Portantino Receives 2024 Art Star Award From California Arts Advocates


This week, California Arts Advocates and California for the Arts honored Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) with the 2024 Legislative Art Star Award. The award was presented to the Senator in Sacramento in recognition of his leadership on SB 1116, the Equitable Payroll Fund and for being a long time champion of the arts community.

“In California, we have a creative and innovated economy that must be nurtured and supported,” stated Senator Portantino. “Our local community theaters suffered from the COVID-19 shutdown impact and I was determined to help them keep their curtains up. In so many towns and cities, our local theaters introduce young people to the arts and launch opportunities for excellent careers. Investment in the arts helps all generations and demographics and that’s why I was proud to have collaborated to bolster this important sector of our economy. I extend my deepest appreciation to arts advocates across our state who work hard every day to protect arts funding, perform, and entertain us and I am humbled to receive this recognition.”

SB 116 was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2022. It established the Equitable Payroll Fund (EPF), a grant program designed to support live performances – and workers –by providing substantial reimbursements of payroll expenses. The program includes both production and non-production employees and administrative staff. Last year’s budget negotiated by Senator Portantino included $11.5 million to fund this program.

“Senator Portantino has been a consistent and passionate advocate for arts and culture throughout his tenure in the California State Legislature. When he saw a problem in the performing arts and the need for investment, he stepped up and authored a bill to support the sector. And not only did he ensure its passage, he also ensured funding for it. We applaud his dedication to arts and culture,” stated Julie Baker, CEO Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates.

California Arts Advocates (CAA) provides advocacy services for California’s arts community. Founded in 1996 as a statewide advocacy organization by leaders in the arts field, the CAA has been the collaborative force behind the battle to protect arts funding in California, as well as the successful passage of several bills that return arts programs to schools and laws that positively impact the arts.

CAA is a sister organization to Californians for the Arts, is a nonprofit that helps promote awareness of the arts and provides programs and services to make advocating for the arts easier than ever.

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