By Lily Kharrazi, Program Manager
March 9, 2016

Members of Grupo Folklorico Huaxyacac, folkloric dance group performing the regional dances of Oaxaca, Mexico.

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) is pleased to announce that it is awarding $200,000 in grants to California nonprofit organizations to support projects in folk and traditional arts through its Living Cultures Grants Program, now in its 11th year.  The annual funding program is available to nonprofit organizations and Native California tribes and supports art-making that demonstrates significant impact on a particular tradition.

Forty-one grants across the state represent community-based traditional arts reflecting the diversity of California’s populations.  Funded projects span all age groups in the learning and practice of traditional arts that include dance, music, material arts, foodways, indigenous knowledge, language revitalization, and storytelling.  Through weekly lessons, intensive workshops, concert presentations, cultural fairs, and documentation projects, this year’s cohort includes such projects as Iu-Mien embroidery in Sacramento, Mexican son jarocho music and dance workshops for day laborer communities in Los Angeles, Congolese dance and drum intensives in Oakland and East Palo Alto, and the documentation of the resourceful yucca plant used by Native California First Peoples, a project based in Riverside County.

Applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel of cultural and community experts over a three-day period, and the final grant selections were approved by ACTA’s board of directors.  ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.  ACTA is the California Arts Council’s statewide partner in serving the folk & traditional arts field.

“Investing in the continuity and innovation of cultural expressions is a vital way to foster a sense of belonging through participation in a cultural tradition,” noted Amy Kitchener, ACTA’s founding executive director.  The program is in its 11th year and has supported over 500 community-based projects totalling over $3 million.  “We are reaching into many corners of the state from Eastern Coachella Valley to the urban centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles,” continued Kitchener, “with small, strategic funding that makes a huge difference to our investment partners.  We see how participation in cultural art-making can lead to strong leadership, positive group identity, and expressions of great beauty which deeply impact individuals, families, and neighborhoods.”

Guest teachers from Puerto Rico, Rafael Maya and Pablo Luis Rivera teach Bomba posture, figures, and steps to the children of the Bomba y Plena Workshop. In this picture, they are dancing alongside Workshop Co-director (center) Hector Lugo. Workshop Co-Director Shefali Shah is in the background next to the barrel drums, working with the children on percussion elements.


2016 Grantees

Grants in the amount of $5,000 were awarded to:

Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Support for traditional Filipino artists to create new work

Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center
San Francisco, County of San Francisco
Funds will support traditional music instruction

Bay Area Youth Arts
Oakland, Alameda County
Workshops in percussion and performance for youth will be provided by a master artist

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention
Berkeley, Alameda County
Support for artist fees for performance and teaching at the annual event

Bomba y Plena Workshop
Oakland, Alameda County
Youth classes in the dance and music of Puerto Rico will be offered to ages 2-14

Cambodian American Resource Agency
San Jose, Santa Clara County
Khmer youth ensemble will mount a production of a folk tale through classical and folk dance and music

Chaksam-pa Tibetan Dance & Opera Company
El Cerrito, Alameda County
A recording project will bring master artists together to document and archive Gorshey, a traditional Tibetan circle dance

Comite Organizador de la Guelaguetza Popular Madera California
Madera, Madera County
Funds will support the teaching and learning of Oaxacan back strap weaving

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company
Oakland, Alameda County
Workshops, performances, community discussions with master artists take place during the annual Collages du Cultures Africaines conference, now in its 21st year

The yucca plant is the subject of a project of the Dorothy Ramon Center in Banning which will look at the many uses of the plant by Native peoples.

Dorothy Ramon Learning Center
Banning, Riverside County
The documentation of the versatile yucca plant by the Native tribes in the area will be published in a book in the spring of 2016

Fua Dia Congo
Oakland, Alameda and San Mateo Counties
Dance and music of the Congo will be taught in two different locations by master artists

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc.
Long Beach, County of Los Angeles
Funding will support the ongoing culture and language classes to promote and preserve what UNESCO has recognized as an endangered cultural treasure of humankind

Grupo Folklorico Huaxyacac
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Funds will be used to purchase traditional clothing for this performing group that promotes Oaxacan regional dance and music

Hmong Association of Long Beach, Inc.
Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Support for the weekly Qeej Not Gangs program promotes the learning of Hmong traditional arts and culture

Holistic Honu Wellness Center
Berkeley, Alameda County
Intensive workshops with a master artist and culture-bearer in the art of Hawaiian bark cloth, or kapa, will provide instruction and context

INCA, the Peruvian Music & Dance Ensemble
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Workshops and concerts for youth will be held in public libraries throughout the year

Iu-Mien Community Services
Sacramento, Sacramento County
Funding will provide a year of instruction in traditional Iu-Mien embroidery providing youth an opportunity to learn from elders

Japanese Cultural Fair
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County
Traditional artists and ensembles will participate in the festival, now in its 30th year

A close up of a traditional Iu-Mien headwrap show an example of the embroidery that will be taught during their year-long, intergenerational workshop series, supported in part by ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program.

Karen Organization of San Diego
San Diego, San Diego County
Support will fund the teaching of traditional dance and weaving of the Karen people of Burma

Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Funds will support the creation and purchase of new costumes for the ensemble

Khaley Adouna African Drum & Dance
Oakland, Alameda County
Funds will support a series of dance workshops with a Senegalese master artist

KlezCalifornia, Inc.
Berkeley, Alameda County
Support for their annual Yiddish Culture Festival

Laotian-American Community of Fresno
Fresno, Fresno County
Support for traditional and social Lao dance for youth

Little Manila Foundation
Stockton, San Joaquin County
Classes for youth in kulintang music, the regional music of Mindanao, Philippines

Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance
Berkeley, Alameda County
An annual workshop series focusing on Polynesian dance and music brings together master artists and students

Many Lightings Legacy Center, Inc.
Fresno, Fresno County
Mono basketry workshops will teach gathering and weaving techniques by established weavers

Mexica’yotl Indo-Cultural Center
San Diego, San Diego County
Purchases of drums and regalia will augment the teaching of Aztec cultural practices

Network of Myanmar American Association: NetMAA
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
Funds will support dance lessons for youth with culture bearers

Kumu Liko Puha, (far left wearing the green leaf lei) will teach Hawaiian cultural arts as part of the Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance's Living Cultures Grants Program project this year. He is seen here with some of last year’s participants of the Kapili workshops.

North American Guqin Association
Fremont, Alameda County
Performances and events will mark the 100th birthday of guqin master Zha Fuxi

Oaxaca Tierra del Sol
Windsor, Sonoma County
Support for La Guelaguetza, a traditional Oaxacan cultural festival

Pasadena Community Job Center
Pasadena, Los Angeles County
The day laborer community will learn son jarocho verse writing and participate in fandango workshops

Rara Tou Limen Haitian Dance Company
Oakland, Alameda County
Funds will support a four-day festival of Haitian arts and culture

Sama Sama Cooperative
Berkeley, Alameda County
A summer intensive for Pilipino youth will emphasize traditional arts and language

Teatro de la Tierra
Fresno, Fresno County
Music lessons for youth will focus on Mexican traditional, folklore, and popular Latino styles

Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras
Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles
Funding will support storytelling and performances of Mexican and Central American folk tales

Teatro Vision de San Jose
San Jose, Santa Clara County
Performances of a play based on the book and film Macario will be supported, as well as panel discussions on hunger

Tejidos Purepecha
Mecca, Riverside County
Support for weekly Purepecha embroidery classes for an intergenerational community

Veretski Pass
Berkeley, Alameda County
Funding supports the recording of Polish-Jewish repertoire with live concerts and discussion

Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles
Funding will support equipment upgrades needed for the teaching and producing of Japanese ceramic arts

Watsonville Taiko Group
Watsonville, Santa Cruz County
New performing attire will be created and purchased

Yuva Bharati
Palo Alto, Santa Clara County
Support for over 50 programs of Indian classical music broadcast via community access television and internet

Veretski Pass musicians are, left to right, Joshua Horowitz, Cookie Segelstein, and Stuart Brotman.  A Living Cultures grant will support the recording of Polish-Jewish repertoire with live concerts and discussion throughout the year.

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