At the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, we join our colleagues at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in excitement to share with you this year’s recipients of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions in Folk and Traditional Arts. Over the past year, ACTA has been honored to serve as the program administrator for these commissions, stewarding a rigorous grants process–including designing the application guidelines and criteria, as well as developing and facilitating the panel review process–on behalf of the Hewlett Foundation.
These awards represent the largest single infusion of support into the vibrant, yet underfunded, area of folk and traditional arts commissions.
At ACTA, we know these commissions will create important, lasting works of art, and we hope the Hewlett 50 Commissions in the Folk and Traditional Arts will inspire future investments in the field.
ACTA’s Executive Director, Amy Kitchener states, “The fact that Hewlett has recognized the potential of the folk and traditional arts and is commissioning ten awards of $150,000 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Foundation shows their commitment to honoring the broad and deep array of cultural expressions in the Bay Area performing arts community.” She continues, “The commissions themselves show the power of what can happen when the field is invited to dream big, without the typical financial limitations. Each of the lead artists in these awarded commissions reminds us of the future forward orientation of traditional artists, who, through everyday cultural expressions, innovate and imagine the future for their communities and beyond.”
Below, read the announcement and learn more about the newly awarded commissions:
The lead artists for this year’s projects are: Brazilian American capoeira master and teacher Marcia Treidler; African American blues and jazz vocalist The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol; Iranian singer and musician Mahsa Vahdat; Tibetan American musician, dancer, and Tibetan opera singer Tsering Wangmo; seventh-generation Nautanki opera performer, writer, director, and guru Devendra Sharma; Afro-Cuban choreographer Susana Arenas Pedroso; Ghanaian American choreographer and master drummer CK Ladzekpo; Cambodian American dancer/choreographer and culture bearer Charya Burt; Native American (Tongva/Acjachemen/Raramuri) artist L. Frank Manriquez; and composer and Vietnamese master traditional artist Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ.
This year’s commissioning organizations are: ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco, Art + Soul Oakland (dba Heart of the Town), Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music (dba Freight & Salvage), Chaksam-pa, Dance Brigade (aka Dance Mission Theater), Devendra Sharma Nautanki Folk Opera Ensemble (with fiscal sponsorship by CounterPulse), East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Musical Traditions, Queer Cultural Center, and Vietnamese American Nongovernmental Organization Network (VANGO).
More information about the commissions and presenting organizations is available on Hewlett’s website.