January 27, 2017

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) is pleased to announce that it is awarding $208,000 in grants to California nonprofit organizations to support projects in folk and traditional arts through its Living Cultures Grants Program, now in its 12th year. The annual funding program is available to nonprofit organizations and Native California tribes to support art making that demonstrates significant impact on a particular tradition.

Forty-two 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 creating Tongan bark cloth in Orange County, Iu-Mien embroidery in Sacramento, Mexican mariachi instruction for youth in San Bernardino, African-Brazilian performance in Berkeley, Serbian dance in San Diego, and workshops with African dance and music masters in Oakland.

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.

The Living Cultures Grants Program is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation, with additional support provided by the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and The San Francisco Foundation. ACTA is the California Arts Council’s statewide partner in serving the folk & traditional arts field.

“California has been ahead of the national profile in terms of its diversity. We are home to the largest Native American population as well as many immigrant and refugee populations who join with long standing American families of diverse origins,” commented Amy Kitchener, ACTA’s Executive Director. “Investments in traditional arts practices underscore inherent strengths of these communities,” she adds, “not only because the expressions are meaningful but because participating in these practices can create connection and belonging particularly in times of heated rhetoric that can undermine the safety of some of California’s citizens.”

The program has supported over 550 community-based projects with over $3.2 million in 50 counties.

“We are reaching into many corners of the state from Del Norte to the urban centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles,” continues Kitchener, “with small, strategic funding that makes a huge difference to our grantees. We see how participation in cultural art making can lead to strong leadership, positive group identity, and expressions of great beauty which benefit all citizens.”

The following California organizations located by county will receive $5,000 Living Cultures awards:

Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center (San Francisco): Music education for youth.

Banteay Srei (Alameda): Intergenerational foodways and storytelling.

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (Alameda): Support for workshops and artist fees.

BrasArte (Alameda): Month-long festival and folkloric performance honoring Afro-Brazilian culture.

California Indian Basketweavers Association (Yolo): Support for twelve demonstrations of technique and cultural knowledge by Native basket weavers at the 2017 annual gathering.

Calpulli Tonalehqueh (Santa Clara): Support for the 18th annual observance of Aztec/Mexica New Year.

Cheza Nami (Contra Costa): Support for a free one-day event, Taste of Africa Festival.

CubaCaribe (San Francisco): Support for 13th annual festival of dance and music.

Dance Group XoroTroptzi (Los Angeles): Repertoire development and annual concert.

DelinaDream Productions (Alameda): Editing and dissemination of documentary video project on role of African dance in lives of women artists.

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company (Alameda): Support for 22nd annual festival Collages du Cultures Africaines.

Esperanza del Valle (Monterey): Purchase of men’s traditional dress for performance.

Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation (Los Angeles): The Before Columbus Festival will celebrate the cultures of the Tongva and other Native American residents of Southern CA.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya (Alameda): Support for learning of regional Balinese songs to enhance language use.

Great Leap, Inc. (Los Angeles): Support for FandangObon workshops and events.

Hmong Association of Long Beach, Inc. (Los Angeles):  Support for intergenerational workshops for Hmong traditional arts.

Hungarian Folk Singing Circle/Népadlkör (San Francisco): Hungarian folk music teaching will expand to locations in the North and South Bay.

Iu-Mien Community Services (Sacramento): Classes will continue to teach the traditional women’s art of reverse embroidery to an intergenerational group.

Japanese Cultural Fair (Santa Cruz): Support for traditional artists to participate in the 31st annual event.

Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center (Kern): Support for Go Native!, a public event featuring over 40 Native CA culture-bearers interacting with the public.

Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts (Los Angeles): Repertoire development for the stage based upon research done in the Philippines.

KlezCalifornia, Inc. (Alameda): Support for a series of klezmer jams with established and beginning musicians.

Little Manila Foundation (San Joaquin): Kulintang lessons will continue for youth to adults.

Living the Tradition (Mendocino): Support for Drone Magic festival and workshops.

Los Diablos de Nuu Yuku (Fresno): Funds will support a one-day gathering of Statewide Diablo dancers for cultural and social exchange.

Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance (Alameda): Support for the two-day Kapil’i Polynesian Dance and Music Workshop.

Manilatown Heritage Foundation (San Francisco): Free community kulintang music and dance classes.

Maqueos Music (Los Angeles): Support for an all-female woodwinds ensemble to encourage youth to learn Oaxacan repertoire.

Mexciayotl Indio Cultural Center (San Diego): Support for a danza azteca symposium for culture bearers and practitioners.

Morava Folklore Ensemble (San Diego): Purchases of regional Serbian traditional dress for the dance company.

Oaxaca Tierra del Sol (Sonoma): Support for annual Guelaguetza festival.

Omnira Institute (Alameda): Support for activities for Black History month, Juneteenth and the Black Eye Peas Festival.

Pacific Islander Health Partnership (Orange): Workshops to learn bark cloth traditions of the Tonga involving intergenerational women.

Parangal Dance Company (San Mateo): Purchases of traditional dress from indigenous people of Panay of the Philippines to enhance company’s repertoire.

Regional Organization of Oaxaca (Los Angeles): Support for a youth Guelaguetza for children ages 4-12.

Senderos (Santa Cruz): Support for free folklórico dance lessons and free Oaxacan music classes for area youth.

Sinfonia Mexicana (San Bernardino): Support for mariachi music academy for over 100 students.

Teatro Visión (Santa Clara): Chicano theater classes for youth.

The Tolowa Nee-dash Society (Del Norte): Dance house repairs will ensure continuity of cultural activities.

The William Grant Still Arts Center (Los Angeles): Funds will be used to document and archive four decades of the annual Black Doll Show.

Ventura County Arts Council (Ventura): Classes and workshops to teach Zapotec weaving to immigrant communities in Oxnard.

Watsonville Taiko Group (Santa Cruz): Purchases of new katsugi okedo taiko drums.

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