Increase Includes a $2 Million Enhancement to Cultural Equity Endowment Fund & $1 Million for Grants for the Arts Over Two Years
San Francisco, CA— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that over the next two years the City will contribute and invest $7 million in programs supporting the arts. This represents 14 percent growth over previous budgets and includes a $2 million enhancement (a 50 percent increase) to the City’s groundbreaking Cultural Equity Endowment Fund and $1 million to Grants for the Arts to support small and mid-sized arts nonprofits, individual artists and historically underserved communities through grants and capacity building. Mayor Lee’s Shared Prosperity for the Arts Package includes a $3.8 million capital investment over the next two years in the City’s Civic Art Collection and Cultural Centers and an additional funding for arts education.

“Artists have played an immeasurable role in shaping San Francisco into the City it is today. The arts and culture sector also helps fuel our economy, drawing $1.7 billion in tourism each year,” said Mayor Lee. “That is why we must act now to keep artists here so that they can continue to contribute to the vitality of our City. This increase in arts funding will help ensure that artists can share in the prosperity of this rapidly growing economy.”

“On behalf of the Arts Commission, we are grateful to the Mayor for taking steps to protect the City’s arts and culture ecosystem through these budget enhancements,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “With an historic increase to the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund and this overall commitment to artists in San Francisco, we are setting an example for other municipalities on how to preserve and support artist communities.”

“This is wonderful news for the arts,” said Director of Grants for the Arts Kary Schulman. “This increase in funding comes at a critical time when artists are struggling to maintain their foothold in the City. There is no better way to help arts organizations than by increasing crucial general operating support for their work.”

In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, the Arts Commission will also explore exciting new opportunities to build housing for the artists who contribute so much to San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods.

The City-owned cultural centers, which include the African American Arts and Culture Complex, Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and SOMArts provide accessible arts and culture programming for all San Franciscans by offering low-cost performances and space rentals, gallery exhibitions and classes. With an increased capital budget over the next two years, the Centers will be able to address critical maintenance needs and make significant improvements for greater accessibility to their sites.

Over the years, the Civic Art Collection, which includes 3,500 artworks distributed throughout the city, from the airport to the zoo, has aged and requires a more aggressive schedule of care. The increased capital investment will enable the Arts Commission to step up restoration and maintenance efforts, ensuring that the artwork that defines the city’s landscape can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Mayor Lee will submit his two-year budget plan to the Board of Supervisors on June 1st.

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries and Street Artist Licensing. For more information, go to:

Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) provides a stable, dependable base of support for the City’s arts and cultural organizations that meet funding criteria.  In fulfilling its mission of “promoting the City through support of the arts,” GFTA annually funds nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that help promote San Francisco as a destination for regional, national and international visitors. GFTA is committed to supporting the broadest spectrum of the San Francisco arts community. For more information, go to: