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!


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