The California Arts Council has announced more than a thousand grants to cultural organizations across the state this year. The $16.3 million in funds, announced Tuesday, will mostly go to support groups working with underserved communities.
"Our goal is to reach and to represent all of the citizens in the state of California," says Anne Bown-Crawford, California Arts Council director. "I want to support as many historically marginalized communities as possible."
Among the groups benefitting from this round of funding is 916 Ink, a creative writing nonprofit based in Sacramento. Development director Justin Self says the $45,000 his organization receives from the California Arts Council will provide writing workshops for at-risk and incarcerated youth.
"Without communication and literacy skills, these kids are essentially on a pathway from school to prison," Self says. "We can take those kids that are most at risk of ending up in that situation and engage them in a program where they're able to express themselves with honesty and authenticity, so they can process the trauma they've experienced."
Self says 916 Ink has received California Arts Council funding for the past three years and that the funds are critical to his organization's success.
"Without these grants, it's very likely that we would only be able to do maybe 10 or 20 percent of the amount of this work that we do," Self says.