Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Sunday, December 26, 2021

State of the Arts 2022: Hurry up and Slow Down

by Patricia Frischer

I have been pushing to re-form a San Diego County Arts Council since I found out that there used to be one that did not survive. Now, it appears that will happen in my lifetime! The Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture report has now been made public and is in the hands of the SD County Supervisors. It advises that criteria be set for Commissioners to be chosen and so we are heading in the right direction to bring back an art commission or art council for the county of San Diego.

But perhaps San Diego should not adhere to any existing outline for a county-wide arts and culture commission even if it is deemed “best practice”.  Don’t we need to create a new structure suitable to our own population? San Diego has an arts scene like no other community that I have experienced.  There is no central power structure and I deem that a good thing. A re-formed county arts and culture administration should not rush in to fill that void. In fact, most agree that we can’t see this step as a panacea for all our problems. Let’s manage our expectations and allow time for some creative failure along with much needed aid.

I really applaud that equity will be the cornerstone of that revised organization. And a big part of what needs to be done is not only broadcasting successes, but to also support well intentions experimentation even when not successful. The question is, how do you assure both of those goals will be reached.

When forming any organization, it is essential that all involved have a basic agreement on their shared values and beliefs. So that is a starting place; artistic excellence, accessibility to all, inclusivity for all regions, ethical and professional behavior, enabling and empowering, collaborative and cooperative, seeking economic viability, respectful equity.

Do we need another layer of administration to assure eventually agreed upon objectives, goals and strategies?  My answer is yes, but I don’t see this as an either/or proposition, but one with potential added value. Just like there is a big push for the arts to be help social services, there is also a place for art to simply be that thing that adds immense joy to our lives.

Yes, we have waited a long time for the county to add more to the conversation about the arts. Now we have to hurry up and slow down to get it right.

This year for my State of the Arts report I decided to take a look back at all of the support for the arts that was mentions in our RAWcolumns in 2021. This is just a snapshot and is not every call for applications or every funding report. Can you see some trends?

Good news for the creative industries and artists from the CA’s $227 billion budget. CA is in good shape financially with a $15 billion projected surplus. Preliminary proposal for creative industries state arts agency includes a one-time $15 million CA Creative Corps pilot program and no decrease overall in ongoing funding for the CA Art Council plus $25 million for Cultural Institutions in grants in the next round of $575 million for small businesses recognizing the disproportionate impact of the shutdown to our sector. It is a great start now its need to get it through the legislature. Arts advocates, be ready, you’ve got more work to do.

Congratulation to the California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellows and Host Organizations which include Luisa Martínez from the Museum of Us who is a transfronteriza cultural organizer, artist, and educator. Her practice develops from the trans-border context of Tijuana-San Diego, but looks to understand borders, and their imminent destruction, beyond geographical parameters.

Building on the longstanding partnership between the California Alliance for Arts Education (the Alliance) and Create CA and their shared mission to make sure that a quality arts education is part of every student’s life, they are merging into a new, united organization using the Create CA name. By coming together, they will join the power of Create CA’s dynamic communications and innovative data project with the Alliance’s proven policy and advocacy track record and statewide network supporting districts and counties to provide a full arts education to all students.

We all know how bad it is out there for the arts, but here are four links put out by USD research team: 2020 Annual Report: State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy in San Diego, Nonprofit Sector Response for COVID-19 March 2020 , Unprecedented Disruption: COVID-19 Impact on San Diego Nonprofits May 2020, 2020 Culture Shift: Measuring COVID-19 Impact on San Diego Arts and Culture Nonprofits. Nope, we are not going to summarize these for you, but we asked and they did it for us.

Arts Advocacy Week is April 19-23.  Hundreds of advocates will meet (virtually) in Sacramento to illustrate the creative industries and artists impact on our economy and wellbeing, and to meet directly with elected officials to encourage them to support increased public funding for the arts and legislation and policies that are pro-arts, arts education, culture and the creative sector.  We hope you will engage in advocacy and for you to be inspired to participate but you must sign up with Californians for the Arts. Raise your voice for the arts and join us for advocacy week April 19-23 by becoming a delegate. Attend ACCM Virtual Convening – April 27.  The keynote speaker is our own Todd Gloria!

Of the $78 million awarded in the first winter 2021 cycle of the Conrad Prebys Foundation, $8,517,500 was granted to Visual and Performing Arts organization. These grants requested $28,767,500.00, but at least 41 different grants were given out.

California Arts Council is changing the name of its Arts in Corrections to Transformative Arts. This is its prison arts program and the change is in honor of its participants & the possibilities creative expression provides. 

A big pat on the back to the Commission for Arts and Culture for their newsletter that is lively and informative about happenings at the commission. They also have a data-driven, interactive map that shows the impact of 160+ partner organizations.

Of the 11 San Diego County arts organizations who received a combined $203,000 in grants from the National Endowment for Arts in San Diego only two were for visual arts: Outside the Lens in San Diego, $10,000 and the San Diego State University Foundation’s Prison Arts Collective program, $35,000.

Bonita Museum & Cultural Center (BMCC) will join museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2021 program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, 2021, and end on Labor Day, Monday, September 6, 2021. Find the list of participating museums at

The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC), welcomes new staff member Andrea “Angie” Chandler as Cultural Strategist, to support the organization's recent shift into Inclusion as its Audience and Engagement Specialist. Chandler has already made an impact in the Southern California region with her project, Culture Mapping: San Diego, a community informed initiative to identify the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color cultural sector and ultimately connect them with much needed resources such as funding and space. Chandler from Brooklyn, New York, most recently served as the Education Manager at the San Diego Museum of Art where she oversaw a department that included a museum art school, adult and youth programming, the museum’s library and more. For more info: Leticia Gomez Franco 619.236.9702.

City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture recently announced 174 funding awards for the fiscal year 2022. More than $7.7 million will be distributed to nonprofits that make meaningful impacts in communities and expand access to arts and culture throughout the city. See the award at these two links: Organizational Support Program (OSP) and Creative Communities San Diego (CCSD). P.S. We love seeing the Commissioner Spotlights in the newsletter as this gives us a chance to know more about this select group of citizens supporting the arts in San Diego. Contact them for more info:

Did you know that the previous federal government promised the arts and culture industry $16 billion in emergency funding? They have received 14,000 applications for a total of $11 billion and as of June 22 have only given out $834 million to 1400 applications. Not only that but each application was 30 to 100 pages long. Does anyone else see a flaw here? Read more from the New York Times.  There is emergency federal, state and county funding for the arts. 

State funding included in the main budget bill has now been signed by the state governor and include an historic investment of over $600 million dollars to arts, culture and live events in California with $128 million to California Arts Council of which $40 million is for Creative Youth Development, $60 million for CA Creative Corps Pilot program and remaining for local assistance programs and staffing. Read more in our summary: California Arts Council Funding Update: July 2021 by Patricia Frischer

The California Arts Council is officially launching  DREAM, the state arts agency’s new arts and culture magazine. The annual publication features voices and stories from across the state, sharing a glimpse into the depth of impact of creativity and cultural expression in a region as large and diverse as California. The premier issue explores what it means to dream, introducing artists and culture bearers from communities throughout the state. Subscribe to DREAM magazine and receive your free copy in the mail, followed by subsequent yearly issues. A digital edition of the magazine, with both English and Spanish versions, is available also for free on the California Arts Council website at

The Commission of Arts and Culture for the City of San Diego is trying to move mountains of policy to bring in a new era of equality. Led by Jonathon Glus, the executive director, the proposal which still has to be passed the city council, aims to make the grant process easier for small organization with less stringent auditing and more importantly access to money before the project instead of after the fact.  Individual artist or even one-off campaigns, as long as they use non-profit fiscal agents, will now be eligible. Although inclusion will be emphasized, project that serve the city but are located elsewhere will no longer be permitted.  This makes it even more important for communities like Chula Vista, Lemon Grove and Poway to have new funds by bringing back a county wide office of arts and culture. BTW, the City has made a call for fiscal agents to step forward and be pre-approved to offer a choice for these underserved groups.

California Arts Council Round 8, the Nonprofit Cultural Institutions Program, will open on August 27, 2021. If you have already received a CA Relief Grant, you are not eligible to receive another one. ONLY one award per organization/individual/business. For more information, sign up for the FREE webinars to learn more.

The Carlsbad Arts Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Community Arts Grants Funding Plan on Aug. 5, 2021 including 29 arts projects and capacity building projects for local schools and arts organizations taking place in Carlsbad through Aug. 31, 2022. This includes $8461 for North County Arts Network.

In August, the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) bill was introduced. CERA is a $300 million dollar program that will mitigate creative worker displacement, stimulate local creative workforce growth, strengthen connections for local creative small businesses and networks, create a pipeline for new creative jobs, enrich communities, increase access to culture, and invest in creative workers and local economies harmed by COVID-19. Ask your member of Congress to sign on to H.R. 5019 as a cosponsor to support the creative economy in your community. This is the 21th century version of the WPA.

It is time to apply for your City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture funding. Organizational Support Program (OSP): Provides general operating support to arts and culture nonprofits and Creative Communities San Diego (CCSD): Provides support for projects in a variety of artistic and cultural forms, from film and video screenings, art exhibitions and performances to festivals and parades (projects produced by organizations that do not hold tax-exempt nonprofit status may be eligible for funding using a fiscal sponsor) RFQ Application Timeline: September 27, 2021 – October 31, 2021. Access all application materials HERE.

Reminder: Non-profit Neighborhood Reinvestment $5000 to $25,000 ($2 million per supervisor) and Community Enhancement ($1 million per supervisor) County Grants $5000 to $40,000 are available from your own district. District 3 is concentrating on green issues, those with disabilities, equity issues, emigrants help, youth resources, but there are still county stimulus grants for small businesses including non-profits who have suffered from the effects of the pandemic. These are all available every month until the money runs out.

We are thrilled to announce California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed SB-628 The Creative Development Workforce Bill introduced by Senator Ben Allen and co-authored by Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva and Laura Friedman and Senators Susan Rubio, Josh Newman and sponsored by California Arts Advocates, the lobbying arm of Californians for the Arts and, Arts for LA. Here is a link to the article I wrote on California Creative Corps Pilot Program Development Update A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer. I waded through the 217 page document for the Sept 22 California Arts Council meeting to summarize this and it contains a time line for the new program.

The San Diego Foundation gave a total of $11,094,777 to Arts and Culture this year. Of that over $2 million went to our museums. Orchestas and Symphonies got over $4 milliion but arts education only $193,606. Can anyone else see an lack of balance here?

The California Arts Council (CAC) announced that it has awarded a total of $2.185 million in support of 182 recipients who applied for an inaugural 2021 Individual Artist Fellowship. These are the 13 who were awarded  from San Diego County and mix of performing and visual artists: Victor Orozco Ochoa (muralist), Alyce Smith Cooper (story teller, actor) (Legacy $50,000) Bhavna Mehta, Cat Phillips, Angelica Tolentino, Macedonio Arteaga, Karla Cordero, B. Deaton, Josemar Gonzalez, Anishka Lee-Skorepa (Established $10,000) Dia Bassett, Yasmine Kasem, Maxwell Lofano, (Emerging $5,000). About 75 went to Los Angeles applicants and only 18 and no legacy award for those in San Francisco.  We think perhaps that is partly due to “…themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility…” in the requirements of those applying. San Diego simply does not support enough BIPOC artists so they don’t exist or didn’t know about this award. Remember only 182 out of probably a huge number of applicants even got a cash award.

The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a Regional Film Office presented by Nathan Fletcher. Right now, only the city of San Diego has a Film Office as the SD Commission for Film was abandoned in 2013. The proposal is to negotiate the creation of a Regional Film Office with the City of San Diego and the Port of San Diego, among others in the county.

World Design Organization has announced that the cities of San Diego-Tijuana (USA/Mexico) have been jointly named World Design Capital® 2024 as a result of their commitment to human-centered design and legacy of cross-border collaboration. The theme is HOME,  and the US-Mexico border cities win historic designation to become first binational World Design Capital

Good news! The Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture report has now been made public and is in the hands of the SD County Supervisors. It advises that criteria be set for Commissioners to be chosen and so we are heading in the right direction to bring back an art commission or art council for the county of San Diego.

A very nice summary of this year’s accomplishments for the arts comes from the Californians for the Arts: Historic investment of the Arts of $600 million nationally, first state creative workforce act (SB 628), senate resolution of artists as second responders, double amount of CAC California Arts Council funding for 2021 to $12 million, federal venue grants for CA of $1.3 million, guidelines for re-opening. 

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