California Arts Council Receives $100M Funding Boost

SACRAMENTO, CA – On July 20, Governor Gavin Newsom released the details of fiscal year 2021-22 state budget that includes a more than $100 million one-time funding allocation for the California Arts Council, California’s state arts agency. The increase, approved with bipartisan support by the Legislature, calls for significant added investment toward the agency’s mission to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. 

With a permanent annual general fund allocation of approximately $26 million, the Arts Council administers grants and programs that support the state’s arts and cultural communities who enhance the cultural, educational, social, and economic growth of California. This year, the California Arts Council is prioritizing grant funding to nurture and heal our communities through the arts; keep the doors of our arts and cultural institutions open; protect jobs in the creative field; and preserve our cultural heritage, our stories, and our culture bearers.

The boost in funding for the arts calls for the implementation of the California Creative Corps Pilot Program by the Arts Council and added support for the agency’s existing Creative Youth Development Programs.

“The landscape of California’s arts and culture has changed dramatically in the last year and half, as artists and arts organizations sought new and innovative ways to keep creativity within reach of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said California Arts Council Chair Lilia Gonzales-Chavez. “This challenging and unprecedented period of time has shown us all just how needed the healing and connecting nature of the arts are within our lives. Whether we listened to or made music, watched or created videos, drew or painted images, read books or wrote down our own thoughts, we each turned to the creative world to get us through this moment. There should be no more doubt; art is a human essential.”

“We have overwhelming gratitude for Governor Newsom and the Legislature in today’s budget announcement recognizing California as a leader and innovator in the arts as a means of economic and educational growth, racial equity, social inclusion, and community resilience and recovery,” said Anne Bown-Crawford, Executive Director of the California Arts Council. “This incredible new level of investment marks a resounding and bipartisan understanding of the value and impact of artists and arts and culture organizations up and down our state.”

Highlights on the California Arts Council’s state funding history and specific investments are below.


The budget includes a one-time $60 million general fund investment in 2021-22, to be spent over three years, to implement the California Creative Corps Pilot Program. This includes shifting the $5 million proposed in 2020-21 to 2021-22, and increasing the total amount available in 2021-22. This additional investment will allow the Arts Council to expand the media outreach and engagement campaign to include: (1) public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19; (2) public awareness related to water and energy conservation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery; (3) civic engagement, including election participation; and (4) social justice and community engagement.


The Arts Council has several grant programs that support creative youth development through arts education and arts workforce development. These programs include Youth Arts Action, Artists in Schools, Arts Education Exposure, JUMP StArts, and Arts Integration Training. In 2020-21, the Arts Council awarded more than $12 million to 705 grantees in these programs. The 2021-22 budget includes a $40 million one-time general fund allocation, to be spent over three years, to support the Arts Council’s existing creative youth development programs. The Arts Council will use partnerships between community-based organizations, educators, and local artists to expand participation in these programs statewide.

The overall California Arts Council budget for fiscal year 2021-22 includes approximately $1.1 million in annual federal support from the National Endowment for the Arts and $2.4 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 state will continue its investment in California’s Arts in Corrections program in fiscal year 2020-21 through an additional, separate $8 million state allocation administered by the California Arts Council.


California’s state general fund investment in the arts has been steadily increasing since fiscal year 2013-14. According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, California ranked 21st out of 50 states in per capita state arts funding for the 2020-21 fiscal year.


The state budget supports California’s Arts in Corrections program, as a part of the state’s multi-tiered investment in public safety, with an $8 million investment for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The California Arts Council’s Arts in Corrections program, made possible by an interagency partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is designed to have a positive impact on the social and emotional well-being of people experiencing incarceration, promoting healing and interpersonal transformation both inside and outside of the boundaries of their institutions. Arts instruction through the program reaches every CDCR adult facility in California.


The Governor’s budget also includes an additional $1.7 million investment for the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts.

Complete details for all fiscal year 2021-22 California Arts Council general fund allocations can be found at this link: An official press release on the state budget is available at the Office of Governor Newsom’s website.

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