Bill to fund California Arts Council Moves through Legislature Committees

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 8:57am

Photo: California State CapitolAB 580, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian to fund the California Arts Council with $75 million annually, has passed through the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Media, an important step toward a vote on the floor of the Assembly.

In 2003, the California Arts Council's budget was slashed and annual appropriations reduced to just three cents per Californian.  This placed California behind all other U.S. States and Guam in the amount of state public funding made available to nonprofit arts organizations and artists.  Since that time, the California Arts Council founded the entrepreneurial Arts Plate program, which directly funds arts education initiatives in the state.  However, Arts Plate does not replace grants funds lost in the 2003 budget decision.

AB 580 would increase CAC's funding to pre-2003 levels and ensure local and county granting budgets are supplemented by the state's investment.  Additional funding to CAC can also increase the amount of federal money sent to the state by the National Endowment for the Arts, which shares a portion of its budget with state and local arts agencies nationwide.

Should AB 580 pass a vote of the full Assembly, it will appropriate two dollars per resident to arts and culture and place California twelfth in the nation for cultural funding.

On April 17, in conjunction with ArtsDay 2013 at Los Angeles City Hall, District 2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian promised to introduce a resolution from the City Council supporting AB 580 as the bill will help match the city's own investment in arts and culture organizations and artists.  Click here to hear Mr. Krekorian's remarks in the Council Chambers.

The bill's next step is to move into the Appropriations Committee, chaired by Assemblymember Mike Gatto.