Frequently Asked Questions


Who can buy Arts Plates?

Anyone who has a currently registered California auto, truck, or trailer may order California Arts License Plates. Motorcycle plates are not yet available for Arts Plates.

What license plate types are available and how much do they cost?

Arts Plates have a special graphic design depicting an image designed by California artist Wayne Thiebaud. They are available in two different ways: sequential (random letters/numbers issued next in series of the plate configuration), or personalized (letters/numbers chosen by the purchaser).

Sequential Arts Plates cost $50 initial purchase/$40 annual renewal. Personalized Arts Plates cost $98 initial purchase/$78 annual renewal. (Prices are set by the Legislature and noted in California Vehicle Code §5074)

*Note: Arts Plates – including personalized Arts Plates -- can have two (2) to six (6) characters (numbers/letters). Seven numbers/letters are not permitted with this plate design.

Can I pay my annual renewal for my Arts Plate at artsplate.org?

Payment of the annual renewal fee for Arts Plates is not possible at ArtsPlate.org. Since there is no special and separate "renewal" bill for Arts Plates, it will appear on your regular vehicle registration notice from DMV as a line item. (If you itemize your deductions on your tax return, let your tax preparer know about this line item – it may be considered a charitable contribution for tax purposes.)

Vehicle registration renewals cannot be paid at artsplate.org, but may be paid for online at www.dmv.ca.gov.

What about other plate issues, like reassignments if I get a new car, or replacements if mine get damaged or stolen? Can I do that at ArtsPlate.org?

These actions – reassignments, replacements, conversions, etc. – can only be done through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Please see www.dmv.ca.gov for more information.

What is the refund policy for Sequential Arts plates?

The DMV does not allow refunds for sequential Arts plate purchases. If you decide to exchange your sequential Arts Plate for personalized plates, you can do so by contacting the DMV at 1-800-777-0133. There is a charge for this exchange and you will be responsible for the cost of the personalized plates.

I am in possession of an Arts Plate voucher card, how do I redeem it?

The Arts Plate voucher program has been suspended. Please contact the California Arts Council at ArtsPlate@arts.ca.gov if you have questions regarding the prior voucher card program. 

Where do the fees for Arts Plate go?

The fees collected for the Arts Council License Plates, minus the manufacturing and DMV administrative costs, support the California Arts Council for arts education and local arts programming. Approximately $35 of every new Arts Plate and $40 from Arts Plate renewals goes for this purpose. (*The remaining balance from the personalized plate fee goes into the Environmental License Plate Fund for environment-related purposes.)

I think the Arts Plate image is cool! Can I get a copy of the Arts Plate and put it on a t-shirt or coffee mug?

The Arts Council license plate logo is a registered piece of art (titled "Coastline") licensed to the California Arts Council and copyrighted by Wayne Thiebaud, acclaimed California artist. "Coastline" is only available for use by the DMV for Arts Plates and the California Arts Council to promote the Arts Plate. Other uses of the "Coastline" image are not permitted.

How long does it take to get Arts Plates? Do I need to go to the DMV to get them?

Sequential Arts Plates will be mailed directly to you at the address on your DMV vehicle record; you should receive them in approximately 4-6 weeks.

Personalized Arts Plates will take longer (up to 12 weeks); each plate pair must be single-produced because of the personalization. These plates are not mailed, but will be delivered to the DMV office location you selected at the time of purchase. Personalized plate owners will receive a postcard notification in the mail when their personalized Arts Plates are at the DMV office.

Can I transfer my personalized configuration from a regular personalized plate to an Arts Plate?

Yes, if the current configuration is between two and six digits. But we can't do this at ArtsPlate.org -- this action must be fulfilled by the DMV. Complete the Special Interest License Plate Application (PDF) indicating that you are requesting a conversion and submit to the DMV with the appropriate fee.

How do I get a replacement plate if mine is lost, stolen, or mutilated?

Replacement plates are handled by the DMV, not at ArtsPlate.org. Complete the Special Interest License Plate Application (PDF). If you have a sequential plate, you'll get a new plate number; personalized plates are different. If both front and back personalized plates are lost or stolen, the DMV will not reissue these plates for security reasons and you must make another personalized plate choice or order a sequential plate.

The substitute/duplicate fees vary by type of plate and are listed on the second page of the Special Interest License Plate Application.


If your question about Arts Plate vouchers wasn't answered by our FAQ, please e-mail us at ArtsPlate@arts.ca.gov.