SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — A committee of arts advocates, leaders of non-profit arts organizations, creative business owners, and concerned individuals this week announced a non-partisan campaign, called Arts in the California Governor’s Race, to raise public awareness and inform the 2010 gubernatorial candidates about the significance of California’s creative industries in fueling the world’s 8th largest economy (Legislative Analyst’s Office, Cal Facts 2006).

“Despite being the home of hundreds of thousands of artists, world-renowned symphonies, operas, theatres and museums, and even though we are the global center of popular film, California has fallen to 50th nationwide in per-capita funding for the arts and cultural policy initiatives,” said Brad Erickson, president of California Arts Advocates and co-chair of the steering committee, “that is why we created this campaign.”

California’s economy is fueled by its creative industries, including both for-profit and non-profit creative businesses and organizations. Art galleries, individual artists, writers, and performers in California earned over $12 billion in 2008, while photography, music, book, and record store sales totaled over $3.2 billion according to the Creative Vitality Index, an economic development tool developed by the Western States Arts Federation. While the billions of dollars in film industry revenues is common knowledge, foreign sales of motion-picture and video products totaled over $10.4 billion just a few years ago, a number that continues to rise. In addition, California’s non-profit arts sector alone generates $5.4 billion in total economic impact each year, creating 66,000 full-time and 95,000 part-time jobs, and returning $300 million in state and local taxes.

The goal of the Arts in the California Governor’s Race campaign is to educate both the public and the 2010 gubernatorial candidates about the important roles of quality public education, non-profit public/private partnerships, and small business in ensuring a robust creative economy. The campaign will work closely with gubernatorial campaign managers to brief each candidate about California’s creative sector. The campaign will also encourage each of the candidates to prepare a public statement indicating her or his awareness of the creative industries and commitment to ensuring California regains its competitive economic edge when the next governor takes office.

Through its newly launched website and a field activist, the steering committee of Arts in the California Governor’s Race is currently working in communities throughout the state to educate voters about the important role of the creative industries in ensuring that students thrive, communities succeed, and that California’s economy flourishes.

“This campaign is an exciting new effort to help bridge the gap between the arts and politics, both in this gubernatorial race as well as the future. The campaign will strengthen the California’s broad arts communities and show our local and state representatives that we are an important constituency,” said Michael Alexander, current member of the California Arts Council.