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California Arts Council Launches Celebrity-Endorsed License Plate Campaign to Raise $40 Million


What better way to get you all revved up than with more license plate news? And maybe this time we aren’t even saying that facetiously. In order to try and raise money for arts programs in state where the government is deeply in the red, the California Arts Council has launched a program called the Million Plates Campaign. They’ve hired the famous pop art painter Wayne Thiebaud to design a new plate, which they’re hoping residents will switch over to from the old plates for $50 ($78 for personalized) and bring in $40 million or more by January to help cover their grants and educational programs. Both Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, the chair of the Arts Council, and her sort-of-brother-in-law (she married into the Shrivers, so it gets confusing), California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, spoke earlier this week on the 20th Century Fox Studios lot to help launch the campaign. Also speaking about license plates, strangely, were Quincy Jones and T. Bone Burnett. And who is going to help from here to get the word out? The official Arts Ambassadors, of course. Here’s a listing of them from Monday’s speech:

Billy Al Bengston, Wallis Annenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Chuck Arnoldi, John Baldessari, Amy Brenneman, T Bone Burnett, Dana Delany, Morgan Freeman, Frank Gehry, Tom Hanks, Anjelica Huston, Quincy Jones, Robert Redford, Catherine Wagner and Rita Wilson.

We had no idea license plates would become the hot trend du jour. Aren’t you glad we’ve been babbling on about them for years? And now that we’ve told you all about this, you’ll understand when Tom Hanks launches a 10-part series on HBO about plate design or you see Frank Gehry hanging around various DMVs.

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