April is Arts, Culture, & Creativity Month, established in 2019 as a statewide celebration honoring the intrinsic value of arts, culture, and creativity as not only a public good—transforming communities and individuals—but also as a driver of prosperity for the California state economy.

It’s a month of free events, resources, and advocacy opportunities across the state with the goal of engaging arts advocates and raising awareness of the impact of the arts within communities. On April 16, Sacramento will host the CA Arts & Culture Summit. On April 17, advocates will meet in Capitol Park for Arts Advocacy Day before meeting with legislators.

This year’s thematic focus is “Art Work is Real Work.” Artists play an essential role in the economy and health, with critical contributions across a variety of social impact areas. However, they are often without the services and conditions they need to thrive due to undervaluation of their work.

The creative economy contributes $507.4 billion dollars to the state’s Gross Regional Product and employs more than 1.8 million workers, nearly 7.6% of the state’s workforce. And yet, California ranks 32nd in the United States for arts funding, putting the Golden State behind Florida, New York, and Minnesota.

The SLO County Arts Council suggests several ways for local residents to engage in Arts, Culture, & Creativity Month:

SHARE: Share or reshare a local arts program, piece of public art, gallery space, or performance that you experienced recently and that inspired you to appreciate the arts/creative workforce. Add the hashtag #ArtWorkIsRealWork and tag @slocounty_arts on Instagram or SLO County Arts on Facebook.

WRITE: Op-eds are a great tool for arts advocates. They help communicate the value of the arts and arts advocacy to local community members who may not otherwise think about the arts in that way. Author your own piece or use a template.

ENGAGE: Send a letter to city officials, county supervisors, and state legislators and urge them to protect funding for the arts. Read up on current policy priorities, find your legislators, and access a letter template here.

DONATE: Invest in SLO County’s creative workforce by making a tax-deductible donation to a local nonprofit arts organization.