A Letter from Master Artists


ACTA - Posted on 27 November 2013

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Master artist Juana Gomez (left) with her daughter and 2012 apprentice Johanna Gomez.  Johanna studied Oaxacan traditional medicine so that she could continue her mother’s work as a community healer.Dear Friends of the Traditional Arts in California:

We are writing to ask you to support the continuation of vital cultural traditions in California.  Since 1998, nearly 500 Master Artists and Apprentices in 46 counties have been supported by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA).

By funding intimate and intensive learning opportunities of cultural traditions, we are building a new California together -- one that respects cultural diversity, a multiplicity of languages, and the creation of beautiful art that is one of the foundations of what makes a vibrant, healthy, and tolerant society.

ACTA is proud of its sixteen-year history of support across California's cultural geographic landscape to further transmission in Native American basketry; African-American quilts; Indian Bharata Natyam and Kathak dance; Western saddle making; Chinese percussion; Native Hawaiian kahiko hula chant and dance; Pilipino Kulintang music; and Chicano murals, to mention just a few.  You can learn more about ACTA's history of support according to location, cultural community, and art form here: http://www.actaonline.org/content/find-artists-communities.

Within the past five years, decreased funding has forced ACTA to reduce the number of annual awards for the Apprenticeship Program.  We want to change this and with support from you, we will be able to maintain at least 17 teams this year continuing the work of invaluable cultural transmission.

Join us and other Traditional Artists, families, and friends in donating $10 or more to support two Master-Apprentice teams in 2014.  We must raise $8,000 to support the two projects and required program expenses.  To make your tax deductible donation to this campaign, go to: visit our Indiegogo page or mail a check to ACTA's Fresno office (1245 Van Ness Ave., Fresno, CA 93721).

Please help us raise additional funds by passing this message on to your family, friends, and colleagues.

Thank you.

California Master Artist Danny Kalanduyan
California Master Artist Juana Gomez
California Apprentice Latanya Tigner

 

Master artist Danny Kalanduyan (right) and his 2013 apprentice Conrad Benedicto.  Danny, a NEA National Heritage Fellow, is sharing with Conrad his vast knowledge of the Filipino music form of Kulintang.Being a California Master Artist in 2013 was an opportunity to pass on to Apprentice Conrad Benedicto the knowledge I possessed on traditional Kulintang music ensemble of the Maguindanaon people of Southern Philippines.  In turn, Mr. Benedicto passes on the musical knowledge he learned from me to his students at Balboa High School (in San Francisco).  With the support of ACTA, we traditional artists in California are given the opportunity to disseminate our traditional arts in the community.
     ~ Danny  Kalanduyan

Apprentice Latanya Tigner (left) with her 2009 master artist Shaka Zulu.  Latanya was taught the history and purpose of Mukudji, or West African stilt dancing, and the role of the Nyon Kwuyo, or stilt dancer.El Programa de Aprendices me ayudo a acercarme más a mi hija. Tuve la oportunidad de contarle mi experiencia  sobre herbolaria medicinal como aprendiz de mi abuelita y mama. Gracias a este programa se creó un lazo más fuerte de confianza y amor entre las dos. Esta es una de las muchas razones por las que yo apoyo para que este programa siga adelante y las tradiciones no mueran. // The Apprenticeship Program helped me get much closer to my daughter. I had the opportunity to share with her my experience studying herbal medicine as an apprentice with my grandmother and mother. Thanks to this program, a new strong bond of trust and love has developed between us. This is one of the many reasons I support this program to move forward, so that the traditions do not die.
     ~ Juana Gomez

I had the pleasure of twice benefiting from ACTA's Apprenticeship Program, once in 2009 with master stilt dancer Shaka Zulu and in 2013 with master Congolese ngoma player Kiazi Malonga.  These apprenticeships enabled me to delve deeper into African dance and music traditions that have called on my spirit for several years.  In both cases, I received the kind of one-on-one training, guidance, nurturing and feedback necessary to advance with integrity in these traditions usually dominated by men.  I thank ACTA for making these ever so important in-depth learning opportunities available to communities of people whose cultural traditions are at risk of dying out before our very eyes.
     ~ Latanya D. Tigner

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