7 California Arts Councils Offering Crucial Support

California is a large, populous, and diverse state. It's no wonder, then, that it's home to a varied range of creators, art exhibitions, and related programming, with different counties offering their own unique contributions. In no particular order, this list highlights several arts councils across the Golden State supporting creative expression.

For #1, we have the Arts Council of Placer County, which serves the eponymous region of California by advocating for various forms of creative expression such as exhibits, tours, and events. As the designated State-Local partner of Placer County and the California Arts Council, its programs and services are meant to encourage and support the public to experience creativity in all its diverse forms.

The Council distributes grants to various local individuals and groups every year. One award, intended for schools, gives artists or educators funds for programs promoting arts education, such as seminars, classes, special projects, or teaching tools. Another awards money to nonprofits to produce community projects, performances, events, and festivals.

The #2 entry is the Arts Council of Kern. It provides arts education, vocational support, and enrichment opportunities to residents of all ages and all abilities throughout the county, which includes cities such as Bakersfield and Delano. The Council produces Stories on the Sidewalk, a program that helps locals learn about the area's history. During the event, actors are situated at various locations throughout Bakersfield to portray some of Kern's most famous residents, such as Cesar Chavez.

The Annual Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival invites artists to observe and paint the region. Every autumn, in Tehachapi, the Council produces a concert with classical musicians, such as Bryan Pezzone and Lisa McKim-Hall. Throughout the year, it hosts art classes for residents of all ages in Wasco.

Coming in at #3, we present Arts Council Napa Valley, which was founded in 1963 by a grassroots group of community leaders to help organize and support the community's arts activities. Its primary focus is increasing public access to creative expression. It works to achieve this goal by supporting local industries, advocacy, and programming.

The Council's core programs focus on communication, cultural tourism, public art, and K to 12 education. Its Community Fund Grant offers a funding opportunity for individual creators and arts organizations, with a focus on public engagement and accessibility through their practices.

Next up, at #4, we get Yuba Sutter Arts. This nonprofit's goal is to expand engagement in creative expression; encourage local communities to reach their full potentials by developing programs that serve their needs; and provide access to the arts in rural and under-served areas throughout Yuba and Sutter counties.

The organization's programs include Harvest the Arts, an evening fundraiser featuring food, drinks, art, and music. There are a number of initiatives designed specifically for youth, such as a choir, poetry competitions, and a festival with craft stations, face paintings, performances, and awards for a student showcase.

The #5 entry is the Arts Council for Long Beach. Its mission is to foster creativity and culture, enliven communities, and enable a thriving creative economy. The nonprofit aims to help create a vibrant arts scene that makes Long Beach a premier destination for residents, businesses, students, and visitors.

ACLB provides arts education to students and teachers in collaboration with the Long Beach Unified School District, running various core programs such as Eye on Design and Passport to the Arts. In addition, the Creative Long Beach initiative strives to develop and retain new creative leaders by pairing California State University students with quality internships at local organizations.

For #6, we present YoloArts. This organization is dedicated to developing awareness and access to art and related education in Yolo County. By doing this, it believes it can enrich the lives of all local residents. Its ArtMix program brings professional teaching artists into public school classrooms for six to twelve week residencies.

Poetry Out Loud is a statewide project culminating in a national recitation contest for high school students. Student participants interpret, memorize, and recite three poems within a competition framework that starts in the classroom. YoloArts also manages several exhibition spaces where it hosts artist showcases.

Rounding out our list at #7 is Pajaro Valley Arts, an organization that works to facilitate and promote various forms of creative expression in the community. It coordinates professional visual art exhibits in partnership with guest curators, schools, city government, and local organizations.

Experience Art, PVA's educational program, provides K to 12 students and their teachers with the opportunity to tour exhibits free of charge, in order to learn about the expressive qualities of art created by regional makers. Every year, the organization produces a student gallery at the Watsonville Civic Plaza.