By Amy Kitchener, Executive Director
June 9, 2014

We’re excited to announce the call for proposals for ACTA’s 2015 Living Cultures Grants Program (LCGP) and Apprenticeship Program this month. There are several important changes to share. While we’re navigating some challenging terrain with reduced funding, we will be able to maintain a strong core of program offerings.

Movimiento Cultural de la Union Indígena is former Living Cultures grantee, receiving support for their Triqui Dreaming project; youth participated in a series of workshops in two areas of defining cultural traditions for Triqui migrants to California: weaving and music. The Triqui originate from a small region of Oaxaca, Mexico.the program funding has drastically decreased this year as the Irvine Foundation exited to pursue a new arts strategy. We are grateful to the Irvine Foundation for its decade of support of this program and ACTA’s core. After much planning and working to stabilize ACTA’s resource base, we have forged a strategy to maintain this vital statewide program, although at a reduced scale, in partnership with the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and the Surdna Foundation. In 2015, we intend to make 40 grants totaling $200,000.

During sessions of Banteay Srei’s SAUCE, program participants aged 14-19 are taught traditional food preparation by grandmothers, mothers, and other matriarchal community elders.significant changes this year. We’ve capped the organizational budget size at $250,000 in order to prioritize the burgeoning small budget and grassroots constituency in the state. While we recognize the vital role of mid-sized and large budget organizations, we also see that these organizations have more options for other potential funders to support them directly. Another change is that we are asking for a one-year waiting period for groups who have received three consecutive years of LCGP grants before reapplying. Three pathways of nurturing, sustaining, and engaging in traditional arts practice serve as a framework for supporting projects and activities to strengthen community-based traditional arts practice. It will also be important for applicants to share how a grant today can have long lasting impact into the future.

Development Program

After a twelve year run, ACTA will be retiring the Development Program as we work to restructure our available funding. During this time we supported nearly 200 contracts totaling $250,000 for consultancies, mentorships, and travel opportunities that fostered a new level of growth for individual folk & traditional artists and organizations in California. Our funding partners for this program included the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. We’ve brought forward the concepts of organizational and artistic development via mentorships and travel support into the new LCGP guidelines so we can continue funding these vital activities.

Expanding ACTA’s gatherings program – the Roundtable Series – is a way we can bolster networking, skill building, and art sharing opportunities which has been the foundation of ACTA’s San Francisco Bay Area program. Our first Los Angeles Roundtable will take place on July 17, 2014, at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center (details TBA).  Other locations slated for 2015/16 include: San Diego, Eastern Coachella Valley, Santa Ana, San Jose, and Humboldt County.

Flavio "Paps"Alarez (in blue) strives to instill Garifuna language and culture in a younger generation of Los Angeles-raised Garifuna-Americans.We plan to launch our apprenticeship giving campaign this month and invite you to join us in supporting this program. We are especially grateful to our individual donors, large and small, who have made this a powerful collective gift for the future practice of traditional expressions in California.

The ACTA staff and board and I remain dedicated to our focus on service to this field and we look forward to new collaborations and growth as we navigate these changes together. Please feel free to drop me a line anytime via email or give me a call at 559-237-9813. Thank you for all you do to make California a flourishing place for the folk and traditional arts.