Press Release

Contact:              Kelly Velasquez

Date:                    Thursday, May 7, 2020


Starting Arts Awarded California Arts Council Artists in Schools Grant

State funds support launch of Theatre Artist-in-Residence program for all students at Horace Cureton Elementary School in the Alum Rock Union School District for 2020-2021 academic year

San Jose, CA – Today the California Arts Council announced a grant award of $6,500 to Starting Arts as part of its Artists in Schools program.

Starting Arts will partner with Horace Cureton Elementary School in San Jose to develop and implement an integrated theatre arts program into the language arts curriculum for grades TK-5 for the 2020-2021 school year.

Starting Arts’ teaching artist will work with Horace Cureton’s classroom teachers and administrators to develop a 12-week theatre curriculum that will complement each grade’s course of study within the California Visual & Performing Arts Standards.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant and proud to be part of the CAC’s mission to provide arts access and participation for all”,  said Ann Watts, Starting Arts Executive Director.

Starting Arts was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council of more than 1,500 grants awarded to nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state for their work in support of the agency’s mission to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. The investment of nearly $30 million marks a more than $5 million increase over the previous fiscal year, and the largest in California Arts Council history.

Organizations were awarded grants across 15 different program areas addressing access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and directly benefiting our state’s communities, with youth, veterans, returned citizens, and California’s historically marginalized communities key among them. Successful projects aligned closely with the agency’s vision of a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Arts Council recognizes that some grantees may need to postpone, modify, or cancel their planned activities supported by CAC funds, due to state and local public health guidelines. The state arts agency is prioritizing flexibility in addressing these changes and supporting appropriate solutions for grantees.

“Creativity sits at the very heart of our identity as Californians and as a people. In this unprecedented moment, the need to understand, endure, and transcend our lived experiences through arts and culture is all the more relevant for each of us,” said Nashormeh Lindo, Chair of the California Arts Council. “The California Arts Council is proud to be able to offer more support through our grant programs than ever before, at a time when our communities’ need is perhaps greater than ever before. These grants will support immediate and lasting community impact by investing in arts businesses and cultural workers across the state.”

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Starting Arts’ mission is to make arts education accessible to all students in Bay Area schools.  Starting Arts provides hands-on arts experience in 4 disciplines (dance, music, theatre and visual arts) in classes taught by skilled professional artists eager to share their expert knowledge and passion with students. Classes are standards-based and align with the Common Core Standards. In the twenty years of its existence Starting Arts has brought programming to over 650,000 Bay Area students in K-12 classrooms.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Jaime Galli, Larry Baza, Lilia Gonzales Chavez, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit