Philip Ray Orabuena at an Art in the Park event in Hollister. Photo courtesy of the San Benito County Arts Council.
Philip Ray Orabuena at an Art in the Park event in Hollister. Photo courtesy of the San Benito County Arts Council.

Information provided by the San Benito County Arts Council

The San Benito County Arts Council announced that the Central Coast Region was awarded a competitive $4.75 million grant to support the health, safety and resiliency of Central Coast communities through the arts. The Central Coast Region also includes Arts Council for Monterey County, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, San Luis Obispo County Arts Council, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture and the Ventura County Arts Council.

The release said the grant program, California Creative Corps, was developed by the California Arts Council in partnership with the State legislature. It added that California Creative Corps is an economic and workforce recovery pilot program intended to support pandemic recovery and the environmental, civic and social engagement of California’s most disproportionately impacted communities.

“Using a variety of art forms, including visual, performing, and traditional arts, artists will advance positive community outcomes by creating locally-focused, contextually and culturally sensitive public messaging and work,” the release said.

It added that the initiative represents an unprecedented collaboration between county-designated arts agencies from all six counties. The arts agencies will work cooperatively to support program administration and serve as primary partners, service providers and communication conduits in their respective geographies.

“This is an incredible opportunity to bring close to $5 million in economic recovery funds to the Central Coast region and in doing so, demonstrate the vast potential of artists working alongside nonprofits and government agencies to further community and economic development goals in the areas of public health, civic engagement, climate resilience and social justice” said Jennifer Laine, Executive Director of the San Benito County Arts Council.

The release said the grant funding, modeled in the style of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), will support a media outreach and engagement campaign designed to increase the following:

  • Public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Public awareness related to water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery
  • Civic engagement, including election participation
  • Social justice and community engagement.

It added projects are intended to cultivate trust, belonging, community cohesion and interdependence—particularly in communities that are most impacted and that communities located in the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index will be prioritized.

The scope of responsibility includes:

  • Implementing culturally and discipline-specific engagement strategies to priority communities and trusted culture bearers
  • Mentoring—through professional development, workshops or other opportunities—individual artists, cultural practitioners and nonprofit organizations
  • Increasing visibility of the work of artists, cultural practitioners and nonprofit organizations
  • Engaging in robust outreach to ensure comprehensive geographic reach for sub-grantee organizations, artists and cultural practitioners
  • Managing the application processes for artists and sub-grantee organizations

The program will be implemented in multiple phases; the regional guidelines and application process will be released in Fall 2022. All funds will be distributed by Sept. 30, 2024.

For other information about the San Benito County Arts Council, visit or email Jennifer Laine, Executive Director, at