California State Parks and partners launched ‘Arts in California Parks’ to pair nature with art 


California State Parks, Parks California and California Arts Council have launched ‘Arts in California Parks’ to create events and programs throughout state parks for the next four years.

“We’re excited to be leading the local park grants program,” said Myrian Solis Coronel, director of community engagement at Parks California. “Which is going to be supporting projects in local parks so that communities can feel a sense of connection and place when they visit these places.”

This program received a $25 million general fund allowance that will support the artists, art projects and programs throughout the state. The goal is to have opportunities for the public and artists to participate in the program and engage with art in nature.

“We really felt strongly that the arts was a way to reach communities where they are and to have programs that bring the art aspects of their communities into the parks and the places so that that becomes a new experience for them or they feel more welcome and comfortable because they can relate to what is happening there,” said Leslie Hartzell, the cultural resources division chief at California State Parks. 

The vision for these art programs can include painting, poetry, and dance events. It is open for artists and community organizations to pitch ideas that seem relevant to the communities within their area. The parks are open to suggestions and collaboration.

They’re looking for California artists to pitch programs that could be hosted in parks. Opportunities for creatives and communities to collaborate with parks on funded projects will be announced next year.

“What we want to do is bring people together, bring a stronger connection to nature so that they can be a lifelong connection to the outdoors,” Solis Coronel said. “We know that has a lifelong impact on people’s health, emotional health and well-being. And if experiences like this can be the beginning of a journey, I mean, we’re just really excited to be a part of that.”

There’s a current call for artists on the Arts in California Parks website. For those who aren’t artists, organizers want you to take part in a survey of what you would like to see in the program, this is also available on their website.