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Amador Arts Council Doubles Local Impact

Despite restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, the small arts council has more than doubled its local impact, producing hundreds of arts classes, dozens of concerts, and expanded direct aid to artists – all free of charge. 

June, 2022: The Amador Arts Council, a local 501c3 nonprofit and Amador County’s state-appointed arts agency, is proud to share its expanded community impact report: Since 2018 Amador Arts has more than doubled its budget and programming, and continues to provide expanded access to the arts for community members of all backgrounds and ages across Amador’s rural foothills communities.

As of today, Amador Arts is proud to report it continues to fund the following: 

  • In-school art classes for 100% of local K-6 students at nine school sites
  • Poetry education and access to the nationwide Poetry Out Loud program for all high school students
  • Over 200 art classes annually
  • Paid work experience for disabled high school youth via the Workability Program
  • Over $40,000 in direct payments to artists to create original art, perform, and teach 
  • A $10,000 college scholarship for local youth seeking advanced arts education

Read on to learn the details of these programs, and discover how Amador Arts programs are expanding access to the arts and arts education in California. 

“As a rural community, we frequently miss out on much of the state and federal grant funding,” explained Amador Arts Executive Director Meghan O’Keefe in a meeting with the county Board of Supervisors on May 24. “But with a strong art council, Amador Arts has ensured that these grants come home to Amador County so that we don’t have to leave in order to experience the enrichment of the arts.”

Today, the agency provides free art classes to 100% of local elementary school students, including disabled youth, across all nine school sites. These classes, which cost an average of $250 per session, are provided free of charge to the students, schools, and school district.

Amador Arts likewise provides poetry education to all local high school students. This education, plus the opportunity to participate in the nationwide Poetry Out Loud program, is also provided to students for free. In expanding its offerings to high school-aged youth, the Amador Arts Council expanded its annual scholarship in 2022 from $1,000 to $10,000. 

In addition, Amador Arts has deepened its commitment to providing arts access to all people, including the neuro-divergent by partnering with the WorkAbility program to hire and train disabled high school students. Similarly, community service opportunities and student director positions are offered on the Amador Arts Council board to encourage participation in decisionmaking and showcase the career opportunities which exist within nonprofits and the arts.

Within the greater Amador County community, the Amador Arts Council hires dozens of local artists – amounting to over $40,000 in direct payments to artists  –  to teach, create, and perform. These collaborations result in over 200 classes per year, including to local senior citizens. The council likewise pays musicians to perform in dozens of free concerts in every Amador community in order to bring the arts directly to the local population. 

Amador Arts is one of nine art councils which received the highest possible ranking from the State of California for its work to bring the arts to all community members regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or location. Amador Arts is proud to share that this ranking places the Amador County on par with the following leading counties in California: Nevada, Sonoma, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara County art councils.

“We are honored to be the smallest county with the smallest art council budget in that top ranking, and that is because we know and we have demonstrated to the state that creative thought is central to country living,” says O’Keefe. “We strive to ensure that every artist, student, citizen and arts organization in our county has our support and free resources so that Amador County can continue to be an exceptional place for rural artists to learn, grow and work. We are honored to serve and help the people, artists and youth of Amador County.”

This success is only possible as the result of generous donations from the public, in addition to expansive collaborations with community organizations and businesses including the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, Amador County Behavioral Health and Public Health, Amador County Unified School District and County Office of Education, Amador Senior Center, and dozens more. We are endlessly grateful for support and collaboration with these partners.

For more information on the work being done by the Amador Arts Council, or to get involved, please contact Deja Douglas at (209) 256-8166, deja@amadorarts.org.

About the Amador Arts Council

Established in 1982, Amador Arts Council is a 501c3 non-profit organization with the mission to encourage, support, and promote the arts in Amador County schools and across the community. Amador Arts provides over $25,000 in scholarships and grants to local artists across disciplines annually, while supplying arts education to 100% of local elementary school students. With support from the California Arts Council, a state agency (arts.ca.gov), Amador Arts strives to promote the arts as a valuable part of everyday life for all citizens regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or financial status. For more information about Amador Arts activities, visit amadorarts.org or contact Deja Douglas at (209) 256-8166, deja@amadorarts.org.

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