December 21, 2017 | Stories

Onward and Upward for the Arts Council

Onward and Upward for the Arts Council

In the arts and culture community, there’s a lot more to the San Benito County Arts Council than meets the eye. 

Since Jennifer Laine, Executive Director, came on board in 2010, the organization, which is located on 240 Fifth St. in Hollister, has raised over $1 million in funding, opened two multidisciplinary art spaces, and advanced education in low-income families, veterans, students with disabilities and incarcerated youth. A key component to the organization’s success and its growth has been in finding different ways to achieve sustainability. 

For the last few years, the Arts Council has focused on expanding its outreach through new programs, partnerships, and facilities. With the guidance and aid of board members, staff, and volunteers, the Arts Council continues to move the organization into a state of sustainability by forward-thinking in areas such as diversity, quality, and accessibility. Founded in 2006 as a private nonprofit organization, the Arts Council continues to serve as the official State & Local Partner of the California Arts Council and has grown into a robust organization through additional strategic partnerships.

Here is what’s new at the Arts Council:

Creativity For Creatives
In fall of 2017 the Annex, an extension of the Arts Council, was launched to provide creative space for students, artists, and residents to engage in the arts. Located across the street from the organization’s HQ (ARTspace) at 217 Fifth St. in downtown Hollister, the new addition serves a multitude of creatives. “Think of the Annex as a place where creatives can meet, exhibit, or host a workshop, event or class,” said Laine.

Quick and Easy Funding
Often times, creatives that are involved in community groups have a great project in mind but are limited financially. The Arts Express! grants an opportunity for the Arts Council to support such projects with a quick and easy application process. The grant serves as a modest contribution to applicants who may be interested in hosting an exhibition, education program, or community outreach.

Changing Lives Through Art
Through a City of Hollister grant, this project continues to serve at-risk youth from the San Benito County Juvenile Hall and San Andreas Continuation High School. With the aid of dance, poetry, and collaborative muralism, youths can transform their lives through exposure to the arts. The program in 2017 expanded with the help of the California Arts Council’s JUMPsArts Program for youth in corrections. 

Hear How Art Helps Veterans
With the collaboration of San Benito High School, Community Media Access Partnership (CMAP), Voices of Witness, and BenitoLink, the Arts Council is continuing its effort to focus on community-based projects. The Veterans Voices project unites local veterans, cultivates self-expression, and provides a platform to communicate with the broader public.

Moving Onward!
As she was mentioning all of what the organization is currently working on, Laine had a moment of reflection and said, “I remember when the Community Foundation for San Benito County used to fund 75 percent of our operating cost, which was a great help as we got started. We were very small at the time. That’s no longer the case.”

 To learn more about the San Benito County Arts Council visit To stay connected follow them on Facebook.

The Annex 800Px