Cultural Districts

In 2017, the California Arts Council began designating cultural districts, which the statute defines as geographic areas within communities with a concentration of cultural facilities, creative enterprises, and/or arts venues.  [AB 187, Chapter 396, Statutes of 2015]

According to the Assembly Concurrent analysis for the enacting legislation, Assemblymember Bloom (author) stated that "establishing state-designated cultural districts will help to draw more tourism and commerce to these creative clusters… Arts and cultural districts in other states have spurred new business, increased community interaction, attracted more tourism, and increased government revenue based on the economic growth."

In supporting the state-designated cultural districts, the CA Arts Council provides technical assistance and collaborates with other public agencies and private entities to maximize the benefits of state-designated cultural districts.  The Governor’s proposed budget for 2022-23 includes $30 million to support the existing 14 cultural districts and to expand the cultural districts program to serve traditionally underserved communities.  The initial 14 districts were designated under a pilot project.The California Arts Council has completed a final report.

The Budget Change Proposal states that the Cultural Districts Program serves as an important tool for developing, supporting, and preserving of California’s extensive and diverse cultural assets. The additional funding will allow the Arts Council to prioritize the following designations:

  • Districts that represent Latinx and Asian American communities, who are underrepresented in the current cultural district cohort.

  • Districts in lower-income and rural counties.

  • African American districts, or Black “umbrella” districts that encompass several culturally

  • Specific communities within it, who are absent from the current cultural district cohort.

  • Districts that represent Chinese American and Native American communities, who are also absent from the current cohort.


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