Arts Culture Action Marin!

If there’s a resounding truth in a world that keeps changing, it’s that the arts are not a charity. They are an investment.

Marin Cultural Center Executive SummaryWhile Marin County has always attracted artists of all disciplines, its creative sector is struggling due to high costs of living, declining philanthropic support, and a lack of coordinated leadership.

In September 2018, a Steering Committee made up of Marin community and business leaders launched the public planning process known as ARTS CULTURE ACTION MARIN!. Over the course of six months, thousands of Marin residents were engaged through interviews, surveys, and dozens of community forums aimed at identifying the community’s unique values, goals and priorities in the arts arena. 

The plan aimed to be thorough and data driven, including research that charted the size, shape and impact of Marin’s arts. An economic impact study from Americans for the Arts revealed that, in the year of 2018, Marin’s nonprofit arts generated $76 million dollars, contributing $2 million to local government revenue and $5.6 million to state revenue. The arts provided nearly 1,700 jobs, emphasizing the industry’s  integral role in the community.

Despite this input, however, Marin arts nonprofits increasingly face a choice between cutting programming or closing their doors. Diminishing performance and exhibit opportunities drive out remaining resident artists in search of affordable, arts-friendly communities. Marin’s low-income and minority communities, which have yet to be equitably reflected and served in the creative sector, face deepening challenges.

California has a State-mandated curriculum, but arts education in Marin County’s 18 public school districts varies widely, and in some cases, is virtually nonexistent. 

The future of the arts depends upon the decisions made now. The Coalition, determining that Marin can no longer afford to leave its endangers arts resources to chance, decided it was time to take action.

The Marin Cultural Association — a nonprofit under the umbrella of the MARIN DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL SERVICES — to obtain grant funding and employ the expert CULTURAL PLANNING GROUP to lead the development of a comprehensive arts and culture master plan for Marin.

This plan, formerly adopted by the Board of Supervisors on May 14, 2019, was built from community input. It establishes a list of short-term and long-term goals to be implemented over the next five to seven years. 

Link to final plans (pdf)