COVID-19 Field Message from Executive Director and Council Chair

Dear California artists, cultural workers and creatives,

Californians and people around the world are feeling the weight and ripple effects of the public health crisis surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We know the arts and culture fields are particularly vulnerable to the economic repercussions of the emergency. With public events canceled and revenue sources for organizations and individual artists severely threatened, we are among the most impacted sectors in the U.S.

But we are also one of the most innovative sectors, and together we will find our way through this moment.

The circumstances surrounding this public health emergency are unique, far-reaching, and rapidly changing. As California’s state arts agency, we are prioritizing the needs and concerns of our grantees and the arts and culture field. We recognize that state and local public health guidelines have had a significant impact on the planned activities of our grantees and contractors. Our staff is prepared to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.

We will continue to support local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. Our 18 grant programs represent an investment of $24 million this year.

Please see the updates below for details on how the California Arts Council is working to minimize the impact to public service and address the urgent needs of our grantees. To make sure you are up to date with our latest news and information, be sure to subscribe to our ArtBeat e-newsletter.

We appreciate you and know that we are all in this together.

Respectfully yours,

Anne Bown-Crawford, Executive Director  |  Nashormeh Lindo, Council Chair

Latest Updates

Office hours unchanged: The California Arts Council office is fully functioning, with our staff available by phone and by email. We are experiencing a high volume of inquiries at this time, and we appreciate your patience in receiving individual responses. We are operating with strict adherence to the recommended procedures and guidelines put forth by both the California Department of Public Health and the Sacramento County of Public Health Services to ensure we continue to function safely and efficiently, without interruption.

April 1 Council meeting confirmed: Our next scheduled Council meeting will continue as planned. Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order which allows for the meeting to take place remotely. We will publish the agenda to the CAC website 10 days prior to the meeting, as is our standard practice, and instructions for how to submit public comments will also be forthcoming.

Grant panels/funding opportunities ongoing: We are nearing completion of this year’s grant funding cycle. At this time, panels for grant application reviews are continuing as scheduled through remote meeting sessions. We are grateful to all of our peer review panelists for their dedicated service. Three CAC funding opportunities also remain open—we encourage applicants to our Arts in Corrections program for organizations interested in becoming arts providers; to our newest grant program, Innovations + Intersections, offering support to arts projects incorporating technology and wellness to respond to systemic challenges; and to the recently opened Arts & Accessibility program, supporting enhanced opportunities for participation in the arts by people with disabilities, administered in partnership with the National Arts and Disability Center.
Grantee/Contractor Impact Form: If your CAC-funded project is affected by COVID-19 related impacts, we ask that you complete our Grantee/Contractor Impact Form as soon as possible, outlining your specific circumstances. We are prepared to address requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask for your patience as we respond to each inquiry.

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals update: Earlier this week, we announced the winners of this year’s California Poetry Out Loud finals competition that took place on March 15 & 16. Students from 53 counties across the state participated in a virtual competition, with recitations submitted by students by videos assessed and scored by our judges. The California Arts Council is incredibly grateful to every one of our student county champions; their teachers, coaches, and parents; and county staff for their perseverance and flexibility in making this year’s event happen. You can read all of the details in our press release.

Important Links & Resources

COVID-19 California Arts Field Survey – gathering data on the financial impact of the public health emergency to the state’s arts field.
Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Impact Survey – a nationwide surveying of the arts & culture field on the economic impact of COVID-19 to advocate for emergency federal funding.
California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response – a new comprehensive, consumer-friendly website from the Governor’s Office highlighting critical steps to stay healthy and resources available to Californians, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.
Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development – helpful information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
National Endowment for the Arts – COVID-19 resources for artists and arts organizations.
COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources – A collaborative list of regularly updated resources for freelancers, including emergency funding and general resources and preparation.

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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

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