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Arts education donations make a comeback on California's tax return form

Lydia Tseng, music director of the Prelude Program, tunes instruments for students before an Elemental Strings class at McKinley Elementary School in Santa Monica.
Lydia Tseng, music director of the Prelude Program, tunes instruments for students before an Elemental Strings class at McKinley Elementary School in Santa Monica. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Arts advocates are hoping a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Monday will give California arts education a boost. The law will allow Californians to make tax deductible donations to arts education.

Starting  in 2014, taxpayers can choose to make contributions of $1 or more via the "Keep Arts in Schools Fund," located in the voluntary contribution portion of the tax return form.

"This is wonderful news for California's young people," said Craig Watson, director of the California Arts Council, in a statement. "We hope all those who know arts education results in future success for California's children will take advantage of this opportunity."

Californians used to be able to contribute to arts education through the "Arts Council Fund," but that was eliminated when 2011 tax year contributions didn't reach a $250,000 required minimum. Watson said he hopes the new name would make a difference. 

Former state senator Curren Price originally authored Senate Bill 571, which makes the donations legal, but was taken over by State Senator Carol Liu after Price took a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

Tutorials on the new donation process will be available on the California Arts Council's website as tax season approaches next Spring.

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