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        Arts Advocacy Day Press Release: 2024

        Press Release

        April 9, 2024 | Eduardo Robles


        Eduardo Robles
        Senior Manager of Communications
        916.520.6049 ext.102

        Sacramento, CA - On Wednesday, April 17, arts champions from around the state will meet in Capitol Park for a rally and press conference for Arts Advocacy Day and to celebrate Arts, Culture & Creativity Month (ACCM). After the rally, over 250 advocates will meet with their legislators about the need to protect current levels of arts and culture funding, urging them to sustain investment in key state-mandated programs that are not being funded in this cycle and educating them to the foundational issues impacting the field that will require policy innovation to truly activate the state's underutilized creative workforce, develop a thriving creative economy and keep California's edge as a global leader of culture.

        2023 CA Arts Advocacy Day. Photo by Alan Sheckter.

        “California must create favorable conditions for artists to live and work here if we want to retain our standing as the leading creative state with 25% of the creative economy workforce. We need policies and investments for good-paying jobs with benefits, worker protections for independent contractors, affordable housing and live-work spaces, universal healthcare, and much more. It is high time that artists are recognized as an essential workforce and that their contributions to communities are met with the sustained economic security they need to thrive, not just barely survive,” says Julie Baker, CEO of CA for the Arts.

        2023 CA Arts Advocacy Day. Photo by Alan Sheckter.

        ACCM programs including the CA Arts & Culture Summit on April 16 and Advocacy Day at the Capitol on April 17,  help build awareness that the creative industry is more than entertainment, it is an essential workforce and economic engine ready to help lead across California’s key initiatives. This year’s thematic focus is “Art Work is Real Work.” The general public is invited to attend the press conference rally between 9-11 a.m., on the south side of Capitol Park on N Street between 12th and 13th Streets.

        Featured rally speakers include Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Chair of the Assembly Arts Committee, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, and representatives from a wide variety of networks and organizations including National Independent Venues Association of CA (NIVA CA); California Association of Museums, CreateCA, Assoc. of CA Symphony Orchestras, Actor’s Equity, youth activist Penelope Louise Oliver and more to be announced.  There will also be performances by MovimientoyAyA Teatro , Sacramento Poet Laureate Andru Defeye, Placer County Folk singer Rita Hosking and drumming by Brian Jackson Jr. and QLynn SMOOVE. The rally will cover some of the issues facing arts workers and the creative industries including policies being discussed in the Legislature today including AI, Ticketing, housing affordability, mental health, youth access to arts education and more. In addition, the need to increase state investment for public funding for arts and culture will also be addressed.

        At the rally, CA for the Arts will present Legislative Arts Star awards, which recognize elected officials each year for their commitment and contribution to supporting the arts, culture, and creative industries and workforce. Mayor Steinberg will be honored for his leadership and support for Arts, Culture & Creativity Month since its inception in 2019 and for his leadership in Sacramento introducing programs such as Guaranteed Basic Income for artists and a creative economy cultural plan and historic funding during COVID. Senator Anthony Portantino will receive the award for his support of the nonprofit performing arts sector with his authoring of SB 1116 Equitable Payroll Fund and Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo will receive an award for her championing of a $1 million budget appropriation in the 23-24 CA budget for the establishment of a creative economy working group and strategic plan under the leadership of the state arts agency, the California Arts Council.

        2023 CA Arts Advocacy Day. Photo by Alan Sheckter.

        Participants will then parade to O street, where Legislators’ offices have moved due to Capitol construction, for meetings with their representatives to build awareness of arts, culture, and creativity as key drivers for California’s economic health and community wellness. 

        Arts, culture and creativity are vital to the state’s identity and economy. Arts & culture industries drive 8% of our state’s economy, compared to the 4.3% the sector contributes to the nation’s GDP, and supports over 847K jobs [Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2024]. But sustained state investment in the sector has not matched the impact. From 2003 to 2013, California funded its state arts agency with just $1 million a year to serve the whole state. Currently at $26 million for local assistance grants, the state ranks 36th in the nation in per-capita arts funding that is distributed to the field through the CAC, behind states such as Florida, New York, and Minnesota.

        With 15,000 new jobs on the line for teaching artists in schools as a result of Prop 28, and a one-time now expended $60 million invested in the state arts agency pilot program Creative Corps, embedding artists in California’s Healthy Places Index communities to provide solutions around issues such as climate change, emergency preparedness, public health and civic engagement, arts workers are beginning to be seen as an essential workforce for the state. Continuing on the momentum from the 23-24 legislative session and passage of AB 812 (Boener), allowing up to 10% of affordable housing in cultural districts to be reserved for artists and a budget inclusion of $1 million for a multi-agency creative economy task force and strategic plan, CA for the Arts will continue to advocate for policies to support thriving working conditions for artists, culture bearers and creative workers. 

        2023 CA Arts Advocacy Day. Photo by Alan Sheckter.

        About California for the Arts 

        CA for the Arts is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary advocacy service organization focused on building resources and public awareness of the value and impact of arts, culture, and creativity across California.

        About Arts, Culture & Creativity Month

        In 2019, Californians for the Arts (CFTA) successfully campaigned for the state to recognize and celebrate the arts by declaring April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month (ACCM) through a concurrent resolution passed in the California Senate. In 2021, an additional resolution was declared to recognize artists as second responders. 

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