Road trip for the arts – California Arts Council

California Arts Council staff tours to bring grant opportunities to our state’s communities

Interim Programs Officer Jason Jong in Oakland.

At the California Arts Council, we believe in equitable access to arts and culture. It’s our goal that all our state’s residents know who we are and what we value as an agency, that they see themselves represented in our programs and services, and that every eligible organization has the tools to apply for our funding opportunities.

Last month, staff packed their bags, banded together, and by plane, train and automobile embarked on a statewide tour to help achieve that goal and get the word out about grant season. From Siskiyou to Imperial counties, we traveled the Golden State teaching interested organizations how to apply for state arts funding at a series of 13 workshops. Significant research went into the decision making as to where those workshops were held, taking into consideration things such as regions with significantly low grant application rates, densely and diversely populated areas, rural communities, areas we had not traveled to in quite some time, and some we simply had not visited before.

The turnout was humbling. Every facet of the arts and culture, community, social justice and political realms were there with us.

We were welcomed with open arms to communities big and small. We saw exhibitions of work previously funded by the California Arts Council put together just for us. We saw people hang around after the workshop’s end to network and connect with one another. We loved every moment of sharing these spaces with you, all the way down to your enthusiastic response to our icebreaker movement exercises.

Above all, we saw lots of new faces. More often than not, more than half the room was just getting acquainted with us and our grant programs.

Our time on the road was an eye-opening, rewarding experience. We were reminded once again of the beauty and vastness of our state. We’re grateful to have met so many new people, to inform and encourage new applicants to join our California Arts Council family, and to see the potential for many more trips in the years to come.

To Oakland, Orland, Fresno, Yreka, Bakersfield, Carpinteria, Sacramento, Riverside, Salinas, San Mateo, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Calexico and their surrounding communities — thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. You showed up for us, but more importantly, you showed up for you.

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