CRETeam.Photo courtesy of SBC Arts Council.
CRETeam.Photo courtesy of SBC Arts Council.

Article contributed by San Benito Arts Council

The San Benito County Arts Council, 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 Ventura County Arts Council are pleased to announce that 23 community-based organizations have been selected for the Central Coast Creative Corps (CCCC) Program, a pilot grant program funded by the California Arts Council.  Each grantee will receive $140,000 to work closely with Central Coast based Artists and Culture Bearers for one year to address one of four key priority areas: climate impact, public health, civic engagement and social justice.

Grantees were selected by a diverse panel of central coast artists and community leaders who represented all six geographic regions with funding going towards organizations that serve and represent the region’s most under-served communities, as indicated by the California Healthy Places Index (HPI). Panelists also ranked applicants based on a range of organizational missions, program objectives and unique approaches to artistic collaboration.

Central Coast Creative Corps Community Partner grantees include: Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley; the Coastal Watershed Council; Housing Matters; Esperanza Community Farms; Safe Ag Safe Schools; The Village Project, Inc.; El Sistema USA/Salinas, Inc; Costanoan Indian Research Inc.; San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections; Lumina Alliance; RACE Matters SLO County; Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP); Nyeland Promise; LULAC Colonia Council; Lucha Inc.; County of Ventura; Santa Paula Latino Town Hall; Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council; Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, Inc. (CHCCC); Family Service Agency; Freedom 4 Youth; Awakening Giantz; and Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center. All grantees are based in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the San Benito County Arts Council to find the most creative approach to increase civic engagement,” adds Francisco Diaz, Registrar of Voters, San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections, which is one of two grantees in San Benito County.

The goal of the Central Coast Creative Corps is to uplift the creative workforce and improve community health outcomes. It is investing in Artists across disciplines to collaborate with selected Community Partners for twelve months on producing a sustained outreach and engagement initiatives addressing one of the following four priority areas as identified by the California Arts Council: (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. Grant funds will be used by the Community Partners to engage an Artist or Artist Collective, for one-year from September 2023 to August 2024. Of the funding award, $100,000 will go directly to the Artist for their work on the campaign; with $20,000 allocated for artist-community relations, supplies and materials, and other costs incurred for production and/or implementation; and $20,000 for the organization for program administration.

“Working with the Central Coast partners has been an absolute privilege, and we are pleased to see so many applicants from the region and specifically from San Benito County. Our goal has been to make sure that these funds are accessible to first-time grantees, small budget organizations and organizations that are new to arts and culture, across the region.  As one of six county partners, we also wanted to ensure that we represent the needs and priorities in San Benito County,” said Jennifer Laine, Executive Director of the San Benito County Arts Council. “We are excited that two projects from San Benito County were chosen by the panel, and we look forward to working closely with the San Benito County Elections Department and Costanoan Indian Research Inc. on this innovative pilot program.”

To ensure the best possible experience for everyone, grantees will receive support throughout the duration of the program. The first phase of the grant period will be dedicated to building a foundation for a successful working relationship between the Community Partner and the Artist. Community Partner grantees will have access to the Central Coast Artist Directory, where regional Artists have registered expressing interest in participating in the Central Coast Creative Corps. This searchable, public-facing, online directory includes artists’ resumes, media or medium, years of artistic practice, geographic location, area of geographic interest, work samples, and community engagement experience. Grantees may select an Artist or Artist Collective from the directory, or work with an artist they may already be affiliated with. The Central Coast Artist Directory can be visited at

The Central Coast Creative Corps is shared and administered by county-designated arts agencies from all six counties. They work cooperatively to support program administration and serve as primary partners, service providers, and communication conduits in their respective geographies. This program is part of the California Creative Corps, developed by the California Arts Council in partnership with the State legislature. 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.

“We are all inspired and humbled by the amazing work that the 150 organizations that applied to the Central Coast Creative Corps are doing across the Central Coast Region. The 23 organizations selected represent a diverse group of organizations- from their geographic locations, their organization/budget size, and missions- this group represents a broad spectrum of the incredible work being done by nonprofit and government agencies across the six-county region. We look forward to working with them over the next year and seeing what is possible when artists work with these organizations and the impact it has on our communities,” says Hannah Rubalcava, Grants & Contracts Manager, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, lead administering organization for the Central Coast Creative Corps.

More information about the Central Coast Creative Corps can be found at Spanish-language assistance is available.

About the Central Coast Creative Corps Partners

Central Coast Creative Corps is a six-agency Central Coast Arts Coalition program, funded by the California Arts Council. The Arts Council for Monterey County aims to improve the quality of life for everyone in the region through the arts. Arts Council Santa Cruz County nurtures and invests in artists, culture, and the arts throughout Santa Cruz County. The San Benito County Arts Council is dedicated to activating and connecting people, spaces, and communities through art, culture, and creativity. The San Luis Obispo County Arts Council’s goal is to advance the visual, literary, and performing arts through programs that promote public access to the arts, arts in educational settings, local arts planning and collaboration, and opportunities for artists and arts organizations. The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture is committed to nurturing a sustainable arts and culture sector, promoting equitable access for all, and empowering the creative communities to innovate, collaborate, and thrive. The Ventura County Arts Council advocates for the arts and creates partnerships among artists, arts supporters, businesses, foundations, county organizations, and schools with an emphasis on diversity.

For more information, contact the San Benito County Arts Council at 831.636.2787 or