San Benito County organizations awarded $140K arts grants

San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections and Costanoan Indian Research Inc. were among 23 organizations throughout the Central Coast to have been awarded $140,000 grants to partner with an artist over a 12-month period to create an arts engagement initiative.

The San Benito County Arts Council, Arts Council for Monterey County, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, San Luis Obispo County Arts Council, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, and Ventura County Arts Council announced that the organizations have been selected for the Central Coast Creative Corps (CCCC) Program, a pilot grant program funded by the California Arts Council. 

Each grantee will receive $140,000 to work with an artist for one year to address one of four areas: climate impact, public health, civic engagement and social justice.

Grantees were selected by a panel of Central Coast artists and community leaders who represented all six geographic regions with funding going toward organizations that serve and represent the region’s most under-served communities, as indicated by the California Healthy Places Index (HPI). Panelists also ranked applicants based on a range of organizational missions, program objectives and unique approaches to artistic collaboration.

Central Coast Creative Corps Community Partner grantees include: Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley; the Coastal Watershed Council; Housing Matters; Esperanza Community Farms; Safe Ag Safe Schools; The Village Project, Inc.; El Sistema USA/Salinas, Inc; Costanoan Indian Research Inc.; San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections; Lumina Alliance; RACE Matters SLO County; Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP); Nyeland Promise; LULAC Colonia Council; Lucha Inc.; County of Ventura; Santa Paula Latino Town Hall; Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council; Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, Inc. (CHCCC); Family Service Agency; Freedom 4 Youth; Awakening Giantz; and Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center. 

All grantees are based in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the San Benito County Arts Council to find the most creative approach to increase civic engagement,” San Benito County Registrar of Voters Francisco Diaz said.

The San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections was one of two local organizations to receive $140,000 grants from the Central Coast Creative Corps Program.

Grant funds will be used for one year from September 2023 to August 2024. Of the funding award, $100,000 will go directly to the artist for their work on the campaign; with $20,000 allocated for artist-community relations, supplies and materials, and other costs incurred for production and/or implementation; and $20,000 for the organization for program administration.

“Working with the Central Coast partners has been an absolute privilege, and we are pleased to see so many applicants from the region and specifically from San Benito County,” said Jennifer Laine, executive director of the San Benito County Arts Council. “Our goal has been to make sure that these funds are accessible to first-time grantees, small budget organizations and organizations that are new to arts and culture, across the region. As one of six county partners, we also wanted to ensure that we represent the needs and priorities in San Benito County. We are excited that two projects from San Benito County were chosen by the panel, and we look forward to working closely with the San Benito County Elections Department and Costanoan Indian Research Inc. on this innovative pilot program.”

CalFire offers July 4 safety tips

With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, state fire officials are stressing the dangers and consequences of using illegal fireworks. 

This Fourth of July, residents are advised to celebrate responsibly, and protect the community by preventing fires and injuries caused by fireworks, says a press release from CAL Fire. “Before you think about buying fireworks for your celebration, make sure they are permitted where you live,” says the release.

In San Benito County, only fireworks purchased at seasonal fundraising booths in select locations are permitted, and only during the holiday period leading up to July 4, according to authorities. 

Fireworks purchased out-of-state are illegal in California without a license. Those seeking the excitement of fireworks can let the experts handle the show. 

“With fireworks causing over $25 million dollars in property loss in 2022, preventing fires and injuries caused by fireworks begins with you” said Chief Daniel Berlant, Acting California State Fire Marshal. “Don’t be the reason your Fourth of July holiday goes up in smoke.” 

If Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in your area and you choose to use them, the following safety tips are recommended: 

– Never use illegal fireworks. 

– Make sure the firework has the State Fire Marshal “Safe and Sane” seal on it. 

– Make sure the “Safe and Sane” firework is purchased from a licensed fireworks booth. 

– Never allow young children to use or handle fireworks. 

– Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol. 

– Never hold a lit firework in your hands. 

– Never light fireworks indoors. 

– Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable materials. 

– Never point or throw fireworks at another person or animal. 

– Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. 

– Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for an extended time before discarding. 

– Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire. 

To learn more about fireworks safety, visit

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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