To better understand the challenges and hopes of these working Californians, we partnered with local nonprofits to speak directly with more than 400 residents across the state who could share their experiences, as well as the solutions that could make a difference in their lives.
Our new focus is to expand opportunity for working Californians who are struggling to get by — and to have their voices heard by those making decisions in and for their community. What we heard on the ground — the insights and stories shared by these Californians — will help inform our strategic focus and our future grantmaking in economic and political opportunity.
Hear from several listening session participants about their ambitions, challenges, and fears, and from President and CEO Don Howard about why we held the sessions, and what we plan to do with what we learned.
We partnered with local nonprofits to hold 14 Community Listening Sessions across the state. Our goal in listening was to better understand the challenges and dreams of working Californians, and to hear about the solutions that could make a difference in their lives. We also asked people about the role of creativity in their day-to-day lives. This summary report shares common themes we head during the sessions.Read the Summary in English | Summary in Spanish | Summary in Traditional Chinese | Summary in Simplified Chinese
Community Listening Session Participant, Fresno
Our arts engagement work is generating new awareness, research, models, and examples of nonprofits realizing greater public benefit through arts engagement.
We are capturing lessons from our arts engagement initiatives — and complementing them with research and resources to help develop a strong field of leaders and organizations that work together to expand arts engagement with diverse and low-income Californians.
Existing research gathers compelling evidence that people who participate in the arts are more likely to be active in their communities and to be making a difference in the lives of others. This study further shows how arts nonprofits may have natural advantages in helping people achieve new levels of understanding, empathy, and adaptation — critical capacities for civic engagement as well as acceptance and connection across class, race, heritage, or immigration status.Read the Report Summary | Read the Full Report
This study explores the prospects for a field of nonprofits focused on “arts engagement” — the term used at Irvine to describe multiple, overlapping strategies that focus on expanding arts participation to diverse and/or low-income communities. Based on information gathered from arts leaders, researchers, funders, and others, the report takes stock of a nascent field through a five-part framework, and suggests new courses of action that could accelerate the building of a strong network of arts engagement practitioners.Read the Report Summary | Read the Full Report
At the recent Zócalo Public Square Conference, three leaders from our cohort of grantee-partners in the New California Arts Fund (NCAF) were part of the robust dialogue and submitted the following thought pieces around arts engagement in California.Read the Story
In 2011, Irvine put forward a program goal promoting arts engagement. Our aim was to support nonprofits that embrace and advance the diverse ways that Californians experience arts and culture, based on the belief that these experiences strengthen us and help us all live better together.Read the Story
Deborah Cullinan, CEO of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sat down with YBCA's Jon Moscone on a Tuesday evening, one week before the elections and almost two years after he joined Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as Chief of Civic Engagement, to discuss his unique role and what the future of arts and civic engagement looks like, at YBCA and in the arts field at large.Read the Story