Investing in Carlsbad’s arts ecosystem

Richard Schultz
Cultural Arts Manager
City of Carlsbad

The City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts continues its investment in the arts with the latest round of Community Arts Grants focused on advancing Carlsbad’s arts ecosystem.  In the last ten years, Carlsbad has increased its support of the arts by 165%. Traditionally, the arts have been recognized as architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, music, performance (theatre, dance, etc.) and film. Yet, advertising, culinary, computer games, electronic publishing, and TV/radio are now also recognized as the lifeblood of the 21st century creative economy. In essence, all of these creative industries are defined as “businesses with creativity at their heart,” whether for-profit or nonprofit creative industries.  Ultimately, as displayed in the chart, it all begins with the artist with support and resources provided by the community in numerous roles to ultimately foster the art of creation in society.

For a thriving arts ecosystem, Cultural Arts acknowledges the need to encourage artistic activity at all levels: emerging, mid-sized and well-established entities. At the same time, a greater emphasis on reaching out to underrepresented groups to share their culture, vision and talents promises a more diverse and vital local arts community in the future.  Also, a commitment to the creative sector as an economic engine is essential.  Currently, to foster greater understanding of its economic impact, Cultural Arts is participating in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the Americans for the Arts’ sixth national study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry. Building on its 25-year legacy, the highly regarded Arts & Economic Prosperity® series will once again document in unprecedented scope and detail the economic power that the arts and culture wield in 400 participating communities representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia—communities ranging in geography (Alaska to Florida to Maine to Hawaii), population (1,400 to 4.7 million), and population density (rural to large urban).  Cultural Arts is coordinating efforts to survey audiences at city and local arts events. You may be asked to take the survey at an upcoming arts event; you’ll be contributing information to a national effort.  So, please say “yes.”

The current cycle of Community Arts Grants is open until March 20. These grants for FY2023-24 encourage, develop and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic, creative and cultural activity in the City of Carlsbad. The Cultural Arts Office manages funding programs to provide financial support to organizations, schools and individuals for various projects through a competitive application and review process. Designed to benefit the community through an array of arts experiences, the Community Arts Grants program was identified for continued and increasing support by the Carlsbad City Council through the 2018 Arts & Culture Master Plan. For information, visit

Finally, if you are interested in furthering Carlsbad’s arts ecosystem, you might consider joining the Business Outreach Committee, facilitated by the Carlsbad Arts Commission.  In collaboration with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, the recently revitalized Business Outreach Committee will foster greater dialogue and cooperation between the business and arts sectors.  If interested, just send me an email for more details at [email protected]