COVID-19 Statement for California Arts Council Grantees and the Arts Field in California

Guidance for CAC grantees and field-wide survey issued


SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom announced last night that California public health officials issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Today, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order further enhancing California’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.

Read the full state of California mass gatherings policy at this link.

The new executive order waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19; delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings; and announces other measures.

Read the full executive order at this link.

Surveys & Guidance for the Arts Field

The California Arts Council (CAC) has received inquiries from grantees and members of the arts community at large regarding COVID-19. In response, the following resources are being posted.

For CAC Grantees and Contractors with Active or Upcoming Programming

The CAC recognizes that some of its grantees and contractors will have to postpone, modify, or cancel their planned activities supported by CAC funds due to state and local public health guidelines.

If you are a grantee and your organization is impacted, please complete this form detailing your specific circumstance and request.

If you are an Arts in Corrections contractor, please complete this form.

The CAC is prepared to find solutions on a case-by-case basis. We ask for your patience in receiving individual responses.

For All California Arts Organizations and/or Individual Artists Directly or Indirectly Impacted

In announcing the statewide policy on mass gatherings, Governor Newsom stated “These changes will cause real stress — especially for families and businesses least equipped financially to deal with them. The state of California is working closely with businesses who will feel the economic shock of these changes, and we are mobilizing every level of government to help families as they persevere through this global health crisis.”

The California Arts Council is surveying the arts field at large to gather data on the potential financial impacts of this public health emergency. If you are an organization or individual in the arts field that anticipates losing personal or business income related to COVID-19, please consider filling out the brief survey at this link. This is a quickly evolving situation and this data will be an important resource to inform our agency and the state.

Community Impact

The California Arts Council recognizes that implicit and explicit racism and xenophobia are often present in communities’ responses to public health crises. For the current COVID-19 emergency, this includes anti-Asian racism taking the form of hate crimes and racist microaggressions.

The CAC also recognizes that while anyone could contract the virus, the impacts on communities of color and low-income communities could be severe. People of color are disproportionately likely to be in low-paying or hourly-wage jobs that make them unable to provide care or interrupt work.

The CAC stands in solidarity with all affected communities and urges the arts field to actively dispel myths and stigma and to address the needs of marginalized populations and at-risk individuals, including those who are immuno-compromised, older adults, and people with disabilities.

(Reference: Race Forward Statement on The Coronavirus Emergency, Official Response and its Impacts on Communities of Color)

Preparedness Tools for Arts Organizations

Organizations should first reference the official guidelines from the state of California in making decisions regarding public events and programming.

Preparedness resources specific to arts organizations can also be found from various national organizations. Please note that these external resources are not sponsored by the State of California.

Small Business Resources

General Resources

  • The Governor’s Office has launched a new comprehensive, consumer-friendly website,, that highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and resources available to Californians impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.

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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

Caitlin Fitzwater

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