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95 Organizations Throughout California Join in the California Festival, Nov 3-19, 2023

95 Organizations Throughout the State of California
Announce Programs Featuring Music Composed Within the Last Five Years
As They Join in The California Festival:
Two Weeks of Innovative and Compelling Music from Around the World,
November 3-19, 2023

LOS ANGELES (August 1, 2023)—The Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and San Francisco Symphony today announced that 95 organizations will participate in the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music, presenting some of the most innovative and compelling music from around the world for two weeks, November 3-19, 2023, in venues throughout the state. Announced in January 2023 and conceived by LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the California Festival highlights the collaborative and innovative spirit that thrives in California by inviting musical organizations of all kinds to incorporate works written within the past five years into their broader season programs.

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ACSO Guest Blog: US Space Force Song Finds Its Place in Independence Day Concerts

By Retired Major Brian Dix, US Marine Corps, and active conductor and composer from San Diego

In a delightful turn of events, this year's Independence Day concerts will feature a newly adopted song of the US Space Force, “Sempra Supra”. However, if your ensemble's performance of the "Armed Forces Service Song Medley" was arranged prior to September 2022, the music might be incomplete. Fear not, for a quick remedy awaits you.

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Lead by Example - A Call for ACSO Board Candidates

ACSO is seeking new board members to serve three-year terms beginning on October 1, 2023 OR beginning October 1, 2024. We are looking for individuals who are dedicated to guiding the organization’s growth, forward momentum, and leadership in the field and will help expand ACSO's capacity to serve its members.

You could be a great fit for ACSO if…

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Announcing the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music

California Festival: A Celebration of New Music
A Two-Week Statewide Festival Celebrating the Most Innovative and Compelling Music Composed Around the World in the Last Five Years
November 3-19, 2023

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is proud to be a partner of the California Festival.

On January 31, 2023, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony and San Francisco Symphony announced the launch of the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music. The two-week, statewide festival of music from around the world will showcase today’s most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of works written within the past five years. The California Festival was conceived by LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen as a festival that highlights the collaborative and innovative spirit that thrives in California. 

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CA Nonprofit Performing Arts Grant Program Opens July 13

The California Nonprofit Performing Arts Grant Program was created to provide grants to eligible nonprofit performing arts organizations (theater, dance, music, and other performance companies) to encourage workforce development. The Program includes $49.5M to be allocated in one or more rounds to eligible nonprofit performing arts organizations that meet certain criteria.

Grant moneys awarded under 
this Program shall only be
 used for the following:

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Advocacy Alert! Help Pass SB1116: The Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund

Our friends in the California theater community need our help. They have been working hard to pass SB1116 which establishes the Equitable Payroll Fund (EPF), a workforce development grant program designed to support Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations (SNPAO) with budgets under $2M - and workers directly - by providing substantial reimbursements of payroll expenses. 

This program will support jobs for anyone hired as an employee by a SNPAO, including both production and non-production employees and administrative staff, not unlike the Payroll Protection Program and similar Federal and State relief efforts.

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NEA Announces $205,000 in Grants to 8 ACSO Members

On May 18, 2022, for its second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2022, the National Endowment for the Arts recommended more than $91 million in recommended grants to organizations in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions. Eight ACSO members have been selected for grants, totaling $205,000 in funding (see list below). For the full announcement from the NEA, please click here.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

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If We Do One Thing During ACCM 2022, Let's Ask for $1 for the Arts

By Sarah Weber, ACSO Executive Director

Do you know that April was officially recognized by the California State Senate as Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month (ACCM) in 2019? Yes, we who work in orchestras and the performing arts can take the month of April to be extra loud and proud about how much our work matters to the diverse identities and well-being of our state and to share the heroic efforts we have gone to over the past few years (and are still going through) to keep making music as an act of service for and collaboration with our communities.

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ACSO and 6 of Our Members Receive Nearly $230,000 in California Arts Council Grants

On September 14, the California Arts Council (CAC) announced a revision to its previous grant award announcement for 2021, awarding more than $11.4 million across an additional 484 grants in project and operational support for nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state of California. The update more than doubles the original number of grants awarded, from 441 to 925, and nearly doubles its original award allocation for its first five programs for the 2020-21 fiscal year to $24,490,261.

The decision, approved by the Council at its meeting on August 25, was made in direct response to the arts and cultural field’s ongoing need for support amid the continuing economic threat spawned by the COVID-19 global health crisis. The CAC said its revised allocations accomplish a number of critical goals for the Council: funding hundreds of organizations with strong applications that originally went unfunded; significantly prioritizing funding for small, economically vulnerable organizations; increasing support for BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations; and protecting the diversity of the arts ecosystem across the state. See the full announcement here.

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Guest Blog: A Practical Arts Education

 Note from ACSO: The author of this blog, Julia Rael was ACSO's 2021-2022 Program and Membership Intern and her internship was generously supported by a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

By Julia Rael, ACSO Arts Administration Intern

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Advocacy Call to Action: Your Support Needed for $1 Billion Investment in CA Arts & Culture

ACSO is supporting our colleagues at Californians for the Arts by activating our membership network to join a coalition asking for a transformational $1 Billion investment from the state in the arts, culture, and creative industries and workforce through a series of grant programs from multiple state agencies including SBA, California Arts Council (CAC), and California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE). This investment will address rebuilding the arts and culture ecosystem through jobs recovery, capital improvements, workforce development, and community access to arts.

There are THREE actions you can take before April 28 to help us make some noise about this once-in-a-lifetime chance for California to invest in the arts!

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Lead By Example: A Call for ACSO Board Candidates

If you are a member of ACSO (as an individual or as part of your organization's membership), this is a call for you to directly participate in shaping the field by serving on ACSO’s Board of Directors.

ACSO looks to broaden our board representation by inviting new prospects who reflect our diverse and robust member network. We want to uncover passionate individuals at all career levels who could lend their talents, expertise, and unique viewpoints to ACSO’s Board over the next few years.

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New Resource Guide from the League of American Orchestras: Making the Case for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Orchestras

Developed by our colleagues at the League of American Orchestras and available at no cost to members and non-members of the League alikeMaking the Case for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Orchestras offers concrete answers and practical resources that orchestras can use to advance anti-racism and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at all levels of their organizations. Developed in collaboration with a team of peers—orchestra musicians, music directors, board members, and staff—this resource guide is intended to help the orchestra field take action to become more inclusive and welcoming of all people and all differences.
ACSO encourages our members and network to use this incredible free resource as you are navigating key questions around equity and making your case to take action for change. Click here to access the Guide.

Re-Opening the Arts Safely: How You Can Help by Being an Advocate

ACSO is part of a statewide task force, convened by Californians for the Arts, to advocate for re-opening the arts safely. This group is committed to working together in advocacy to educate the state on guidelines needed and sharing resources so that communities across California can begin to access the arts again and we can get back to work.

California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) is drafting outdoor live performance guidelines and looking at aligning live arts performances with movie theater reopening guidelines, but it is up to the California Department of Public Health to issue any guidelines.

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ACSO Celebrates October as National Arts & Humanities Month & Invites Members to Post Their Virtual Events

ACSO joins thousands of arts organizations and communities across the nation to recognize October as National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM). NAHM is coordinated by Americans for the Arts, the national organization working to empower communities with the resources and support necessary to provide access to all of the arts for all of the people. It is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of art and culture in America during the month of October, and was launched more than 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration with goals of:

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New ACSO Leadership Elected for 2020/21

At ACSO's Annual Meeting held at the 2020 Annual Conference Online on August 14, ACSO members elected five new board members and re-elected two renewing board members, welcomed new officers for 2020/21, and said farewell and thank you to several outgoing board members.

BOARD Officers for 2020/2021

Alice Sauro, President
Executive Director
Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera

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NEA Awards CARES Act Grants to 10 ACSO Member Orchestras

On July 1, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced federal grants of $50,000 each to support personnel and facilities costs for 63 orchestras nationwide, including 10 orchestras in the ACSO membership network, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress designated $75 million of funding for the NEA to administer within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020.

The Endowment's grant announcement describes the broad distribution of awards among small, medium, and large organizations, and across locations that are urban, rural, and in-between. Out of more than 3,100 eligible applications, available funding supports 855 grants. "All of us at the National Endowment for the Arts are keenly aware that arts organizations across the country are hurting, struggling, and trying to survive and that our supply of funding does not come close to meeting the demand for assistance," said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. "That said, I am enormously proud of the over-and-above efforts of the Arts Endowment staff to swiftly and professionally manage such a large amount of additional work in a relatively short period of time on behalf of the American public."

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Our Values and Commitment

At ACSO, we stand for equity and inclusion and against racism and injustice. We value the lives of the Black community, including the musicians, board and staff members, donors and supporters, and audiences within our membership network.

We value our members' ongoing work to bring music into the world that uplifts, unites, heals, and liberates. One such example is this incredible 130-member virtual performance by the Oakland Symphony of the classic Bill Withers song “Lean on Me.”

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NEA Announces CARES Act Funding Guidelines

On April 8, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its guidelines to swiftly distribute funding to nonprofit arts organizations from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

With the $75 million appropriated to the NEA through the CARES Act, the Arts Endowment will award 40% of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies by April 30 to distribute through their funding programs. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States. The deadline to apply directly to the NEA is April 22, 2020 with the earliest announcement of grant award or rejection by June 30. 

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Calling All ACSO Members to Participate in Virtual Arts Advocacy Day on April 15

Join ACSO and your art colleagues all around the state at Virtual Arts Advocacy Day on April 15, organized by Californians for the Arts, and raise your voice for the arts. Now more than ever we need to learn how to be effective and informed advocates to protect public funding for the arts.

A full day of activities has been planned or you can jump in and out of sessions as you like. ACSO Executive Director Sarah Weber will be participating in a panel at 11 AM called "Get to Know Your Statewide Advocacy Organization."

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