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.

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