California Arts Council gets budget boost

California governor Jerry Brown has signed a new state budget that sees a significant increase in arts funding. An extra USD10.8m (€9.7m) will go to California Arts Council (CAC) for 2016-17 – however, the increase is a one-off amount and not permanent.

The budget includes USD6.8m for CAC, with USD4m set aside for the state’s Arts in Corrections programme that works with prisoners. The total budget for CAC in 2016-17 is USD21.1 million.

This increase marks a significant step up for CAC, which had its budget slashed by 93 per cent in 2003 to just USD1m – a tiny amount for a state whose population is over 38 million. It ranks 46th out of the 50 US states in terms of arts funding, despite having by far the highest GDP of all states.

‘This funding is very good news for everyone in California,’ said Paulette Lynch, executive director of the Arts Council of Monterey County in California. ‘As you can see, California is still well behind most other states per capita…but this new funding will still make a big difference for our collective reach and impact.’

This is the fourth increase for CAC’s budget in as many years. In 2013-14 USD2m extra was awarded to CAC on a one-time basis, followed by a USD5m one-time increase in 2014-15 and a permanent USD7.1m increase in 2015-16.