Agency Overview

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies, the Arts Commission supports a statewide arts network. The agency is governed by a 15-member Governor-appointed Commission and a professional staff, grounded in the arts. Our staff includes practicing artists, skilled administrators and education specialists who serve in local and national arts leadership roles.

We receive and administer funds from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts and direct this funding to programs that contribute to the growth and stabilization of the arts, enhance student learning, nurture and develop artists’ craft and skills, preserve the rich traditions of Arizona communities, and encourage participation by residents of all ages and abilities.

Through the Arts Commission, the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts make strategic investments of public dollars to support our state’s arts industry, helping Arizona communities to attract and retain skilled workers and creative businesses. This public investment leverages additional contributions from the private sector, increasing the sustainability of Arizona’s arts and culture industry and thereby promoting statewide economic growth.

All grants and awards from the Arts Commission are made in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, American Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.


Following the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965, funding was provided to all state governments to form a state arts entity. Funding was to be used to survey existing facilities, organizations and individuals engaged in the arts in each state. Governor Samuel P. Goddard established the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Humanities as a state council by executive order on January 24, 1966. The 28th Arizona Legislature passed Senate Bill 139, establishing the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Humanities as a permanent state agency, and Governor Jack Williams signed the bill on March 13, 1967.

The Arts Commission became the official agency of the State of Arizona “to stimulate and encourage public interest in the cultural resources, through the study and presentation of the performing arts and fine arts, to ensure that their role in the life of our communities will continue to grow and will play an even more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our citizens.” In 1982, Governor Bruce Babbitt signed enabling legislation continuing the agency to 1992, and changing its name to the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Again in 1992, the State Legislature and Governor Fife Symington reinstated the agency until 2002. In 2001, the Auditor General’s office conducted a nine-month Sunset Audit. The following year, the State Legislature reauthorized the agency until 2012. On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2265 into law, reauthorizing the Arizona Commission on the Arts for another 10 years.

Download History of the Arts Commission to read more about Arizona Commission on the Arts’ history and programmatic highlights.