California now ranks 49th out of 50th in per capita spending on the arts, moving up from last when Kansas recently eliminated all arts funding. But the California Arts Council is committed to giving future generations access to arts programs and education, to cultivate the creativity and innovation that are key to success in every field and ensure the creative workforce essential for California’s economic future. The Arts Plate directly funds arts education and local arts programs throughout the state.
You can buy your Arts Plate now at ArtsPlate.org.
How much revenue is generated annually for the California Arts Council via sales of the Arts Plate?
The California Arts Council receives nearly $3 million annually from sales and renewals of the Arts Plate. This amounts to approximately 3/5 of the California Arts Council’s overall budget. The remainder of the budget comes from the California State General Fund and matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
How much of my Arts Plate purchase and renewal fees will go to the California Arts Council?
For each standard Arts Plate, $35 of the initial $50 purchase price and $40 (100%) of the renewal fee are placed in the Arts Plate Fund and those funds are transferred to the California Arts Council.
The California Arts Council receives the same amount even when drivers pay more to personalize their Arts Plates. As with the standard plate, the California Arts Council receives $35 of the initial cost and $40 for annual renewals of a personalized plate. The additional cost associated with personalizing an Arts Plate ($98 initial/$78 renewal) benefits the Environmental License Plate fund.
What programs and organizations does the California Arts Council fund?
Over 300 nonprofit arts organizations receive support from the California Arts Council’s programs and initiatives, providing arts programming for kids and communities in virtually every county in the state. You can see a list of our grantees by following this link: California Arts Council Programs and Grantees
What percentage of Arts Plate revenue goes directly to California Arts Council programs and grantees?
The agency allocates its annual budget to maximize benefit to the public. The amount of Arts Plate funding that goes directly to arts education, programs and grantees changes slightly each year, but the average percentage has been just over 81%.
Two to four percent of Arts Plate funds are spent each year on marketing the Arts Plate, and the remaining 15%-17% of Arts Plate funding allows the California Arts Council to provide additional services to the public, including workshops and online seminars; website updates on artist calls, arts jobs, and arts funding opportunities; technical support; arts education advocacy efforts; other arts-related services and the administrative costs associated with these services.
Who oversees the California Arts Council's fundraising and spending?
The agency is overseen by an eleven-member council appointed by the Governor and the State Legislature. As a state agency, the budget of the California Arts Council is annually scrutinized by state government agencies including the Department of Finance, the State Controller's Office, and the Governor's Office. Expenditure reports are created monthly, with all financials and grantees documented each year in our annual report.
See Annual Reports
Can I have input regarding how funds are allocated?
All meetings of the California Arts Council are open to the public. They are held 5-6 times a year at various locations throughout the state with time allotted for public comment. Agendas and minutes are available online. In addition, the peer panels that review and recommend grant awards to the California Arts Council are open to the public.
Information on California Arts Council meetings
Can the Arts Plate funds be reallocated for other unrelated state purposes?
Revenue generated by the Arts Plate is required by statute to be allocated to the California Arts Council for arts education and local arts programs.
See Arts Plate Law
Is the purchase of an Arts Plate considered a charitable donation?
Contributions to state agencies, including Arts Plate purchases and renewals, qualify as charitable contributions for tax purposes, according to the Franchise Tax Board.
Franchise Tax Board Information Letter
I’ve noticed an advertising campaign for the Arts Plates. Who is paying for that?
Massive “pro bono” support is largely driving the Create a State/Million Plates Drive marketing campaign. The outdoor media, the campaign creative, and the “Arts Drivers” sponsorships have all been entirely donated. The combined value of this campaign already exceeds $10 million, while outlays for necessary production and management costs stand at around 1% of that amount.
Learn More at ArtsPlate.org.