An arts council is a government or private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts mainly by funding local artists, awarding prizes, and organizing events. The Fresno Arts Council is the official agency of the City and County of Fresno that is tasked to promote the arts industry and enrich our community’s way of life through the arts.
Our Mission and History
The Fresno Arts Council (FAC) is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1979 under the name of the “Alliance for the Arts” by local artists, arts organizations and interested individuals who wished to create a voice for the arts in the Central San Joaquin Valley.
Our mission is to “enrich peoples lives through the arts.” Our purpose is to foster an arts community that recognizes and honors the contributions of its citizens to the arts; advocate to city, county, state and national institutions on issues of concern to valley artists; collaborate with community leaders, businesses, corporations, foundations and other arts organizations to bring artists and audiences together.
The FAC’s first grant came from the California Arts Council (CAC) in 1980 and was designated to provide technical and administrative assistance to various arts groups in Fresno County. Within a year its purpose expanded to sponsor and encourage cultural education and creative activities as well as serve as the umbrella unit for all county arts organizations in such areas as legislation, education, and community awareness of the arts.
In addition, it coordinated and disseminated information concerning the arts. Beginning in 1991, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the FAC hired folklorist, Amy Kitchener who developed our program of folk arts locally and created performances and exhibits with cultural communities. The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) was formed under our guidance as its own organization under the leadership of Kitchener.
In the mid-1990’s Fresno passed the Arts to Zoo, a measure collecting .001% of sales tax for cultural organizations. The money was distributed for a year and a half before the tax was declared illegal. In 1998 the remaining money was given to the FAC and the Fresno Regional Foundation for distribution. FAC redistributes the funds annually to arts and cultural organizations through a competitive process with the last distribution cycle being completed in 2010.