California State Parks, partners launch ‘Arts in California Parks’ program

Submitted to the Sun

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California State Parks announced the launch of a new program, Arts in California Parks, to help make California’s parks more inclusive and welcoming. Through this new program, artists, culture bearers, and California Native American tribes will be eligible to receive funding to create artwork throughout state and local parks. The public is invited to chime in on the development of the program through a survey at, and to participate as visitors or collaborators.

“The Arts in California Parks program will help cultivate curiosity and awe for park visitors through thought-provoking and emotional experiences,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “The program will lift up and support artists, and create connections to culture, the community, and the world we live in.”

The program represents an exciting collaboration between State Parks, the California Arts Council, and Parks California, and is one of the many efforts underway as part of State Parks’ Reexamining Our Past Initiative. Initiated by a one-time $25 million general fund allocation that extends through 2027, the program will fund projects in both state and local parks that offer perspective on California’s past and present and help promote community connections.

“We are proud to launch the Arts in California Parks program with Director Quintero and California State Parks,” said California Arts Council Executive Director Jonathan Moscone. “Thanks to the leadership and vision of Governor Newsom and our State Legislature, California’s arts and creative workforce will have paid opportunities to help transform our state parks and connect the arts and nature.”

Artists, culture bearers, and California Native American tribes interested in creating public art in California state and/or local parks are encouraged to join the new Arts in California Parks Artist Directory, a tool designed to help facilitate the co-creation of project proposals between park entities and creative partners. The directory is a resource that will support relationship building and collaboration by allowing park staff to connect with artists and/or organizations based on location, art medium, and more.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with California State Parks and the California Arts Council to design and manage this new program. Art brings tremendous cultural and social value to public parks by adding meaning to our spaces and uniqueness to our communities,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, president and CEO of Parks California. “Art in nature has the power to inspire people to feel more connected to place. Through community engagement and supporting local artists and art organizations, this new program is an exciting opportunity for everyone to create lasting memories in parks.”

Opportunities for creatives and communities to collaborate with park entities on funded projects will be announced in 2024, under two distinct sub-programs. The Local Park Grant Program, which will fund projects in local parks through a competitive grant program, will launch in 2024 and is anticipated to include three funding cycles. The State Parks sub-program-initiated pilot projects in 2023 and will fund additional projects in State Parks in summer 2024 and summer 2025.

More than 20 pilot projects are underway within state parks, including performances, events, and installations.

An advisory committee offering diverse geographic, multicultural, interdisciplinary, and organizational perspectives is being formed to guide the development and implementation of the program. With guidance from the advisory committee as well as community and artist participation, this program will increase the capacity of California’s parks to nourish, educate, and inspire individuals and communities.

Additional information on the new Arts in California Parks program and related opportunities is available online at

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