California Creative Corps

Inspired by the Federal Government’s WPA program that gave employment to artists and others during the Great Depression nearly a century ago, the California Arts Council is launching the California Creative Corps (CCC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Though we may have collectively moved on from the shocks of 2020, public health, climate health, and civic engagement are still urgent priorities.

The CCC grant acknowledges artists and culture bearers as uniquely situated to engage boldly and meaningfully in these priorities. This pilot program offers a unique opportunity to apply for funding to creatively address four program goals across traditional dividing lines.

The Arts Council of Mendocino County is a CCC partner agency for the 19-county Upstate Region of Northern California, which will receive a total of $3,384,043 million in workforce development funds for artists as well as arts and social service organizations that employ artists through late 2024.

The application and guidelines will soon be available through the Nevada County Arts Council (our regional Administering Organization). This page will be updated, as needed, with relevant information and links. Please note: until the official Guidelines and Application are released, all information found here is subject to change.

PROGRAM GOALS

Soon, artists throughout the state of California will have the opportunity to apply for California Creative Corps grant funding to creatively address one or more of these four program goals:

Public health – the health of the population as a whole, including public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Climate mitigation & conservation – reducing the flow of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, either by reducing emissions of these gases (such as by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, or transport) or enhancing “sinks” that accumulate and store these gases (such as the oceans, forests, and soil); or raising public awareness about water and energy conservation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery.

Civic engagement – the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community to improve conditions for others or help shape the community’s future; this includes promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes and encouraging election participation.

Social justice & community engagement – advancing equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities for everyone; opening the doors of access and opportunity, particularly for those in greatest need.

GRANT CATEGORIES

Artists in the Upstate Region of California (a nineteen-county region that includes Mendocino County) are expected to be able to select from three grant application categories:

Individual Artists or Culture Bearers ($5,000 to 60,000)
Individual artists, including first-time applicants, are invited to engage directly with one or more of the four programs goals above to increase public awareness and/or offer solutions.

Community Residencies ($75,000 to $150,000)
Arts organizations, social service organizations and departments of government, including Tribal governments, who wish to employ artists or culture bearers.

Regional or Multi-County Coalitions ($200,000 to $250,000)
Regional or multi-county coalitions that create systems and processes with a high sustainability quotient. Deep engagement with government agencies or departments should be an essential feature of programs at this level. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.

Applications from both individuals and eligible organizations shall be reviewed on the following criteria: Health Equity, Project Design, Community Engagement, and Accessibility.

Additionally, artists anywhere in the state of California are able to apply (by February 20th) for a limited number of year-long fellowships including $65k salary + medical and dental benefits here: https://18thstreet.org/californiacreativecorps/

HEALTHY PLACES INDEX

The California Healthy Places Index (https://www.healthyplacesindex.org) offers a springboard for formulating grant proposal ideas. Applications will need to be anchored in some measure of adverse health, though applicants may use data from other sources such as Healthy Mendocino (https://www.healthymendocino.org/) or the Extreme Heat Edition of the California Healthy Places Index (https://heat.healthyplacesindex.org/).

EVENTS:

Hosted by the Arts Council of Mendocino County:

Mondays from noon to 1 pm (Feb 27 through April 11) Mendocino County California Creative Corps Clinic Join the event from this page here. Find and click the “Official Website” link to enter the Zoom meetings. Part networking mixer, part grant writing clinic, these recurring meetings will allow artists, arts organizations, culture-bearers, and community partners to ask any questions that are not covered in the grant guidelines, and possibly form partnerships that may lead to proposals. This meeting is hosted by the Arts Council of Mendocino County and is open to anyone in the Upstate California Region who is interested in partnering with Mendocino County artists or organizations on a California Creative Corps grant application.

Hosted by the Upstate California Creative Corps:

Feb 17, 2023 at noon: Informational Webinar for the Upstate California Creative Corps. Register in advance for this meeting here.

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Tuesdays at noon (From Feb 28th until deadline) Upstate Creative Corps Virtual Office Hours

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84287582858?pwd=QzVkQ2VPd0JQVG44N0FOalM0bSt0dz09

Meeting ID: 842 8758 2858 | Passcode: 805631 | Dial – in number: +16694449171

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Date to be announced (check back here): Upstate Creative Corps Grant Workshop (public) & HPI training 

IMPORTANT LINKS:

The application and guidelines, when they are published, will be available on the Upstate Creative Corps website: https://www.upstatecreativecorps.org/

If you are interested in serving as a Mendocino County panelist to review and evaluate local applications, please apply using this link.

The Upstate Creative Corps also has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UpstateCaliforniaCreativeCorps where they will share information and events related to the grant.

Networking Assistance: The Upstate California Creative Corps invites artists, cultural practitioners, culture-bearers, and those who serve organizations tackling important local and regional issues to communicate both within and beyond their usual circles, in order to gain a deeper understanding of one another’s work, and promote partnerships across the region. We hope these conversations will inspire new projects addressing the issues of public health, the environmental, climate mitigation, emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery, civic engagement, and social justice issues. Join the “Conversation Cafe” on Facebook to network and brainstorm grant proposals across the region here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativecorpsconversationcafe

In early November 2022, the Arts Council of Mendocino County and Nevada County Arts Council co-hosted a “Listening Tour” and introduction to the Healthy Places Index, an important element of the California Creative Corps. The powerpoint presentation (in English and in Spanish) can be found at this link. A recording of the meeting is available at this link.

A recording of David Kipen’s talk “WPA & the California Creative Corps” on January 17th is here.

Artists anywhere in the state of California are able to apply (by February 20th) for a limited number of statewide year-long California Creative Corps fellowships (including $65k salary + medical and dental benefits) here: https://18thstreet.org/californiacreativecorps/

FAQs:

  • When will the application be available? The application and guidelines for our entire region (including Mendocino County) will be published by Nevada County Arts Council in early 2023. The estimated release date is February 14, 2023.
  • When will the application be due? There will be approximately 8 weeks between the availability of the application and the grant deadline.
  • What should I be doing now? Check this page frequently for updates and begin networking with relevant partners with whom you are considering submitting an application. For example, an artist who wishes to propose a mural related to disaster preparedness with an emphasis on preparing for wildfire, would likely want to begin discussions with Fire Safe Mendocino and would be working to secure site permission with the important caveat that until the guidelines and application are published, discussions should be somewhat provisional. You might also want to join the Conversation Cafe on FB to network and share ideas with others who intend to apply, especially if your proposal concept is regional in nature.
  • How much funding is available? There is $3,384,043 available for our 19-county Upstate Region. Of that, the amount of funding awarded to Mendocino County alone is not likely to exceed $221,000.
  • What is the purpose of this grant and where do the funds come from? The 2021 State Budget included a $60 million one-time General Fund allocation for the California Arts Council to implement the California Creative Corps pilot program, a media, outreach, and engagement campaign designed to increase: 1. public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19; 2. public awareness related to water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery; 3. civic engagement, including election participation, and; 4. social justice and community engagement. The CAC sees this program primarily as a job creation and infrastructure development opportunity that will increase the ways in which artists are engaged in public work so that they can continue to support the realization of these goals—and intersectional public interest goals—beyond the three-year pilot funding timeline.

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