opportunities and processes as details become available.

Notification of grant program guidelines, applications, and technical assistance resources will also be published in the California Arts Council’s weekly e-newsletter, ArtBeat. Subscribe at

Media Inquiries:
Mark DeSio
Director of Public Affairs

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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 Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez, Vice Chair Kathleen Gallegos, Vicki Estrada, Jodie Evans, 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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