ACTA brings more than 20 years of experience working closely with cultural communities and organizations across California and nationally. We collaborate with partners and clients in the areas of cultural asset mapping, program design and curation, research and evaluation, technical assistance, and more.

Direct consulting and collaboration inquiries to Executive Director Amy Kitchener at akitch@actaonline.org.


We use an asset-based approach to engage with communities that recognizes their inherent strengths, values their wisdom, and prioritizes their self-identified needs. We have worked for a wide range of partners and funders to accomplish this work including grantmakers, local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, arts service organizations, arts presenters and venues, academic researchers, and fellow consultants.

Every consulting engagement is customized.

We collaborate with each of our clients to tailor our approach to their unique needs and context. While much of our work has been in California, we are increasingly working with clients from around the country to implement successful strategies and programs in their local communities. 

We have a particular expertise in the following services:

Participatory Cultural Asset Mapping

Adiba Fannana interviewing musician Umney Hossain at Bangladesh Academy of Los Angeles as part of a cultural asset mapping project. Photo: Jeny Amaya.

ACTA can identify, support, and mobilize existing cultural resources within a community in order to achieve a shared vision of collective well-being. We’ve developed a participatory method of engagement to create maps of the people, places, organizations, events, characteristics and ideas that serve as vital resources to a community. Many clients find this work to be a valuable first step engaging with a new community of color or historically marginalized community, in order to better understand and build relationships with community members. 

Current and former clients include the California Endowment, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, 18th Street Arts Center, and the Delta Regional Authority in the eight-state region surrounding the lower Mississippi river. 

Program development and curation, capacity building, and technical assistance

ACTA leads a Grassroots Fundraising workshop for the California Arts Council.

We can provide training and guidance to individual organizations as well as cohorts of grantees around leadership development, fundraising, grant-writing, communications, financial sustainability, program management, and cultural equity. Our staff excel at developing or curating curricula and delivering workshops, webinars, facilitated discussions, and executive coaching. We are particularly adept at creating productive learning environments for small and mid-sized organizations and leaders of color and those rooted in historically marginalized communities. 

Current and former clients include the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, ArtChangeUS, the  Community Leadership Project and the California Arts Council

Ethnographic research and qualitative evaluation

ACTA staff documenting the work of master Bulgarian/Romani musician Rumen Shopov in Berkeley, CA.

We can design, conduct and/or advise on research and evaluation studies that incorporate observation of, and/or interactions with, a target population in their own environment. Our staff includes trained ethnographers and evaluators with a deep and nuanced understanding of how to engage with communities in a sensitive, non-exploitative, empowering way. Clients often bring ACTA to the table when researching culturally-specific communities. 

Current and former clients include the WolfBrown consulting firm and the James Irvine Foundation.  

Our staff expertise is deep and broad.

We have many staff members available to share their expertise and lead consulting engagements, including:

Amy Kitchener co-founded ACTA and brings 20+ years of experience as a public folklorist to lead asset mapping projects, ethnographic research designs, and leadership development.

 

Julián Antonio Carrillo is a program manager and Ph.D. candidate in anthropology who often leads capacity building and technical assistance engagements.

 

Quetzal Flores is a longtime cultural organizer who leads projects that center traditional arts methodologies in the pursuit of social cohesion and wellbeing.

 

Jennifer Joy Jameson is a program manager and media director with a Master’s in folk studies who leads program development and curation as well as technical assistance engagements.

 

Lily Kharrazi holds an Master’s in Dance Ethnology and contributes her decades-long experience in program design and implementation, evaluation, and technical assistance.

 

Betty Marín is a program coordinator and language-justice advocate with an M.F.A. in Social Practice who leads Cultural Asset Mapping projects around community health. 

 

Shweta Saraswat holds a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance and specializes in multimedia storytelling focusing on cultural production among diasporic communities.

 

Jasmin Temblador is a program coordinator with an Master’s in Cultural Sustainability who works closely with populations served by our Arts and Corrections and Reentry Through the Arts programs.

 

Learn more about our expertise on our staff page.

 

Contact us for more information

We are open to short term and longer-term/multi-year consulting engagements and happy to collaborate with our clients on joint grant proposals or fee-for-service contracts.

If you are interested in hiring ACTA for a potential consulting engagement, please contact Executive Director Amy Kitchener at akitch@actaonline.org.

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ACTA's Work

Learn about ACTA's core programs which provide funding and support to artists and organizations across California, as well as our consulting and collaboration opportunities that serve the traditional arts field at the local, state, and national level.

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