The California Arts Council, a state group that doles out funding for arts programs and organizations, met in San Diego last week to discuss topics like funding requests, programs and initiatives as well as provide updates on the progress of their strategic plan. While that may sound like a snoozer of an agenda, the mood was celebratory. Well, maybe not live tiger and champagne-level of celebratory but still joyful. That was thanks to the recent announcement that the state general fund will include a permanent increase of $7.1 million to the council’s budget, giving it a total budget of $8.3 million. Add to that $1 million the council receives from the National Endowment for the Arts and $2.5 million from other avenues, you’ve got an awesome $11.8 million going to arts programming in California in the 2015-16 year and a minimum of $8.3 million thereafter.

For context, the prior year’s budget was a $1 million general fund allocation plus a one-time $5 million infusion. That’s a serious raise for our state’s art programs.

So you might already be asking where’s that sweet, sweet green going? Caitlin Fitzwater, a spokeswoman for the California Arts Council, provided a bit of a breakdown.

Back in 2012 and 2013, the CalArts Council visited seven locations across the state, including San Diego, to ask artists, arts organizations and others how the council could best serve them. The answers they received on the Listening Tour informed their strategic plan, which was adopted in 2014. That Listening Tour and their Strategic Plan will guide how the boosted funds will be spent in the next two to four years.

Specifically, Fitzwater said that the council will use this raise to further invest in two pilot programs: Veterans Initiative in the Arts, which benefits veterans, active military and their families through arts programming, and Jump StArts, which supports arts education for at-risk youth. San Diego’s Playwrights Project, which we’ve covered before in the Culture Report, is currently supported through this pilot program.

The council also directed attendees to explore the development of two new programs: one reserved for artists exploring communities through deep engagement and another set to help emerging arts organizations in the start-up or development phase.

The CalArts Council will meet again in September. Then, it will set up guidelines for those programs and later send out an open call to apply for funds.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

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The San Diego Art Prize might look a little different next year. (CityBeat)

A Ship in the Woods is raising funds for its upcoming move by releasing a compilation featuring rad musicians. (A Ship in the Woods)

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Feminist artist and former UC San Diego professor Miriam Schapiro passed away. (Jezebel) Read about Schapiro’s inspiring and activist legacy in this L.A. Times piece.

The Museum of Contemporary Art has three new pieces on display. (Union-Tribune)

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A Play That Bangs and More Music and Performance Goodies

A play about the life and writing of Lester Bangs is playing in Culver City. Bangs, as some of you may know, was a famous rock critic who worked largely in Escondido and was known for being awesomely outspoken on art, music, politics and society. Here’s a Bangs quote for you: “Don’t ask me why I obsessively look to rock ’n’ roll bands for some kind of model for a better society. I guess it’s just that I glimpsed something beautiful in a flashbulb moment once, and perhaps mistaking it for prophecy and have been seeking its fulfillment ever since.”

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Billy Shakespeare and Caitlyn Jenner have more in common than you think. (KPBS)

O-side Film Fest, Going Bard Deep and More Culture Crumbles

Meet a local archaeologist who is basically the Wikipedia of Mayan culture. (Union-Tribune)

Audubon magazine has the story of a local parrot rehabilitator who is the most punk bird lady on the planet.

 The Old Globe Theatre is going Bard deep with its Summer Shakespeare festival and adding films to the mix. “West Side Story”! (KPBS)

The Oceanside International Film Festival just released its lineup, and it’s a doozy of 75 flicks.

San Diego is the second most active city in yoga, fun runs and races. (The Huffington Post)

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts and culture in San Diego and Tijuana. She also writes the column "There She Goz" for San Diego CityBeat,...

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