Governor Newsom releases his first budget which includes a $10 million permanent increase in funding for the arts

For Immediate Release January 10, 2019


California Sate Capitol Building, Sacramento

Californians for the Arts (CFTA), the statewide arts advocacy organization, is pleased to announce that Governor Newsom’s proposed 2019-20 budget includes an increase in state funding for the arts from $16 million in permanent funding from the general fund budget to $26,083,000. “We are thrilled Governor Newsom has taken the proactive step to increase permanent funding for the arts in California. California is the 5th largest economy in the world with the creative economy totaling $407.1 billion in 2017*, but our state funding for the arts and arts education has fallen short in allowing for equitable access to the arts. Governor Brown in his final May revise of the budget had given a one time increase of $8.8 million. Governor Newsom’s $10 million proposal for permanent funding represents an overall funding increase of $1.2 million but as it is permanent it allows the State Arts Agency to be more stable with ongoing grants and programs. We are grateful to Governor Newsom for his vision and support of the impact the arts sector makes in California,” says CFTA Executive Director Julie Baker.

gov newsom budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom presents his first state budget during a news conference, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The arts are not only an impressive and important agent for economic development, the arts impact social issues including mental health, corrections, housing, veterans, transportation and education. Studies show that students with an arts rich education have better grade point average, score better on standardized tests in reading and math and have lower dropout rates. Especially in a state as diverse as California, the arts serve to give voice to our many communities, spark individual creativity, foster empathy and understanding, spur civic engagement and serve as a continual source of personal enrichment, inspiration and growth.

After years of advocacy, CFTA’s efforts have succeeded in increasing appropriations exponentially, from the $1 million allocated in 2004 to nearly $25 million for fiscal 2018. If the budget passes with this proposed increase, more grant programs would be available to offer support to public access to the arts, arts in schools and the state’s cultural infrastructure. California is ranked 26th in the nation for arts funding, on a per capita basis. With this increase California still falls behind other leading creative states such as New York which ranks 6th at $2.05 in spending per capita and Massachusetts with $2.33. “As arts advocates, this is exciting news coming out of Sacramento,” says Baker, “but our work is not done. We will still advocate for increased permanent funding for the arts so we are on par with other leading creative states as we know the arts and creative sector are invaluable to an enlightened, vital and functioning society. The creative sector has a lot to offer and should be recognized for its impact and worth. We look forward to working with the new administration to amplify California’s profile as the leading state of creativity and to illustrate how the creative sector is transformative, solution oriented and effective.”

In April, Californians for the Arts will launch Arts, Culture and Creativity Month, a series of actions throughout the state to illustrate the impact of the arts in California.

* Source, Otis Report on the Creative Economy

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