IMPORTANT ADVOCACY UPDATE – City of San Diego Arts and Culture Funding


City of San Diego Arts and Culture Funding
April 12, 2018

Our advocacy efforts to stop deep budget cuts for arts & culture at the City have been heard! Thanks to everyone’s united voice, Mayor Kevin Faulconer has proposed an FY19 budget for arts and culture with only a 2% cut to the existing $14.6 million budget.  

This is a “fair share cut” in line with other city departments – far below the possible 30%+ cut – and one that we plan to support going forward through budget hearings.

BUT that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop – we must continue to demonstrate the value of arts and culture in our communities – and work with City Council during the Budget Hearings to assure there are no further cuts.

Next Important Date

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mayor presents FY 2019 Proposed Budget at City Council – 2pm

Next Important Action

Next week, we will share with you social media messaging for our support of the Mayor’s budget that you can use to update your patrons and in any community meetings with Councilmembers.

In It for the Long Haul

All our efforts now are laying the groundwork for developing strategies over the next couple of years for a long-term solution to assure there is reliable, viable sustained funding for arts and culture.

Thank You

Your efforts are truly paying off. Let’s keep focused!

SDRACC Appoints Three New Steering Committee Members

SDRACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to its Steering Committee. Chris Chalupsky is the Sr. Manager of Arts and Community Partnerships for the San Diego AirportLlewellyn Crain is the Director of Development for The Old Globe, and Yvonne Wise is the Chief Curator & Head of Office of Arts and Culture for the Port of San Diego. Each new member brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the arts and culture for the San Diego region.

To learn more about the Steering Committee, click here.

ICYM: CAC’s New Director, Anne Bown-Crawford Visit to San Diego

We were proud to host in partnership with the California Arts Advocates the new California Arts Council director, Anne Bown-Crawford on Thursday, March 15th at The Old Globe. In case you missed this event, here’s a great article from the San Diego Union Tribune

Thank you to The Old Globe for hosting and to Toni Robin at TR/PR Public Relations | Marketing for the donated media work. Thank you to everyone that attended. Be on the lookout for more upcoming events from SDRACC.

Action Alert: City of San Diego Arts and Culture Funding

City of San Diego Arts and Culture Funding

Action Alert

Good news!   Thanks to everyone’s advocacy efforts, a significant majority of City Councilmembers included increased funding in their Budget Priority Memos to the City’s Independent Budget Analyst. 

Here’s the language from the IBA Report:

Arts and Culture Funding (Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9)

A majority of Councilmembers prioritized an increase in arts and culture funding for FY 2019 over the amount included in the Mayor’s Outlook. The FY 2018 Proposed Budget reduced arts and culture funding from $15.1 million in FY 2017 to $10.4 milliona $4.7 million or 31.3% decrease.


When the City Council adopted the FY 2018 budget, they allocated one-time resources to the arts and culture budget, increasing the budget to $14.7 million. These one-time funds were removed from the arts and culture budget in the Mayor’s Outlook, which included an arts and culture funding level of $10.4 million for FY 2019.

The following Councilmembers included increased funding in their Memos:

District 1 – Councilmember Barbara Bry
District 2 – Councilmember Lorie Zapf
District 3 – Council Chris Ward
District 4 – Council President Myrtle Cole
District 8 – Councilmember David Alvarez
District 9 – Councilmember Georgette Gomez


Please click on this Link and send a quick email to at least one or all of the Councilmembers and THANK THEM for including Increased Funding for Arts and Culture in their Budget Memos.  Tell them about an upcoming program that City Arts and Culture Funding supports for the benefit of the community.



ACTION REQUESTED: Contact City Council Members NOW – Urge Support for Penny for the Arts in Their Budget Memos

ACTION NEEDED BY: Friday, January 12

As many of you already know, San Diego arts and culture organizations are already facing a potential 35% cut from FY17 levels.

Our best step at this moment is to ensure Arts and Culture is included as a priority in the budget memos for the City Council Members.

When do you need to act?
The budget memos are due January 22, which means they are being written right now. We encourage emails and calls to Councilmember by Friday, January 12, especially since Monday, January 15 is a federal holiday.

What can you do?
Please identify ONLY people who are well connected to the various Council Members (these may be Trustees, friends, Labor Union members or key community members,) and ask them to call the Council members to ask them to include in their budget memos that Arts and Culture are a high priority and that they seek to fully fund Penny for the Arts. Stories about arts programs and audience engagement in THEIR districts are also extremely valuable.

We are interested in results. Once you or your delegate has made contact with the Trustees, please let us know which of the Councilmembers respond and what they say by sending information to SDRACC Association Manager Jessica Amaya at 

Thank you.

District Name Email
District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry
District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf
District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward
District 4 Council President Myrtle Cole
District 5 Councilmember Mark Kersey
District 6 Councilmember Chris Cate
District 7 Councilmember Scott Sherman
District 8 Councilmember David Alvarez
District 9 Councilmember Georgette Gomez

San Diego Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Report

On October 18, 2017, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture launched its billion-dollar arts announcement (read Local Art Nonprofits Generate over $1 Billion in Economic Activity) with an exciting presentation by Vice President of Research and Policy of Americans for the Arts, Randy Cohen.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 provides evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the City of San Diego—one that generates $1.1 billion in total economic activity. 

The results of the study for the City of San Diego and the Balboa Cultural District are available for public use. Click on the links below to access the reports.

Balboa Park Cultural District Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 Report

City of San Diego Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 Report




The Arts: San Diego’s Billion Dollar Industry on October 18, 2017


The Arts: San Diego’s Billion-Dollar Industry

Why Investing in the Arts Matters to San Diego Now

Keynote Speaker: Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts, Washington DC

Americans for the Arts has conducted the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the United States. Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy will present the results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5Report and San Diego’s billion dollar impact with a special report on Balboa Park.

Presented with the support of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, and the Balboa Park Conservancy.

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10:00am – 11:30am

Where: Museum of Photographic Arts, Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater
1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92110

Space is limited! RSVP  today

SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission of Arts & Culture Follow-up Letter

On September 8th, 2017, members of an ad hoc committee of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition sent a follow-up letter to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture requesting to include the recommendations for FY19 Guidelines and Panel Process in the upcoming meeting agendas for review and discussion.


Dear Janet:

Congratulations on your appointment as the Chair of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. We would to like to thank you for stepping up to this very important leadership position and again to let Larry Baza know how grateful we are for his outstanding work as past Commission chair and arts advocate.

The SDRACC Ad Hoc Committee on the Commission Application and Panel Process understands the Commission’s Policy and Funding Committee will address the FY 19 OSP and CCSD funding application guidelines at its September and possibly October meetings. Because time is of the essence and staff capacity is limited, we appreciate the opportunity to engage the Policy Committee and Commission members in a deliberative process that focuses our previous requests on the priority recommendations listed below over the next two months. To that effect, and as a follow- up to our last correspondence we, the undersigned members of an ad hoc committee respectfully request that the Commission docket the following recommendations to the FY 19 OSP and CCSD Guidelines on the upcoming full Commission meeting agendas for a full review and discussion.

These recommendations are rooted in our collective experience as Commission contractors and arts professionals and reinforce our goals to: increase the efficiency of the application process for both the Commission staff members and arts organizations (the following recommendations require minimal changes for the Commission staff and contractors, as we are aware of the capacity challenges that both groups face); stabilize the application process; and ensure that the City OSP and CCSD application and funding process is as equitable as possible for organizations large and small.

  1. Short Form: The FY 18 funding cycle was the first to eliminate the option of a Short Form application. This was appropriate because the funding guidelines and application were completely revised and all contractors needed to participate in this new process equally. That process has been utilized and Commission staff has indicated no substantive changes are to be recommended to the funding guidelines for FY 19. Therefore, we recommend that organizations should complete the full application as staff has indicated it does not have the capacity to revamp the form and that organizations be exempt from the panel review process if they have received a high rank from past panel reviews and meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.

Adopting this recommendation will create efficiencies for the Commission, Commission staff, review panels and organizational contractors.  Reducing the volume of applications to be fully reviewed by panels will reduce the number of hours panels meet which will in turn reduce the number of panelists required to be recruited, trained and scheduled by Commission staff and will stabilize the application process for the contractors (who will now be able to plan ahead for the long and short form years).

  1. Appeals Process: We request the Commission reinstate the Appeals Process for all OSP and CCSD applicant organizations in the FY 19 cycle. The Appeals Process is a simple and important accountability measure that ensures occasional mistakes and misstatements by review panels which adversely impact an organization’s ranking can be addressed. The Appeals Process utilized by the Commission in the past included specific guidelines for an appeal to be considered and specific grounds upon which an appeal might be approved. It is our opinion that these same guidelines can easily be reviewed and reinstated so that staff and Commissioners do not need to spend unnecessary time constructing new appeals guidelines from scratch. The reinstatement of the Appeals Process is a recommendation that supports our goal of providing a more equitable process for all organizations.
  1. Review of Financials: We strongly recommend that all financial and governance information provided in the Request for Qualification documents be part of the full panel review The applicant organizations’ budgets and leadership information help tell the “whole story” and should be tied to their organizations’ goals, objectives and deliverables. The addition of the RFQ information in panelists’ packets will allow for greater equity in the review process as organizations are evaluated in a more comprehensive manner.

Thank you for providing an opportunity to discuss these recommendations in an open and transparent process.


San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition Ad Hoc Committee Members


Matt Carney, Treasurer

Rising Arts Leaders


Llewellyn Crain, Director of Development

The Old Globe


Erin Decker, Vice President of Development

The New Children’s Museum


Victoria Hamilton, President

Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates


John Highkin, Director

Fern Street Community Arts

Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director

La Jolla Playhouse


Todd Schultz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

San Diego Symphony


Dalouge Smith, President & CEO

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory


Steve Snyder, President & CEO

Fleet Science Center 




cc: Commissioners and Staff

To read the first letter sent to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture on August 24th, 2017, please click here.       

SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission for Arts and Culture for FY19 Guidelines & Panel Processes

On August 24th, 2017, members of an ad hoc committee of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition sent the following letter to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture with recommendations for FY19 Guidelines and Panel Process. 


Continue reading SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission for Arts and Culture for FY19 Guidelines & Panel Processes

2017 SDRACC Arts & Culture Funding Victory Celebration

 You are cordially invited to join your colleagues on  
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
5PM to 7PM 
The Berkeley
1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
Celebrate Arts and Culture funding victories at the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. 
$20 per person (includes appetizers and one drink). Your ticket purchase will be applied towards your Renewal or if you Join on August 16th
To attend, register here.