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Today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported Chair Nathan Fletcher and Vice Chair Nora Vargas’ ordinance to establish a new 13-member San Diego County Arts and Culture Commission. After today’s vote, both Supervisors issued a statement:   

“We are uplifting the voice of our region’s arts and culture community by creating this new Arts and Culture Commission,” said Chair Fletcher. “The Commission will give us the ability to help create more access to the arts for disadvantaged communities, prioritize the role arts and culture play in the growth of our region, and bring more funding for programming.”     

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors supported Chair Fletcher and Vice Chair Vargas’ policy to “Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture,” which directed staff to explore how to expand and uplift arts and culture in the county, including through the creation of a commission. 

“With today’s unanimous vote we’re elevating arts and culture in San Diego County and building healthier, stronger, and more equitable communities,” said Vice Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Establishing this commission that centers diverse representation in Arts and Culture is critical to ensuring the creation of opportunities for new artists and organizations from communities of color that historically have faced systemic barriers. Thanks to my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for their support of this new commission.”

The ordinance will require a second reading, which will occur at the June 28, 2022 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Details about the Arts and Culture Commission

Each Supervisor will be able to appoint two members to the Commission.  The County’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will appoint three youth (age 16-24). The CAO has also already allocated funding in the upcoming budget to support a full time staff position to help advance the actions of the Commission.     

The duties of the Commission reflects feedback from the community and include: 

  • Study and evaluate equity in access to arts and culture in the region.
  • Promote equity in access to arts and culture in the region. 
  • Conduct workshops for County personnel and community groups to explore specific subject areas and improve relationships.
  • Conduct public hearings dealing with matters before the Commission.
  • Prepare and disseminate information on matters related to the arts community.
  • Provide liaison and assistance to citizen groups interested in the problems facing the arts community.
  • Apply for and administer grants from all levels of government and private sources for carrying out the functions of the Commission.


The County of San Diego had a Public Arts Advisory Council (PAAC) in the 1980s, but in 1993 amid budget cuts the Board of Supervisors eliminated the PAAC, which left the County ineligible for some state and federal arts and culture grants. This resource gap led to a decrease in funding for organizations and public art in our communities. Until today’s action, San Diego County was the largest county in California, and one of only four counties, without a dedicated regional arts agency.