The California Arts Council announced today it's awarding the largest number of grants in 14 years.
Council Director Craig Watson says 712 grants will help pay for programs that spur deep engagement with culture and creative expression. It amounts to more than $8.5 million.
"Fourteen years ago the council saw significant decreases in its overall funding," says Watson. "And so ever since then we've been building back to this point. This year's announcement of over 700 grants is really more than 225 additional grantees this year over the previous year."
The boost in grants is made possible because of a fiscal year 2015-16 state budget increase. Watson says the money is going to a wide variety of programs including ones focused on the under-served and military veterans.
"We funded a performance of Handel's Messiah in the center of skid row of Los Angeles," says Watson. "That's one example. Another would be in Marysville, a series of murals done by veterans to help tell the stories of veterans experiences."
Many of the grants will also pay for arts education in California schools.