California Arts Council Releases Report on Statewide Access to Arts Funding with Focus on Racial and Geographic Equity

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council (CAC) today released a comprehensive field scan of the California arts and culture funding landscape, called Equity Challenges in California’s Arts Ecosystem.

This landmark project was undertaken as part of an external evaluation of CAC’s grantmaking in collaboration with the consulting firms Scansion and WolfBrown and represents a significant step forward in advancing equity in arts funding. The field scan analyzed access to funding for California arts nonprofits through the lenses of racial and geographic equity and makes recommendations for how both public and private funders can implement more equitable policies, programs, and practices.

“This report is a call to action for all of us that are committed to elevating equity in the arts sector for the benefit of all Californians,” said CAC Chair Consuleo (Chelo) Montoya. “We want to offer our profound gratitude to the artists and cultural workers, elders and culture bearers, and community members who took time to contribute their wisdom and knowledge to this study.”

The report provides information, root cause analyses, and recommendations to promote equity in a field in which the vast majority of financial resources go to a small percentage of organizations, and in which organizations centering Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and rural organizations are significantly underrepresented in access to those resources.

“We believe all Californians should have access to the arts, regardless of their background or region,” said CAC Executive Director Jonathan Moscone. “This evaluation marks a significant step in our journey towards a more equitable arts ecosystem in California. We are grateful for the insights offered in this evaluation.”

The field scan includes multiple statewide and national data sets to analyze arts organization funding in California and features an interactive geographic map of the distribution of arts organizations across the state.

Key findings into the distribution of resources in California’s arts ecosystem:

      • Of the 13,774 nonprofit arts organizations in California, there are 108 with annual budgets of over $10 million in California. These 108 institutions represent less than 0.78% of the nonprofit arts organizations in the state. However, they receive 70% of the available resources available to the field.

      • 50% of all arts grants from private foundations flow to those organizations, as do 73% of all donations from individuals.

      • Only six of the 108 arts nonprofits with budgets over $10 million are located in rural Census tracts. Just four are BIPOC-centered organizations. (Please see page 31 of the report for information on how BIPOC-centered organizations were identified.)

      • Only 11% of the total dollar amount that private foundations award to arts nonprofits go to BIPOC-centered organizations, although they represent 18% of all arts nonprofits.

      • Individual giving is even less equitable in terms of the proportion of donations that goes to BIPOC-centered arts organizations: only 5.9% of individual giving (including donations from trustees) goes to BIPOC-centered organizations. Rural arts nonprofits receive just 4.4% of the donations from individuals.

      • CAC’s grants are more equitably distributed than other resources available to the field, however, its budget does not come close to influencing the overall distribution of resources through direct grantmaking. All grant applications are scored and awarded according to review criteria published in the grant guidelines, such as centering equity for an inclusive arts landscape and community engagement and social impact.

    In addition to the quantitative data sets, the evaluation team also engaged in community-driven deep dives in three locations across the state: Fresno, Imperial County, and South Los Angeles. The reports are available as individual documents on the evaluation page of the CAC website.

    This report of California’s arts and culture funding landscape is part of the CAC’s comprehensive external grantmaking evaluation. In addition to helping the CAC understand its impact towards equitable arts funding and identify gaps, the field scan provides data for policymakers, arts advocates, community organizers, and other funders on what arts organizations exist in the state, who they serve, and the access to, or lack of financial resources.

    For information about the Grantmaking Evaluation and to access the reports, visit:

    Media Inquiries Only:
    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: Consuelo Montoya, Chair; Vicki Estrada, Vice Chair; Gerald Clarke; Caleb Duarte; Ellen Gavin; Leah Goodwin; Alex Israel; Phil Mercado; Roxanne Messina Captor; Nicola Miner; and Olivia Raynor. Learn more at

    The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit To read this announcement in Spanish, please use the website’s Google Translate tool by clicking the “Translate” link in the upper righthand corner of this page.

    El Consejo de las Artes de California se compromete a aumentar la accesibilidad de sus contenidos en línea. Para obtener ayuda con el idioma y la accesibilidad, visite leer este anuncio en español, utilice la herramienta Google Translate del sitio web haciendo clic en el enlace “Traducir” situado en la esquina superior derecha de esta página.


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