Youth Speaks, in partnership with California Arts Council, awards $740,000 to Northern California Artists through the Individual Artist Fellowship

San Francisco, CA [November 3, 2023] – After receiving nearly 1,000 applications from artists, culture bearers, and cultural workers throughout Northern California, Youth Speaks is excited to announce the final grantees of the Individual Artist Fellowship program for the 2023 year in partnership with the California Arts Council.

Through extensive outreach to 35 Northern California counties, Youth Speaks administered an application, review process, and now announces 48 Grantees of unrestricted funding who are now part of Youth Speaks’ professional development program for this region. 

“We designed a rigorous selection process centering equity, inclusion, and enlisted the support of over a dozen external reviewers from across California. While we were only able to award 48 grantees, we acknowledge and give gratitude to the hundreds of deserving artists and culture bearers whose impact is woven into the rich tapestry and legacy of arts and culture in California.” said Kat Evasco, Program Director of Narrative and Applied Stories at Youth Speaks.

With few opportunities for individual artists to apply for funding, and even fewer for their achievements to be recognized, the California Arts Council has created this program as a way to celebrate the state’s artists and culture bearers. The Individual Artists Fellowship (IAF) program recognizes, uplifts and celebrates the excellence of California artists and culture bearers practicing any art form with unrestricted grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

This program is intended to support a broad spectrum of artists working in all disciplines, from diverse geographies and communities of all sizes across California.

In total, $740,000 was awarded across 16 counties. Among the 48 Grantees; 20 Emerging Artists are awarded $5,000 each, 19 Established Artists are awarded $10,000 each, and 9 Legacy Artists are awarded $50,000 each. 

Youth Speaks was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, adding more than $2.8 million across 48 grants “Even as we spread the word for our 2023 program offerings, we are thrilled to shine a light and celebrate California’s arts workforce with one last funding announcement for 2022,” said California Arts Council Director Jonathan Moscone. “We are deeply grateful for Governor Newsom and the Legislature’s overwhelming investment in our agency’s work to ensure an equitably supported arts sector.”

Altogether, the projected sum of grants awarded for 2022’s funding cycle is more than $145 million—by far the biggest annual investment in California Arts Council history.

To view listings of all California Arts Council grantees for the final round of 2022, visit this link


 Youth Speaks creates spaces that challenge young people to develop and amplify their voices as creators of social change. By providing free arts education to youth with limited access, Youth Speaks programs empower young people with opportunities to discover and develop their own voices. As the leading literary arts and spoken word organization, Youth Speaks has served hundreds of thousands of youth in the Bay Area and across the nation over the last 26 years. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Consuelo Montoya, Chair; Vicki Estrada, Vice Chair; Gerald Clarke; Caleb Duarte; Ellen Gavin; Leah Goodwin; Alex Israel; Phil Mercado; Roxanne Messina Captor; Nicola Miner; and Olivia Raynor. Learn more at