California Arts Council Awards Federal CARES Funding to Local Arts Agencies

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council body held an emergency meeting virtually on Friday, May 8, to conduct urgent business surrounding federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding and other means of financial support for arts organizations and artists amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. Council members voted unanimously to distribute the $710,400 of State Arts Agency CARES Act funding awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts to the 54 Arts Council’s State-Local Partner grantees on an opt-in basis.

The decision requires the designated county arts agencies in the State-Local Partners program to re-grant most of their allocated funds to local arts organizations serving socially vulnerable populations within their communities and that are not eligible for the direct stimulus CARES Act funding. The California Arts Council invests annually in local arts agencies with designation from their County Board of Supervisors through the State-Local Partnership program. The program fosters cultural development on the local level through a partnership between the State and the counties in California.

State-Local Partners may use up to 20 percent of the funds for operational needs, supporting the administrative capacity of local arts agencies. The California Arts Council will also require State-Local Partners to utilize the CAC’s Decision Support Tool within its newly adopted strategic framework to aid in the development of a regranting process that meets the needs of local communities and prioritizes equity. Participating State-Local Partners will submit a brief proposal for program approval and a final report of the program’s outcomes. If a State-Local Partner does not have the capacity to accept the funds, they are able to partner with another county’s State-Local Partner to administer the program.

In a separate decision, the Council also voted to establish a rapid relief grant for funding individual artists who represent socially vulnerable communities most highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing racial inequities. The vote called for the CAC to redirect $1 million in funds previously approved for a pilot individual artists fellowship grant in order to provide more immediate emergency support for impacted California artists.

The California Arts Council has identified the Alliance for California Traditional Arts to submit a proposal to serve as the administering organization for the grant program, to quickly disburse the much-needed awards of $1,000 per artist to grantees statewide from the most highly impacted communities in California. CAC staff will oversee and approve the grant program guidelines developed in partnership with a re-granting organization.

Artists, arts organizations, members of the public and community leaders are encouraged to look for news alerts from their designated county arts agency to learn more about CARES funding opportunities in their area. To learn more about the California Arts Council’s upcoming rapid relief grant program for individual artists, interested parties may visit the California Arts Council website or subscribe to ArtBeat, the California Arts Council’s weekly e-newsletter, for guidelines, applications, and technical assistance opportunities as they are made available.

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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. Participants can exhibit their Arts in local casino and gambling venues as stated in this US casino website.

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

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Kimberly Brown

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