It seems like there’s an official day/week/month for everything nowadays—you know, National Hot Dog Day or Organize Your Files Week, those sort of silly and mostly useless “holidays.” But here’s a new one we can really get behind: Starting this year, April in California will henceforth be known as Arts, Culture and Creativity Month. The statewide arts advocacy organization Californians for the Arts (CFTA) announced their efforts earlier this month, stating in a press release submitted to Submerge that, “The goal is to engage and empower arts supporters to become arts activists in order to advocate for increased public funding for the arts and educate legislators to the impact of arts, culture and creativity in California.”
CFTA will launch their “Arts Create Impact” messaging campaign, and they’re asking interested parties to submit their “arts impact stories” on their website, Californiansforthearts.org, where you can also register for free public arts advocacy trainings across the state.
“Arts advocates are encouraged throughout April to visit their district legislative offices, stage public awareness actions through county resolutions, op-eds, events and more,” CFTA stated in their press release.
Californians for the Arts advocates for increased public funding and awareness of the massive impact that our arts, culture and creative sectors make in California.
“We also educate and lobby our legislators on issues that affect our field, from tax laws to affordable housing and we work to get funding for the California Arts Council, museums, arts education and more,” CFTA Executive Director Julie Baker recently told Submerge in an email. “Our goal is for the arts to be in every school and to be accessible for every Californian!”
While CFTA’s advocacy has worked wonders over the years, helping to increase arts appropriations exponentially, from the $1 million allocated in 2004 to nearly $25 million for fiscal 2018, the organization is quick to point out that on a per capita basis, California is currently ranked 26th in the nation for arts funding.
“As arts advocates, Governor Newsom’s proactive support of the arts is exciting news coming out of Sacramento,” says Baker, “but our work here is still not done. We must still advocate for increased permanent funding for the arts so we are on par with other leading creative states as we know the arts and creative sector are invaluable to an enlightened, vital and functioning society. The creative sector has a lot to offer and should be recognized for its impact and worth. We look forward to working with the new administration to amplify California’s profile as the leading state of creativity and to illustrate how the creative sector is transformative, solution oriented and effective.”
Arts, Culture and Creativity Month will take to the streets with a free, open-to-the-public Advocacy Day and Rally scheduled for Tuesday, April 23 right here in Sacramento at the State Capitol on the South Side, featuring performances, guest speakers, art making and more. The event will kick off at 9 a.m. with an indigenous welcome by Native American artist Stan Padilla and opening speeches from Senator Ben Allen of Santa Monica and Assemblymember Kansen Chu of San Jose. The festivities and activities continues throughout the early afternoon and will culminate with visits to legislator offices from 1–5 p.m., and then a reception from 5–7 p.m. at the Sheraton. Visit CFTA’s website for more information and to get involved with their important work.
**This write-up first appeared in print on page 8 of issue #289 (April 10 – 24, 2019)**