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Serving the Creative Arts Community Since 1974

Arts Advocacy

Our Mission

California Lawyers for the Arts empowers the creative community by providing education, representation and dispute resolution.

Our Vision

Artists and arts organizations serve as agents of democratic involvement, innovation, and positive social change, and the growth of an empowered arts sector is essential to healthy communities. CLA’s leadership and services strengthen the arts for the benefit of communities throughout California.

Advocacy for Arts Funding

After 2003, when the California Arts Council's state general fund allocation dropped from $32 million to $1.1 million, California Lawyers for the Arts actively pursued the restoration of the state's arts budget through symposia and dialogues on the value of the arts, advocacy for arts program in corrections, celebrations recognizing arts supporters, articles in various media and presentations before legislative bodies. The CAC budget for 2017-18 is now more than $26 million, which funds arts programs and services in schools, neighborhoods, correctional institutions and communities across the state

Arts in Corrections Advocacy

Beginning in 2011, California Lawyers for the Arts launched an Arts-in-Corrections Initiative in collaboration with the William James Association and California Arts Advocates. Following our successful demonstration project in several California prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation initiated a $2.5 million two-year contract with the California Arts Council for arts programs in up to 19 state prisons starting in 2014. This major breakthrough was inspired by a study by Dr. Larry Brewster of the University of San Francisco that described the benefits of arts programs for inmates' attitudes and behavior, based on pre and post surveys of participants in four state prisons. The funding for prison arts leveraged an additional $5 million for the state arts council budget that year, bringing the total to $10 million for 2015-16.

In 2016, Governor Brown's budget initiated an additional $4 million for arts programs in all 38 state prisons--for a total of $6 million for 2016-17. Again, the legislature added another augmentation of $10 million for other Arts Council programs, for a total State general fund allocation of $21 million for 2016-17. We had an opportunity to thank Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Sen, Jim Nielson (R-Roseville), for their bi-partisan leadership that supported increases in the state budget for the arts at our festive Artistic License Awards benefit event in Sacramento in May, 2016.

In June, 2017, CLA presented its second national conference on Arts in Corrections in collaboration with the William James Association and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Arts in Corrections: Building Bridges to the Future celebrated
 the success of the Arts in Corrections Initiative, as well as the 40th anniversary of the William James Association.

Help the California Arts Council Reach 1-Million Arts License Plates!
One million cars with California Arts Plates would mean $40 million for the arts. That would put California near the top in arts funding rather than dead last. Californians have the power to take our state from last to first in arts funding by choosing the Arts Plate for their cars and supporting arts for children and a strong creative economy and arts infrastructure.

All fees for the Arts Plate are considered a charitable contribution to the California Arts Council (more). Businesses and residents looking to support arts statewide now have an extra incentive to support California arts – and have a cool looking license plate as well.

Since the Arts Plate first went on sale in 1994 it has raised over $20 million for California arts through sales and renewals. Currently over 60 % of the California Arts Council’s budget comes from the Arts Plate.

Art Makes Us Human
This 30-second PSA was produced by CLA and EZTV in 2007 to call attention to the need to increase arts funding in California. The PSA was conceived and directed by Michael J. Masucci, EZTV and produced by Alma Robinson, CLA and Kate Johnson of EZTV, with voiceover by Quentin Hancock. The piece most notably won a Cine Golden Eagle award, a highly prestigious award which has been won over the years by many leading filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg.Please share this PSA with your friends and colleagues!



California Lawyers for the Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent of the law.  State Bar LRS Certificate #0021.

MCLE Provider # 1248.

The information provided on this website is not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your legal matters.

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