Artists are a vital part of every community in California, contributing broadly to our quality of life and making the unique contributions that make California a dynamic cultural and economic leader.
Artists create films, video games, poetry, literature, theater, music, visual art, dance, architecture, sleek technological tools, and creative goods and items that both shape and reflect our diverse culture over time. These practices and tools help us make sense of the ever changing world around us and connect us to the heritages both visible and invisible in our communities.
In California, as new technologies are ever more prevalent, artistic work is now created, accessed, and supported in these different platforms and formats. California is rich with opportunities for connecting the values engendered by art and artists to solve the most pressing issues of the day. As artists are recruited as creative talent into a range of commercial fields, California is shifting from the belief that arts are a discrete and separate sector to one that understands the value of artistic and creative principles, including critical thinking, creative innovation, and visual aesthetics. In 2020 alone, federal labor analysis shows that California led the nation in value provided by the Arts and Culture sector to the state, generating $225 billion, or 7.5 percent of the state’s total domestic product.
As the range of artistic media and cultural expressions has exploded in both access and content, driven by an increasingly diverse population, the imaginations of young people, and developments in technology, California has the opportunity to harness and cultivate this burgeoning creativity through its education systems in order to produce and retain local talent for the state. The growing cultural diversity of the state also increases the urgency of addressing issues of equity, access, and representation in the arts sector, particularly given the data that show the lack of diversity. In fact, recognizing the value artists can bring as thinkers, creators, and problem-solvers in generating solutions to the state’s most pressing challenges such as racism, climate change, and inequality requires partnerships across various levels of government, communities, and business to ensure the arts and artists receive support for their contributions as an integral part of California’s future.
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