Transforming the Creative Economy

Fostering a Thriving Cultural Community

As a response to the challenging arts environment brought on by the Great Recession, the Foundation has focused on helping the sector transition to attract new audiences and meet the new economic reality. The way people experience the arts is also changing as our region continues to grow and become more diverse, requiring a fresh approach. How are traditional arts groups managing these changes? Are they being responsive to community interests? Are smaller, deeply rooted cultural arts groups thriving? Are traditional arts groups collaborating with smaller arts groups? What kind of help do they need? These are all questions that we will be answering as we work to Transform the Creative Economy.

Sacramento region talent was on display during the event.

The Foundation raised $40,000 at a fundraising performance to launch the Dennis Mangers Fund for Young Performing Artists.

Discover the Fund's poignant beginnings

We believe that by focusing on collaboration, board development, savvy fundraising, and the cultivation of new audiences, the creative sector will become even more vibrant, nimble and resilient. With the Foundation’s leadership in Transforming the Creative Economy, it will be crucial for arts organizations to innovate, diversify and build board capacity and develop new audiences to demonstrate their responsiveness to the needs of our evolving community. By emphasizing these factors, we believe our local cultural economy will continue to thrive, becoming a more vital reflection of this community’s uniqueness and preparing the sector for the next wave of changes inevitably facing our region.


  • Attendance at traditional arts performances is lagging, and significant barriers keep potential audiences from attending performances. Attendance at live performances in ballet, classical music, and opera has dropped collectively by 29% since 2002. Forty-seven percent of people say lack of time is the single greatest barrier to attending live performances.
  • Local arts education in public schools is underfunded, shrinking the pipeline for future audiences because research shows that adults who attended live performing arts as children were three to four times more likely to attend an arts activity as an adult. 


  • Encouraging collaboration between traditional and emerging arts groups
  • Growing future audiences — and artists! — by supporting early arts exposure in schools through local arts organizations
  • Build arts organizations’ marketing and stewardship capacities to ensure organizational stability


  • We granted nearly $120,000 from our Transforming the Creative Economy grant opportunity to support local arts programs that respond to the changing needs of the region’s creative community. The grants create new pipelines for the next arts audiences, donors, supporters, and leaders, strengthen the capacity of arts organizations, and foster new and innovative opportunities for arts exposure experiences.
  • Over 140 low-income youth in the Sacramento region received high-quality performing arts instruction as the result of five grants we awarded from our Dennis Mangers Fund for Young Performing Artists. These grants nurtured the talents of young performing artists from underserved communities in our community by providing them access to high-quality performing arts training and education. The $40,000 in initial funding for the program was raised at a performance celebrating the Fund and its namesake last year.


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