Arts Connection was in attendance for the 2015 convening which took place in Sacramento on April 15th and 16th. The economic impact of the arts played a starring role.
The 2014 Otis Report, released prior to the April 15th Legislative Joint Committee on the Arts Hearing on the Creative Economy of California, was the focus and laid out the indisputable facts that underscore the need for drastic change when it comes to state arts funding.
California regularly ranks among the lowest of all 50 states in per capita arts funding… 3 CENTS PER PERSON! For comparison's sake, Texas spends 52 cents per person, Florida $2.21, and Minnesota $6.31 per person. The California Arts Council budget used to hover around $20 million until it was slashed in 2003 and has yet to bounce back. It now receives $1 million per year from the CA General Fund, although last year’s budget included a one-time increase of $5 million. One of the goals of this convening which was organized by Californians for the Arts, was to lobby for an increase of $10 million dollars, along with 5 additional staff members to oversee the funds.
The Otis Report findings demonstrate the need for this increased funding with hard numbers: California’s creative industry output totaled 293.8 billion (direct, indirect and induced). Following are a few of the numbers from the Otis Report, generated by California’s creative industries:
· 1,477,100 jobs (1 out of 10 jobs)
· $113.5 billion in total labor income
· $12.1 billion in taxes to CA state and local Governments
· direct employment in CA’s creative industries (694,000) was more than two and a half times the number of workers that are employed by the computer and electronic manufacturing sector (262,900) and nearly twice the number who work in hospitals (371,600)
While jobs in the creative industries are projected to grow by 4%, funding for arts education and programming is not. Non-profit organizations have had to scramble to survive, and perhaps only due to the creative forces that drive them—they continue. Many panelists representing these organizations shared their success stories of finding new and often unlikely partnerships with non-arts organizations. Through leveraging collaborations with veterans, environmental, and seniors groups, private industry, and educational partnerships these organizations are flourishing, and creating stronger communities as a result. We are reaching out as well. Over the past few months, we have applied for the Artist in Schools planning grant and partnered with a number of organizations on the Veterans Initiative in the Arts Grant (both California Arts Council programs). We continue to seek out partnerships and would love to have your input. Please reach out with your thoughts, and lets get this conversation started!