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About Penny for the Arts and

the City budget cuts

When Mayor Faulconer released his proposed budget for 2018, he had decimated the budget for the Commission for Arts and Culture. The Commission contracts with over 130 Cultural and Arts groups throughout the city to deliver programs and activities.

Here is how the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) reported this cut. (Full report here)

$4.7 Million has been reduced from the Penny for the Arts Budget (Ongoing) reducing it from $15.1 to $10.4 million, a decrease of 31.3%. This funding has been redirected to provide support for General Fund expenditures related to safety and maintenance of visitor-related services. However, this reduction to Arts will impact funding for numerous arts and cultural programs. The Mayor has proposed this as an ongoing reduction. Funding for either maintaining or increasing this program in FY 2018 was a top budget priority for a majority of the Council in the Council’s FY 2018 Budget Priorities Resolution.

The IBA references "Penny for the Arts". This is an unfunded promise by the City to deliver reliable funding. Some information from the 2012 report to City Council is included below. (Full report here

Funding for the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture (Commission) contributes significantly to the City of San Diego's (City's) economic growth through returns on investment in the areas of economic development, job growth, cultural tourism, attraction and retention of businesses, and the renovation and creation of valuable art and civic assets.


Arts and culture are the "soul" of our City and they support our quality of life, benefit diverse communities and neighborhoods and make our City vibrant. Increasing the Commission's funding by approving the recommendations presented herein comprising the Penny for the Arts Five-Year Blueprint (Blueprint) will greatly increase the positive impact that the Commission's myriad programs have on the financial well-being of the City.

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