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Foundation Awards $3.8 Million in Grants to Central Coast Arts Groups

Four Santa Barbara institutions are among recipients selected for their commitment to strengthening audience growth and financial stability.

The James Irvine Foundation has announced $3.8 million in grants to 14 arts institutions along California’s Central Coast that are committed to broadening and diversifying their audiences and strengthening their financial sustainability.

The organizations selected this year for the Arts Regional Initiative are planning to use the grants to advance financial sustainability and growth capacity, and increase participation from communities of color and other communities that are underrepresented in their audience base. The institutions are developing specific plans that will include reaching new audiences with innovative marketing efforts and more relevant artistic programming, and advancing their organization’s development through technological improvements to Web sites and ticketing systems.

“We are excited to support these institutions because they are producing high-quality arts programming and are ready to continue deepening and diversifying their audience base as the Central Coast becomes increasingly diverse,” said James Canales, the Irvine Foundation’s president and CEO.

The organizations represent a mix of artistic disciplines, including music, dance, opera, literary arts, theater, visual arts and multidisciplinary arts. The grants will be awarded over three years and grantees will share resources, best practices and lessons learned. Grantees also will develop common goals focused on leadership development, operations, marketing, fundraising, technology and audience development.

The list of grantees follows:

» Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music of Santa Cruz: $225,000
» Kuumbwa Jazz Center of Santa Cruz: $250,000
» Lobero Theatre Foundation of Santa Barbara: $325,000
» Monterey Museum Of Art of Monterey: $300,000
» Monterey Symphony of Carmel: $275,000
» Museum of Ventura County of Ventura: $275,000
» National Steinbeck Center of Salinas: $275,000
» Ojai Festivals Limited of Ojai: $250,000
» Opera Santa Barbara of Santa Barbara: $275,000
» Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura: $325,000
» San Luis Obispo Art Center of San Luis Obispo: $225,000
» Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association of Santa Barbara: $275,000
» State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara: $250,000
» Sunset Cultural Center of Carmel: $300,000

The first phase of the Arts Regional Initiative in 2006 focused on organizations in the Inland Empire and Orange and San Diego counties. The second phase in 2007 focused on organizations in the Central Valley.

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