California Arts Council 40th Anniversary


Celebration included performances and appearances by AXIS Dance Company, Ballet Folklórico de Sacramento, Juan Felipe Herrera, Dana Gioia, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, The Great Wall Youth Orchestra, and Roy and PJ Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko.

Our state arts agency, the California Arts Council, was established by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and came into being on January 1, 1976. Governor Brown created the California Arts Council on the basis that the arts are central to the lives of Californians.

On January 27th,2016, California’s state arts agency celebrated its 40th anniversary. During its four decades of existence, the California Arts Council has awarded thousands of grants— a total investment of $368 million. California is home to more artists than any other state, and the creative industries account for 1 in 10 jobs statewide.

But citing mere numbers does not give a sense of how this investment “paid off” in the streets and farms, the classrooms and the senior centers, the cell blocks and shelters and symphony halls of California, where dollar amounts large and small have transformed blight into beauty, stagnation into change, and hopelessness into inspiration.

The California Arts Council’s grantees and partners—past and present—carry with them countless stories of community transformation, social prosperity, cultural exchange, individual discovery, and educational growth.