October Newsletter: AB5 and more


News from the front lines, AB5:

Where are we now and where do we go from here?
As a small nonprofit arts organization, we are only as successful as our board representation. CFTA has twenty-three board members from across the state, representing the diverse voices of arts and culture in California. In this month’s newsletter, we will highlight some recent board accomplishments and acknowledgments.   READ MORE

August News

Dear Arts Advocate,

I’ll be honest. It is difficult to not be impacted and distracted by the headlines. I think often of what is our role as arts advocates during these challenging times for our nation and our world. Toni Morrison, American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University and the first African American Woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 passed away Monday night may have said it best, “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.” At Californians for the Arts, we know this to be true and we will continue to advocate for artists and arts organizations to receive the necessary funding and recognition to do the work needed to speak truth and provide creative solutions to bring people together in empathy and understanding.

We thank all of you that have joined us in advocacy and special gratitude to those that have joined us as dues-paying members. We want to be your sustainable and vibrant advocacy organization now and for years to come and we need your investment to make that happen. Advocacy comes in all forms and the work never ends. In the “good years” we educate our elected officials about the value art and the creative economy bring to our communities so in the “lean years” the arts are not the first to receive the strike of the red pen. Sadly, this was just the case for our colleagues in Alaska, where the State ArtsCouncil’s budget was eliminated by Governor Mike Dunleavy (see below). We know this story too well when in 2003 the California Arts Council’s budget went from $19.4 million to $2.9 million in 2004. Since then we have worked diligently to build the case for increased funding and are pleased to see total funding for 2020 to be increased by $10 million to $26 million. This is a great start, but we are still under $1.00 per capita per person. Our goal to see arts available and accessible for every Californian is still not met but with your support, we will get there!

This year we have actively worked on legislation that fosters the creative economy (SB736), creativity in our youth (SB 748) and advocated to protect artists and arts organizations from legislation that may hinder our viability and productivity (AB 5). We are a consistent presence at our State Capitol to make sure the arts are at the table.

We would love to learn how you are bringing arts, culture and creativity to your communities. Share your stories with us and as always, share them with your elected officials too!

Thank you for all that you do to advance arts, culture and creativity in California,


Julie Baker, Executive Director



Legislative News


August 12: Legislature reconvenes from Summer Recess

September 13: Last day for any bills to be passed


SB 748: Youth Poet Laureate: Approved by the Governor on July 30, 2019

SB 736: Creative Economy Incentive Program, we sit on the stakeholder committee

AB 5: This is legislation that would codify the Dynamex Decision that presumes a worker is an employee unless a hiring entity satisfies a three-factor test.

  • a) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

  • b) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

  • C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

  • The b portion of the test is the major amendment that could impact artists and the arts industries.

We’ve been aggressively working to receive exemptions for the arts. So far, due to our efforts, this exemption has been added into the bill: Fine artists, professional grant writers, and graphic designers if that person actually sets the hours, locations, and rates of pay for work provided.

We continue to work on exemptions for performing artists.


On June 25, the U.S. House again rejected President Trump’s FY 2020 proposal to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and other cultural agencies. The House voted to increase FY 2020 funding for the NEA and the NEH by $12.5 million to a level of$167.5 million! We are hopeful that the U.S. Senate will follow suit in the coming weeks as they begin their appropriations process. Let your elected officials know, you want to see funding increase for the NEA and NEH here.



“The savings justifications used by the governor do not reflect the real mathematics of what the state gains through ASCA” wrote Pam Breaux, President and CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in a recent letter to colleagues. “The override failure also makes Alaska the only state in the nation without a functioning state arts agency—a keen loss to Alaskan communities.” Learn More


Learn how you can get involved here.


Stanlee Gatti, 63, of San Francisco, has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom as the newest member to the California Arts Council.

More details in our CAC’s press release.

Mary Anne Carter Confirmed as Chairwoman for National Endowment for the Arts

On August 1, 2019, The United States Senate voted today to confirm Mary Anne Carter as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Carter had served as acting chairman of the agency since June 5, 2018 and becomes the Arts Endowment’s 12th chairman since its inception in 1965. Learn More

CFTA / CAA Board Member News


President – Victoria L. Hamilton

Vice President – Ron P. Muriera

Treasurer – Brad Erickson

Secretary – Rachel Osajima


Leticia Rho Buckley was appointed in March 2019 as Senior Civic Strategist at The Music Center, L.A.’s major performing arts center (Center Theatre Group, the LA Master Chorale, the LA Opera and the LA Philharmonic, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance) where she had served from 2005-2010 as Director of Marketing and Communications. Prior to re-joining The Music Center, she was Acting Executive Director, Acting Chief Deputy and Director of Communications and Marketing for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, which provides leadership in cultural services for the County’s 88 municipalities and over ten million residents. Previously, Leticia held a senior marketing position with Cirque du Soleil where she developed and led all marketing and publicity strategies for IRIS, A Journey Through the World of Cinema, the first Cirque du Soleil resident production in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University.



Heather Angelina Dunn is a Partner at the law firm of DLA Piper in San Francisco. She concentrates her practice on domestic and international trademark prosecution and counseling, and enforcement programs, advertising and promotions, intellectual property and art law counseling. Trained as an artist at Rhode Island School of Design, she received her J.D. at the University of San Francisco and is a resident of Oakland. She has been associated with California Lawyers for the Arts.




Edmund Velasco has served on the Executive Board for the Orange County Musicians’ Union (Local 7, American Federation of Musicians) since 2003 and was elected Vice President in 2016, where he is actively involved in advocacy activities. A native Southern Californian, he began playing the saxophone at age 8 and has become recognized as one of the top saxophonists in the region. Edmund can be seen as a featured soloist with The Estrada Brothers Latin Jazz Ensemble and has recorded with the group. He is a member of the Chris Williams Quintet and has made many guest appearances with Dan Fanley, Joe LaBarbera, Tony Dumas, and Ron Escheté, among others. He has also played professionally with such top names as Mel Tormé, Eddie Daniels and Ernie Andrews, to name a few. Edmund leads, directs and writes for his own quintet. He has produced multiple CDs for the group. He is on the advisory board for SanArts, an arts conservatory at Santa Ana High School in Santa Ana, CA, and he has developed several concert series for the Orange County community as both an arts outreach and educational program for aspiring musicians.



In June we launched our first membership drive. Our goal was $20,000 but unfortunately, we fell short of our goal, reaching less than $8000 during the drive. We truly appreciate everyone who joined! It’s not too late however to become a member. Membership is good for one year and supports our efforts to increase funding for the arts, build public awareness of the value of arts, culture and creativity as well as legislation that serves and protects artists and arts organizations.


Why Your Membership Matters

At Californians for the Arts, we’ve done an impressive job of building public awareness of the arts and advocating for increased state funding levels to over 800% in 5 years. However, we need help advocating for ourselves!

We want to be your viable and sustainable arts advocacy organization to support and benefit all Californians. We need your support to expand our programs, outreach, and services and build our capacity to serve the needs of the 5th largest economy in the world and the most populous and diverse state in America. Arts champions deserve a voice and Californians for the Arts is here to represent you.

We work with you and for you.

We rely on our members to be active arts advocates, and in return, we promise to deliver quality leadership opportunities, reliable information, and advocacy resources.

Advocacy Works! Your June News.

Dear Arts Advocate,

Welcome to Summer! Somehow we’ve all made it 1/2 way through 2019!

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We’ve never been busier at Californians for the Arts. The first four months of the year we produced eleven free advocacy trainings and a webinar, Arts, Culture and Creativity Month, Arts Advocacy Day and multiple speaking engagements. In the last several months, we’ve visited the Capitol to speak on behalf of artists and arts organizations at budget sub-committee hearings, legislative hearings and at the Joint Committee on the Arts. We are dedicated to increasing public funding for the arts and legislation that values and protects the creative sector.

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Recently, Californians for the Arts launched their first membership drive. Their goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of June. To date, they have raised just under $3000. Looking ahead they are building an emerging leadership program and a conference for April 2020.

For many of us in the non-profit sector, our challenge is to build capacity and organizational sustainability while providing thought-provoking, relevant and meaningful programs with few resources. CFTA is not immune to this! They are virtual with only one staff person; many people don’t understand what advocacy is and even confuse us with the state arts agency; funders are often regional or focused on specific topics such as Arts Education and some shy away from advocacy altogether. Sadly this is not only our problem but something we see across the U.S. We were most recently reminded of the fragility of state arts advocacy organizations with the announcement of the closing of Creative Many Michigan.

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We know that advocacy works and having a statewide organization in place to herald the merits, value, and impact of arts, culture and creativity is as we believe critical to a successful, vibrant and healthy California (and every other state for that matter).

Many of you self identify as ARTS CHAMPIONS. If that is how you see yourself, please consider joining Californians for the Arts. We are a non-profit organization, your contribution is tax deductible and at certain levels, you get some super cool ARTS CHAMPIONS swag.

So please Join Today during our membership drive.

Believe in the power of advocacy to effect change, believe in the power of art to impact our lives, our communities and our economy, and show your superpower as an ARTS CHAMPION today!

Thank you!

Debra or Victoriad32b4-victoria_s-signature1

Victoria Hamilton, Board President



Julie Baker, Executive Director





Awarded project designs span the whole of the arts and cultural fields, with funding offered in 14 unique grant program areas addressing access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and aligning with the California Arts Council’s vision of a state strengthened by a spectrum of art and artists.

If you were just awarded a grant from the California Arts Council (CAC), congratulations. You may also know a little bit about how CAC only recently gained sufficient funds to be awarding these grants—after a 12 year period in which the entire funding for the agency was only $1 million statewide!

This did not come about by accident—CFTA and our partner organization CAA, has worked very hard for the past six years, aggressively lobbying for funds from the Governor and Legislature. We have succeeded in raising the agency budget to $28 million, and the momentum shows promise for continued increases in the years ahead.

We are asking you now to please re-invest a small portion of the grant you just received into a membership in California Arts Advocates (CAA), which directly lobbies for these funds. In addition to paying for an Executive Director, CAA membership dues also help pay for our lobbyist—and we have one of the top Sacramento lobbying firms working on our behalf!

You can register your organization as a member HERE.


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In this exciting new podcast series, Ben is joined by former U.S. Senator Mark Begich of Alaska (also donating his time) in interviewing the 2020 presidential candidates in a 30-minute format on each candidate’s personal background in the arts and arts education, previous policy efforts to transform their communities through the arts, and their vision for advancing support for the arts and the charitable sector if they were to become president.

Ben has already interviewed three presidential candidates:
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Congressman John Delaney, and Governor John Hickenlooper. The goal is to interview every single one of the declared presidential candidates on behalf of Arts Action Fund members.  LISTEN


We are grateful to the folks at the San Diego Creative Youth Development Network for this video produced by David’s Harp Foundation from Arts Advocacy Day.

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2019-20 Budget has gone to conference committee. The $10 million in increased and permanent funding for the California Arts Council passed both subcommittees and we expect to see it in the final budget scheduled to be approved on June 15.

In Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revise, he also announced $10 million in additional funding for two capital projects; $5 million for the Armenian American Museum and $5 million to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Although we are not opposed to this funding allocation, we do not feel it should be a pass-through for CAC as it is inconsistent with the CAC’s mission and objective as a granting agency and it is not in their charter to fund Capital projects. We have made our voice heard in public meetings and in letters to the chairs of various committees. This decision is now being heard in conference committee.

AB 5 Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors
Introduced by Assemblywoman Gonzalez

We are monitoring this bill and the impact it has on the arts and creative sector and are drafting a case for an exemption for the creative industries worker.

If you are currently working in the arts as an independent contractor and have concerns that becoming an employee would cause undue hardship to your livelihood, your rights to owning intellectual property or any other ramifications, please contact us.

Click HERE for upcoming events!

May Arts Advocacy News


Executive Director Julie Baker

Greetings Arts Advocates!

In today’s e-newsletter, you’ll find the latest information on the California State budget and legislative news pertaining to the arts and creative sectors. Please contact us should you have any questions or need further information. There are no action alerts at this time but we are monitoring several legislative items for the field. Executive Director Julie Baker, pictured right, has been invited to serve on a task force for a creative economy incentive program to represent the voice of the arts community.

Although our primary mission is to advocate for arts funding and legislation at the State Level, we also provide programs and services for local advocacy across the State. If you think your community needs to build its advocacy muscle, let us know. We offer “10 ways to be an effective advocate” and “How to develop an effective advocacy message” trainings and workshops and can customize to your immediate needs.

Contact Julie Baker for more information.

Thank you for all that you do to advance arts, culture & creativity in California!


Julie Baker, Executive Director


Victoria Hamilton, Board President


On May 9 Governor Newsom released his May revise of the budget
The Governor’s Budget included $10 million ongoing General Fund to expand grant programs that offer support for public access to the arts, arts education, and the state’s cultural infrastructure. Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates have attended the relevant budget subcommittee hearings and testified in public comment in support of the funding. There has been no opposition to the appropriation.

AB 5  Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors.
Introduced by Assemblywoman Gonzalez

We are monitoring this bill and the impact it has on the arts and creative sector. If you are currently working in the arts as an independent contractor and have concerns that becoming an employee would cause hardship to your livelihood, your rights to owning intellectual property or any other ramifications, please contact us. We are working on proposed amendment language and building our case statement, your voice is important, please send us your story.

SB 736 Creative Economy Task Force
Introduced by Senator Umberg

Senate Bill 736 establishes the California Creative Economy Incentive Program (CEIP), to be managed by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), for the purpose of administering loans to cities, counties, and joint powers agencies to provide assistance in financing a creative economy event. The first step is to create a Task Force. Julie Baker, CFTA ED has been invited to be on the task force to represent the voice of the arts community.

SB 748 California Youth Poet Laureate
Introduced by Senator Stern

5/9/18 Passed in the Senate


Riding the Wave of the Creative Economy:

Growth Challenges and Building Education Equity into the Jobs Pipeline
Wednesday, May 15th, 9am-12pm
State Capitol, Room 2040, Sacramento

Being an effective advocate means we must show up and demonstrate our collective strength and let our voices be heard. Here is an opportunity to show legislators how much the arts matter to you and your community.

Don’t miss the Joint Committee on the ArtsHearing, May 15, Sacramento!

We want to there to be a full hearing room with passionate arts leaders, join us! Please share and invite friends.


190515 Create CA Event Speaker CompositeCREATE CALIFORNIA WEBINAR

Reach for the Stars:
Arts-based Pedagogy as a Pathway to Excellence & Equity

Wednesday, May 15th, 11:00am, Online

We think of the stars as beyond our reach, yet each of us carries within us, both figuratively and literally, the same stuff that stars are made of. The arts, by tapping into our students’ most powerful inner selves, allow their brilliance to shine forth and make it possible for them to define their full potential and to live their true lives. In this way, the arts are a path to both excellence and equity.

Speakers: Dr. Yvette Jackson, Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Senior Scholar for National Urban Alliance; author of “Pedagogy of Confidence; Inspiring High Intellectual Performance in Urban Schools.

Join the Webinar on Wednesday, May 15th at 11 am.
RSVP to register.


190510 Your Voice Matters Comp.jpgTake the California Arts Council Stakeholder Survey

As part of the process of developing our new strategic framework, we want to listen to as many new voices as possible. There’s a seat at the table for anyone with a rooted interest in the future of arts, culture, and community in our state. Click here to take the survey and help spread the word.

Participation is requested by June 10.


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The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) convened a briefing for policymakers on Capitol Hill on May 2, 2019, on Arts and Rural Prosperity. Endorsed by the Congressional Arts Caucus, the event shared new research and vivid examples demonstrating the power of creativity and culture to help rural communities thrive. Watch the archived webcast

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The 2019 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention is heading to the Twin Cities!


We will be there, will you? Let us know so we can meet up!



Arts, Culture and Creativity Month

We love reading the survey results from Arts Advocacy Day. Please take 5 minutes to let us know what you thought of the day!

Here’s a wonderful testimonial from a participant:

“Participating in Arts Advocacy Day 2019 was truly eye-opening for me, as it was my first time engaging in advocacy or lobbying of any kind. I enjoyed being part of the political process and knowing that I have a voice at the state Capitol. The rally in the morning was inspiring, and it was so wonderful to see different types of arts represented from across California. It motivated me to continue advocating for the arts. Thank you Californians for the Arts!” – AMMC Arts Advocacy Day Participant

Pictured above, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins meeting with San Diego Delegation led by CFTA Board President Victoria Hamilton.

Pictured above, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins meeting with San Diego Delegation led by CFTA Board President Victoria Hamilton.

CFTA Executive Director Julie Baker was recently invited to speak at a panel on art advocacy in Sacramento with Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Niva Flor, and Jack Mitchell at The Atrium – Art, Tech & Events and to lead an advocacy training in Truckee, CA with the Truckee Arts Alliance and Nevada County Arts Council.

Although our primary mission is to advocate for arts funding and legislation at the State Level, we also provide programs and services for local advocacy across the State. If you think your community needs to build its advocacy muscle, let us know. We offer “10 ways to be an effective advocate” and “How to develop an effective advocacy message” trainings and workshops and can customize to your immediate needs. Contact Julie at membership@californiansforthearts.org for more information.

Arts Advocacy Day a “Huge Success”!

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Pictured above, arts advocates gather on the south side steps of the Capitol on April 23rd as part of Arts, Culture and Creativity Month’s first annual Arts Advocacy Day.


State Senator Scott Wilk receives the 2019 Legislative Arts Star Award Pictured here with Julie Baker, the Executive Director of  Californians for the Arts , Keasha Dumas Heath, Board Member of the Museum of African American Art and artist, Christie Fields.

State Senator Scott Wilk receives the 2019 Legislative Arts Star Award Pictured here with Julie Baker, the Executive Director of Californians for the Arts, Keasha Dumas Heath, Board Member of the Museum of African American Art and artist, Christie Fields.

On Tuesday, April 23, 2019 we officially inaugurated ArtsAdvocacy Day by gathering over 200 people on the South Side of the Capitol in downtown Sacramento, California and scheduling over 65 visits with legislatures led by Captains from across the state and Californians for the Arts outstanding board. Over 50% of the legislature received visits from arts advocates asking for support for Governor Newsom’s $10 million funding increase to the State Arts Agency as well as a number of bills supporting arts education, museums, a youth poet laureate and recognition of our cultural districts pilot program and the success of arts in corrections.

With impeccable weather, this day full of events, presentations, speakers and artists, united of all walks of life as we took a stand together as arts advocates in the spirit of advancing arts, culture & creativity in California. It is with great thanks to each of you who attended that day and those supporting from afar for contributing to the community that is dedicated to that which changes lives, the arts. With great enthusiasm among all and an incredible turn out for our first year, we want you to know that through your participation and engagement, we are inspired and energized to continue the work to build public awareness of the value and importance of the arts in California.

So, with that we are eager to support you in ways to continue engaging as well as receive your feedback through a survey so we can better learn about your experience as we plan for next year and as well as activities throughout the year! But before that, let’s take a look at all that contributed to Arts Advocacy Day being a ‘total success’, as we were told by many throughout the day!

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In the morning we celebrated April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month, shared stories and data to show the impact arts have in California (these impact stories are being shared on social media and will be collected and developed into an ongoing blog) and it is beyond inspiring and staggering how impactful the arts truly are! From homelessness to corrections and recidivism rates, to healing and mental health, to confidence and social peer support, housing and public safety, arts changes lives- and gives a voice and a place of belonging to so many from students, artists, musicians, elected officials, parents, and community members alike.

Our line up was full of these moving stories from speakers such as Miss Central California Dana Harrison on the value of her arts education to give her confidence and a voice, Safiya Neal of Sacramento on arts housing transforming her life, and Jennifer ‘JayBee’ Beasley, Founder of Compton Open Mic on arts creating a positive identity and safe space for her community. Students from San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Opera, Nevada Union High School theatre students, Colin Regan from George Washington Carver High School and many more highlighted the transformative power of the arts in the face of adversity and otherwise.

Speakers such as Steven Dilley of Veterans Arts Project, Erin Dorn of the Crocker Art Museum, Naj Wikoff of Creative Healing Connections, Alma Robinson and Jody Prunier of California Lawyers for the Arts and Yvonne Soto, CEO of Developmental 

Disabilities Service Organization introduced Jenny an artist in their program also shared the life changing and healing power of arts in veterans, education, health, aging, wellness, corrections and programs for people with disabilities.

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Artist Stan Padilla opened the event with a land recognition followed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg presenting a proclamation for April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month. Over a dozen elected officials stopped by during a very busy legislative day to share why arts matter to them. Rousing and inspiring speeches about the transformative and transactional power of arts, culture and the creative economy were shared by Senator Ben Allen, Senator Robert Hertzberg and Senator Anthony Portantino, Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember’s Kansen Chu, Ian Calderon, Sharon Quirk Silva, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Luz Rivas, Mike Gipson, Connie Petrie-Norris and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Anne Bown Crawford Executive Director of the California Arts Council illustrated the value of the over $20 million in grants they distribute throughout the state and how additional support allows the arts to be accessible for every Californian. The day concluded with a enthusiastic speech from Arts Data Guy Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts Vice President of Policy and Research.

The 3 hour morning presentation on the South Side of the Capitol featured different presenters every 5 minutes and highlighted all the arts disciplines including 2 poets laureate; Mighty Mike Mcgee of Santa Clara and Molly Fisk of Nevada County, Brazilian music and dancing from Mestre Caboclinho, Amazing Grace on the Native American flute performed by Linda Michelle Hardy, monologues from Nevada Union high school thespians and a peace song in Sanskrit performed by Harini Krishnan Vikas. The Crocker Art Museum and Sol Collective were on hand with art making and snacks were provided by Sacramento Co-Op and Milk Money and Artist Kirti Bassendine displayed photographs from her moving Homeless Voices project.

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In the afternoon, delegations trekked through the Capitol halls sporting their bipARTisan buttons and speaking to Senators, Assemblymembers and staffers. Some of them were doing this for their first time, and walked away with encouraging encounters. We wrapped up the day with a wonderful reception at the Sheraton where we featured our Legislative Arts Star award, granted this year to Senator Scott Wilk and Assemblymember Richard Bloom. We thank them for their leadership in supporting and advancing the arts!

It is because of your voice and your advocacy that we’ve begun to gather this army of “Arts Advocates” across the miles of California for the undeniable reason that each person deserves access to the arts.

Thank you for joining us at Arts Advocacy Day. We invite you to stay engaged because this is just the beginning! California is THE State of the Arts!

Photos by Alan Sheckter Photography, Mark Freeman and Arts Advocates.

For more great photos go to Californians for the Arts “Arts Advocacy Day” page

Head over to Californians for the Arts NEWS BLOG for more on Arts, Culture & Creativity Month progress and other important breaking news!

California Arts Council interviews E.D. Julie Baker on our state’s new springtime celebration

April is Arts, Culture and Creativity Month!

The month of April is officially Arts, Culture and Creativity Month in the state of California. Arts, Culture and Creativity Month, or ACCM, is a month dedicated to connection, advocacy and mobilized efforts to advance the arts across the state. The campaign, led by Californians for the Arts, features multiple opportunities to participate through trainings, storytelling, events, public action and more, culminating in a big event on April 23 at the state Capitol in Sacramento for Arts Advocacy Day.

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Californians for the Arts Executive Director Julie Baker at the California state Capitol with ACCM Project Manager Whitney Kear.

We (California Arts Council) recently sat down with Julie Baker, Executive Director of Californians for the Arts, to get some background on the motivation for the monthlong celebration and the hope for what lies ahead.

In a few sentences, tell us about Californians for the Arts and your vision as its new Executive Director.

Californians for the Arts (CFTA) is California’s statewide arts advocacy organization. Our mission is to increase public awareness of the importance of the arts. We plan to do this by ensuring that the arts are an ongoing part of the public dialogue, and to encourage Californians to care about the arts as a critical component of their own lives, and the lives of their communities. We want arts to be accessible for every Californian. We advocate for increased public funding for arts and arts education while tracking and working on legislation that benefits artists and the creative industries.

As the first Executive Director for CFTA, my vision is for arts, culture and creativity in California to be valued, funded and recognized for its social and economic impact on our lives, our communities and our state. I want to see California heralded nationwide as the leading state of creativity with funding to match. I want to empower and encourage arts supporters to become arts advocates and to build our political “Artmy” so that arts are seen by all forms of government, both state and local, as necessary and integral to a sustainable, vibrant and healthy California.

What are the key goals of Arts, Culture and Creativity Month (ACCM)?

ACCM was created to celebrate, inspire and recognize the impact the arts, culture and creative sectors have in California. The goal is to train people across the state to be advocates for the arts in their local communities and at the state level. In addition, we showcase Arts Impact Stories and illustrate the arts as a unique driver for social change and share data to impress that the arts and creative sectors are indeed leaders in our state’s economy. It is also about empowering arts leaders and organizations across the state to organize around a singular vision and messaging campaign. As a united voice, we are much more impactful.

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You’ve been traveling the state holding local community meetings. What have you been learning from your time on the road?

My greatest takeaway has been that everyone we meet and speak with understands the need for a staffed and professional arts advocacy organization in California. Until October of this year, CFTA had been quietly working behind the scenes on a solely volunteer level, which is not sustainable to meet the need of this diverse and large state. We are pleased with the progress our efforts have achieved to increase arts funding in our state, but there is plenty of work left to be done. There is legislation to be tracked, managed and introduced that impacts our field. There is also support needed to advocate for funding and support for rural, smaller populations and communities of color as well as continued training to build our next generation of arts leaders. We want to be the voice and go-to resource for the arts and creative sectors in California. We are eager to build our capacity to support the needs of this state.

Tell us about the recently proposed ACCM resolution from the state Legislature.

SCR 33 is a Senate concurrent resolution introduced by Senator Ben Allen and co-authored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu to designate April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month. The resolution legitimizes and recognizes the value of the arts in California. We are thrilled to have our first measure introduced, and we hope it will receive bipartisan support!

Click here for more information on Californians for the Arts and how you, your organization, or your community can participate in Arts, Culture & Creativity Month.

March News

Arts Advocates gather in Speaker Pelosi's office during the National Arts Action Summit in Washington D.C.

Arts Advocates gather in Speaker Pelosi’s office during the National Arts Action Summit in Washington D.C.

March 2019

Dear Friends,

When was the last time you met with your representative and shared why you think the arts matter? Last week we participated in the National Arts Action Summit in Washington D.C. presented by Americans for the Arts. Brad Erickson, CFTA treasurer and Director of Theatre Bay Area and Executive Director Julie Baker led a delegation of ten eager advocates to eighteen meetings on Capitol Hill including a meeting in Speaker Pelosi’s office. We asked Congress to support an FY 2020 budget of $167.5 million (an increase of $12.5 million each) for both the NEA and NEH.

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In addition, we asked our members of Congress to fully fund at $38.6 million the Office of Museum Services, support an appropriation of $40 million to fund the Assistance for Arts Education program and fully fund the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Well-Rounded Education Program and federal after-school programs.We also introduced members to the CREATEact, intended to recognize artists, entrepreneurs and non-profit arts organizations as contributors to the small business community. We called attention to supporting the creative economy through federal programs and actions, a need for a universal charitable deductions, protecting net neutrality and supporting public broadcasting. We were encouraged by the reception we received on the Hill and celebrated that arts are a bipARTisan issue.
Not a claim most issues can make, especially now! There were many special moments over the two day summit but our highlights include a flawless lecture/performance by Rita Moreno, introduced by her friend Justice Sonia Sotomayer, visiting the Speaker’s office and meeting her brilliant legislative aides, gathering Arts Impact Stories from Congresswoman Jackie Speier and from Kendrick Davis, a legislative fellow in Senator Harris’ office. Davis recounted his childhood growing up in a low income neighborhood outside of Pittsburgh where he told us about his love for playing the trumpet in high school band. He reminded us why we must continue to fight for arts funding in schools and the public sector when he shared “No one could take the music away from me and the pathway it opened up for me for my future.” He concluded that his principal delivered the trumpet he still plays now to him before he left for college because she knew he could not afford one himself. This is the impact the arts make in our lives.

What do we need to do to make our case so legislators will listen?

Let’s start with the data. Nationally the arts are a $764 Billion dollar industry representing a 4.2% GDP share of the economy ahead of agriculture and transportation. In California, the U.S. Bureau of Analytics reports the arts & creative sectors contribute

1903-arts-ad_advocacyday_2019.jpg$176.4 billion and represent 7.1% share of GDP ahead of construction and education services. We know arts in communities, corrections, education, hospitals, transportation, housing, mental health and more makes a measurable and valuable impact on our economy and in our lives.

Want more specifics? Contact us and we can help provide data for your district and more.

How do we make the data “sing”?

We need to tell our stories and share the emotional and transformative impact the arts make in order to effectively advocate for increased public funding for the arts. Got a compelling video or narrative about your public arts program?

Share your “Arts Impact Story” and answer:

How has having access to public funding helped an arts program, artist or organization make a difference in your community?

How can the arts create a meaningful outcome on some of our state’s most pressing issues?

Your submission will help us bring public awareness of the importance of the arts; to ensure that the arts are an ongoing part of the public dialogue.

Watch Congressworman Jackie Speier and Kendrick Davis, Legislative Fellow, office of Senator Kamala Harris share their Arts Impact Stories below.


Join us in April as we launch the first annual Arts, Culture & Creativity Month.

ACCM Transparent Transparent Final low resOver 200 people are already registered to participate statewide and you should too! Let’s show our legislatures our political might and ensure the budget passes with the $10 million in increased permanent funding for the state arts agency. Don’t know what it means to be an arts advocate? Sign up for our FREE trainings across the state and webinar. Soon the training materials will be available in Spanish too.

Not sure how to participate? Check out our Ways to Engage guide.

Don’t have the time to participate but want to support the efforts to make our case to legislators about the value and impact of the arts? Donate or become a sponsor of ACCM today.

What are we advocating for?

  • Support Governor’s Newsom permanent funding increase of $10 million in the 2019 budget.
  • Recommend continued increased and permanent funding for the arts.

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    Your California Delegation at National Arts Advocacy Day

  • Value arts and culture as creative solutions to pressing societal issues.
  • Ensure all students have access to arts education and the ed code is enforced.
  • Support programs that provide for well rounded early childhood resources and to include arts & creativity.
  • Show our support for the Youth Poet Laureate pending legislation.
  • Build upon existing legislation for California’s Cultural Districts Program.
  • Budget request for the California Cultural and Historical Endowment’s Museum Grant Program.



Thank you for your passion and participation,

Julie Baker
Executive Director, CAA/CFTA
Victoria L. Hamilton
President of CAA/CFTA

February News

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Brought to you by Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates. Click image above for more info.

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Dear Friends,

What an exciting time to be an arts advocate in California! Over the last 2 months we’ve been touring the state and meeting with arts leaders to discuss what the state of arts advocacy is in California. We can tell you it is strong and we are feeling so optimistic and energized to lead the statewide movement. It was only 5 years ago that funding was at historic lows, hovering around $1 million for 10 years. In the last 5 years we’ve seen over 800% growth in the state budget for the arts and although this is a tremendous increase we are still not where we need to be to see arts accessible for every Californian.

With our new Governor showing early support for public funding for the arts, it’s our job to continue to press our representatives to increase permanent funding and to value arts, culture and creativity as transformational, impactful and just as worthy as any other social service providing solutions to our communities.

Just recently, Executive Director Julie Baker ran into Governor Newsom on a Southwest flight from LA to Sacramento. She had the opportunity to introduce herself and thank him for the $10 million in permanent funding for the California Arts Council he has allocated in his first budget. Gov. Newsom smiled and said, “But we still need to do more.” Stunned and smiling in agreement, he continued to encourage Ms. Baker, “Keep lobbying me, it works.”

At that point, she had to thank the Governor for validating her job, but in all seriousness, Gov. Newsom has opened the door and invited us to come in and build our case. So now it is up to all of us to show up, to advocate, to go from arts supporters to arts activists and build California as the leading state of creativity. In listening to his State of the State address there was no mention of the creativity economy so we need to make sure our voices are heard.

How can you help? Register today for Arts, Culture and Creativity Advocacy Day in Sacramento on April 23 where we will connect, educate and mobilize our efforts. Can’t make it to the Capitol that day? Join us throughout the month of April by partnering with ACCM, or host an event in your own community and download our “Ways to Engage”guide.

We want to hear your ARTS IMPACT STORY. How has access to public funding helped an arts program, artist or organization to make a difference in your community? How can the arts create a meaningful outcome on some of our state’s most pressing issues?


  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Health / Well being
  • Homelessness
  • Mental Health
  • Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Public Art
  • Student retention / graduation rates
  • Veterans
  • Feel free to send in more ideas!
  • Affordable Housing
  • Aging
  • Arts & Accessibility
  • Climate crisis
  • Corrections and re-entry programs
  • Cultural Districts
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Early Childhood / Arts Education
  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Submit your narrative, a link to an article or blog post, a work of art or a video illustrating your arts impact and help us build our case. We will share these on social media and in our public awareness campaign throughout the month of April. We look forward to showcasing stand out examples as we take to Sacramento, our state’s capital, on April 23rd for Arts, Culture and Creative Advocacy Day.

We’ve always been told when you need to solve a problem, think outside the box and come up with a creative solution. Artists and cultural workers have always done just that. Now is our time to have a seat at the table and to be recognized for our contributions. As Shirley Chisholm said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Julie Baker, CFTA ED Gets Around! 


Leading this effort also takes a professional staff, a rockstar board and lobbyist and the organizational capacity to implement our programs. Please join our organization today as an individual, an organization, a sponsor or a funder. An investment in advocacy brings results that benefit all of our supporters.

We want to hear from you and we want to visit with you as we continue our tour of this great and diverse state so we can truly be the voice for our members. Contact Julie at membership@californiansforthearts.org and together we will advance Arts, Culture and Creativity in California.

Thank you for your passion and participation,


Julie Baker
Executive Director, CAA/CFTA

Victoria L. Hamilton
President of CAA/CFTA

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Originating with the adoption of Assembly Bill 189 in 2015, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, the California Cultural Districts program aims to leverage the state’s artistic and cultural assets.

In July of 2017, 14 pilot districts were designated. Led by Peter Comiskey of the Balboa Park Cultural District, the focus of the Coalition is to unify California’s Cultural Districts to advance advocacy and collaboration in arts and culture.



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Creative California

Create CA is a coalition of dedicated and innovative leaders who understand that together we have the power to create lasting change for every California student.

Their mission is to ensure ALL students are able to reach their full potential by advancing an education model that promotes creativity and the arts for the workforce of tomorrow. Check out their public will campaign for Arts Ed!




San Jose Jazz Exeuctive Director Brendan Rawson.

Did you know authoring an Op-Ed in your local paper is a great way to demonstrate the arts impact in your community?

San Jose Jazz Exeuctive Director Brendan Rawson.CFTA member and San Jose Jazz Executive Director Brendan Rawson has written several including recently in the SJ Mercury News and a piece in the Sacbee from 12/31 about California taking the lead in many areas including Cultural Diplomacy. We love this idea!

“Develop a strategy of cultural diplomacy, to include: a cultural ambassadors program sending exceptional California artists such as former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, musician Herbie Hancock (already a U.N. cultural ambassador), or California immigrant Gustavo Dudamel to important international gatherings; a cultural exchange program that sends California artists abroad and brings foreign artists here, particularly those from countries that the president has denigrated; and a program to assist California sites in securing Membership in UNESCO World Heritage status. Potential sites could include Manzanar, Angel Island and Monterey Bay.”
– SJ Jazz E.D. Brendan Rawson  OP-ED WRITING TIPS


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Started in 2007, the report is an invaluable tool to assess the tremendous economic impact and influence of the area’s creative sector on the economy.

“Against the backdrop of these innovations stands the underlying truth that this report helps illuminate: Los Angeles and California are home to rich and vibrant creative communities with robust and growing economies that deserve to be taken seriously in their own right. It is critical that leaders from public, private, and non-profit sectors work together to support this type of examination in order for the larger creative economy to continue to flourish and thrive.” said Bruce W. Ferguson, President of Otis College, in his written welcome to the Otis Report.  READ THE REPORT


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  • Thank Governor Newsom for proposing $10 million in permanent funding for the California Arts Council. Tag him in your social media posts, send a letter, let the administration know you care and want to see funding for the arts continue to increase.
  • Write letters to newly elected or re-elected officials, offering congratulations, thanking them for past help, urging support for state funding for the arts. Include your organization’s brochure.
  • Read CFTA’s monthly emails and and respond to calls-to-action.
  • Download our “Ways to Engage” pdf and recruit friends and family to attend Arts, Culture and Creativity actions with you!
  • Send us your Arts Impact Story.

  • Learn about your representatives: what district are you in; where is the nearest local office; what are the relevant phone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses?

Helpful Contacts

Find out who represents you here:

California State Capitol Switchboard
(916) 322-9900 | www.leginfo.ca.gov

U.S. House of Representatives Switchboard
(202) 225-3121 | www.house.gov

California State Capitol Switchboard
(916) 322-9900 | www.leginfo.ca.gov


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  • Do you believe arts being accessible for every Californian is imperative?
  • Do you feel California should be the leading creative state?
  • Do you think arts and artists can play a vital role in solving some of California’s greatest challenges?
  • Do you want to see funding to match these goals?

Then it is time to support Californians for the Arts, your statewide arts advocacy organization.

As we gear up to actively work with a new administration to publicly fund the arts at historic levels and build our delegate programs with trainings across the state, your support for our organization is needed now more than ever. Please join online today!