November 20, 2023

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), the Administering Organization for the California Arts Council’s Folk and Traditional Arts Grant Program, is awarding 98 grants totaling $850,000. It’s the largest group of grantees in the history of ACTA’s Living Cultures Grant Program

This year’s cohort invited individual artists and culture bearers for the first time, after previously focusing funding only on organizations and community groups. With the generous support of the California Arts Council, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, 50 individual artists and culture bearers will receive $5,000, and 48 organizations and community groups will receive $12,500 in all regions of the state.

Our 2023 cohort represents a tapestry of cultural communities and artistic traditions woven throughout California, from Siskiyou to San Diego. We’re proud to promote them all: the ecological knowledge of Big Valley Rancheria in upstate Lake County, Triqui textiles in Monterey County, Lao language and dance in Fresno County, West African Malinke music in San Bernardino County, and many more. Look out for more details on each grantee on our website and social media later this year and beyond!

Culture through Cloth: Elder artisan Lu Lee and textile artist Pachia Lucy Vang share Lu's handcrafted, traditional textiles, which she's made for over 60 years. Photo: Pachia Lucy Vang.

Introducing the 2023 grantees. Congratulations!

Please browse the full list of 98 grantees below by clicking the region name to toggle your view.

Steph Rue forming a sheet of hanji (Korean paper) at the vat. Sacramento, California. Photo: Daniel Yu.

(Counties: Alpine, El Dorado, Sacramento, Solano, Yolo)


Steph Rue, Professional Hanji Studio
Hanji (Korean Paper) and Related Paper Arts

Culture through Cloth, Paj Ntaub Circles
Paj Ntaub “Flower Cloth” of the HMong

(Counties: Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Ventura)


Indigenous Community Initiatives and Tribal Youth Program at Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Acorn Conference and Gathering
Indigenous Californian Acorn Baskets, Gathering, and Cooking


Benita Martínez Sosa, Creating a Web Page to Promote Zapotec Textile Art and Demonstration
Zapotec Textile Arts/Weaving


Linda Yamane (Rumsen Ohlone), Rumsen Ohlone Dance & Regalia
Ohlone Dance Regalia & Basketry


Fund for Resource Conservation, Sparking the Flint and Weaving With the Land: Chumash Material Arts
Chumash Weaving and Flintwork

Hilario Lugo: Engraving a portrait of legendary actress Maria Felix, wearing Day of the Dead makeup. Photo: Nico Lugo.

(Counties: Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne)


Choummaly Keodara, Lao Culture Dance
Traditional Lao Dance and Folk Songs

Another Level Training Academy, Braiders Academy
African American Hair Braiding

Lao Community Cultural Center of Fresno, Lao Cultural Classes
Lao Language, Dance, and Music

Teatro de la Tierra, Cancionero del Pueblo / People’s Songbook
Latin American Nueva Canción / Nuevo Canto


Hilario Lugo, Engraving Focused on Day of the Dead, Mexica Imagery, and Lowrider Culture
Automotive and Motorcycle Hand Engraving


Comité Guelaguetza Madera, Guelaguetza Madera 2023
Guelaguetza (Oaxacan Dance, Traditions, Music and Cuisine)


Hmong Cultural Preservation, The Hmong Culture Education and Practice Project
Hmong Clothing, Songs, Dance, Wedding and Funeral Process


Janeen Johnson, “From Whence I Came: Expressions of Congo”
Congolese Dance and Culture Oral History Project


Border Patrol Curatorial Collective (Elizabeth Spavento), R.I.P. Residency Featuring Indigenous Artists from el Pueblo San Pablo Tijaltepec
Traditional Music and Embroidery of el Pueblo San Pablo Tijaltepec


Jennifer D. Bates (Northern Sierra Mewuk), Traditional Acorn Cooking Tools
Cooking Mewuk Nupa (Acorn Soup)

(Counties: Imperial, San Diego)

El Cajon

Kumeyaay Community College, Kumeyaay Community College Summer Solstice Week
Kumeyaay Foods, Plant Knowledge, Storytelling, Cosmology

San Diego

Alyce Smith Cooper, Equity Through Generational Storytelling
African-American Storytelling and Poetry

Berenice Badillo, Mural in Chican@ Park 2024
Chican@ Muralism

Bernard Barros Ellorin, Teaching Kulintang Music for Dances of the Southern Philippines
Kulintang Music of the Southern Philippines (Mindanao and Sulu)

Claudia Pacheco: To the left Claudia “Ce Coatl” Pacheco opening up the four directions by blowing on the Atecocoli/Seashell in Riverside, CA. Photo: Community Settlement Association Riverside (CSA).

(Counties: Riverside, San Bernardino)


Ruben Gonzalez, Training Youth to Create 3D Sculptures at Ruben’s Ranch
Foam and Cement Sculptures Replicating Aztec and Maya Civilizations

CULTURAS MUSIC & ARTS, Festival del Rebozo
Purépecha Rebozos; Paper Flowers; Ojos de Dios; Traditional Mexican Foods


Claudia Pacheco, Azteka Cultural Camps
Danza Azteca/Mexica

San Bernardino

Makeda Kumasi, Pan-African Performance Art
West African Malinke Music, Movement, and Oral Arts

The Garcia Center for the Arts/San Bernardino Valley Concert Association, Afro-Latino Celebration
Afro-Oaxacan Dance, Music, Food, Woodcarving, Printmaking, and Muxe Art


Terry Nguyen, Preservation and Transmission of Tsugaru Shamisen Traditions
Japanese Tsugaru Shamisen

KOHO: Obon Odori dance instructor Aaron Lum carries his seven-year-old son Kazuhito Jue on his shoulders while dancing during KOHO’s BonPop Obon in San Francisco’s Japantown Peace Plaza. Photo: Juliana Yamada/KQED.

(County: San Francisco)

Eddy Navia, “Bridging Traditions: Uniting Indigenous Instruments, Music, and Dances from the Carnivals of Bolivia and the Andes with a Contemporary Orchestra”
Sikus and Charango (Andean Musical Instruments)

Kim Acebo Arteche, Subli
Subli (Religious Folk Dance of the Tagalog Peoples from Batangas, Philippines)

Kim Requesto, Pangalay Circle
Workshop Series on Dances of the Southern Philippines: Igal of the Sama, Pamansak of the Yakan, and Pangalay of the Ta’u Sug

Winnie Wong, “General’s Aria | Emotion’s Passage in War”
Chinese Guzheng

Afro Urban Society, Afro Urban Society Website Project
Multidisciplinary Black Creative Practices / Arts

Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center, Workshop Series: Vietnamese Opera and Southern Vietnamese Folk Music
Vietnamese Opera and Folk Music

Chavalos de Aqui y Alla, “Paseo Masaya” and “El Güegüense”
Marimba; Folklore Dancing from Masaya, Nicaragua; and El Güegüense (Traditional Nicaraguan Satirical Play)

Fogo Na Roupa, Sparks of Fogo Kids and Youth Program
Afro-Brazilian Music and Dance; Bay Area Street Dance and Music

Kalingafornia Laga, Culture Keeping from Mabilong to the Bay
Laga (Indigenous Backstrap Weaving from the Kalinga Province in the Northern Philippines)

KOHO Japantown SF, BonPOP: Japantown’s Community Obon Festival
Japanese Obon Odori and Minyo (traditional dance and folk songs)

Marigold Project, Inc, Day of the Dead Festival of Altars
Indigenous Latinx Day of the Dead Traditions

Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, ‘Ūniki Program
Hula and Traditional Hawaiian Culture

Puri Arts, Pungmul Gut on Land: Farming Ritual on Land
Korean Pungmul (folk music); Chuseok and Dano Celebrations / Workshops

Bay Area Bomba y Plena: A child passionately dances Bomba, conversing with the lead drummer, at a student showcase. Photo: Monika Aldarondo Lugo.

(Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma)


Faye Carol, “Blues, Baroque, and Bars”
Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Funk, Classical, Chamber Music, Spoken Word, Hip-Hop

Bay Area Bomba y Plena Workshop, Bay Area Children and Youth Bomba y Plena Workshop
Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena (traditional music and dance)

Cunamacué, “Huellas”
Afro-Peruvian Dance Theater; Son de los Diablos Dance and Percussion

Krudas Cubensi y DJ Leydis, “Festival Cubahia. Feminismo y afrocubania. ¡Desde Cuba hasta la Bahía!” [“Cubahia Festival. Feminism and Afrocubanism. ¡From Cuba to the Bay!]
Afro-Cuban Music, Dance, and Orality; Hip Hop

Mahea Uchiyama Center For International Dance, African American Mbira Project
Mbira (Musical Culture Conceptualized by the Shona People of Zimbabwe)


Patricia A. Montgomery, African-American Historical Swing Coats
African-American Quilting


Ousseynou Kouyaté, West African Folk Traditions
Storytelling, Song, and Specialized Dance of the Senegambia Region

Menlo Park

Eszterlanc Hungarian Folk Ensemble, Hungarian Spring Customs Performance Project
Hungarian Folk Dance and Music


Ethnic Ties (Acacia WoodsChan), Intergenerational Testimonies within Cultural Histories
Oral Histories of Black Oakland, Chinatown, Fruitvale, and the East Bay

Einar “Tito” Leliebre Nuñez, “La Rumba Me Llama: Rumba Afro-Cubana”
Afro-Cuban Folkloric Music, including Rumba

Francis Kofi Akotuah, Acquiring Traditional Instruments and Regalia from Ghana
Musical Cultures of Southern Ghana

Kai Delgado Pfeifer, Filipinx Food as Medicine
Filipinx Food Traditions and Rituals

Kiazi Malonga, Free Ngoma and Percussion Series for San Francisco Bay Area Youth
Central African Dance and Drum

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, “Desert Wind and Strings: In Honor of Musicians Held in Japanese American Prison Camps Who Performed Traditional Music”
Traditional Japanese Music and Dance

Nimely Pan African Dance Company, Poro Project
West and Central African Dance and Song

Purple Silk Music Education Foundation (PSMEF), “Honor Our Elders: Music for Community Healing and Resilience”
Cantonese Opera

Palo Alto

Sruti Sarathy, “Songs for Many Lives: A Carnatic Diaspora Songbook”
South Indian Carnatic Music

Swara Lahari of Yuva Bharati, Promoting Classical Indian Music in USA—Music in the Park
Classical Indian Music

Redwood City

Virada Chatikul (VC Tang), Martial Blessings
Thai Martial Blessing Dances

San Bruno

Eric Solano, “Adhika”
Documenting Filipino Indigenous Knowledge

San Jose

PJ Hirabayashi,“Ei Ja Nai Ka—Isn’t it Good?”
Archiving Japanese Taiko (traditional percussion)

Calpulli Tonelequeh, 25th Annual Mexica New Year, 19th Annual Día de los Muertos, and 11th Annual Un-Thanksgiving Sunrise Ceremonies
Aztec Dance, Music, and Altars and traditions of California Native Tribes

Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe of San Jose at Cambodian American Resource Agency, Khmer New Year 2024 Festival
Cambodian Music and Dance

Celebration Nation Inc., Cultura Triqui (Greenfield, Monterey Co.)
Triqui Clothing and Textile Arts

Ho Chan Ensemble, “50 Years of Remembering”
Cambodian Music and Dance

San Pablo

Chaksam-pa, Training and Mentoring Young Artists on Tibetan Opera Skills
Tibetan Opera

San Rafael

Swapan Chaudhuri, North Indian Tabla Master
North Indian Classical Music

Santa Rosa

Latinos Unidos del Condado de Sonoma, Supporting Yolotl Ballet Folklorico Workshops and Performances
Mexican Ballet Folklorico


Jesus Bravo Alva, “Ancestral Sounds of Mesoamerica”
Mexica Cultural and Visual Art and Music Workshops

(Counties: Los Angeles & Orange)

Tataviam Land Conservancy: Chumash legend Alan Salazar and crew practicing for channel crossing in the traditional Tomol canoe on August 28th, 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Tataviam Land Conservancy.


Frank Fairfield, Californio String Band Music on Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar and Bajo-Sexto
Southwestern Californio String Band Music

Long Beach

Hmong Association of Long Beach, Inc., “Qeej Not Gangs” Cultural Arts Program
Hmong Qeej, Embroidery, and Kwv Txhiaj

Los Angeles

Catherine Scott, Abrete kutu güiridinga! “Listen up and hear my words!”
Palo Briyumba Plant / Herbal Practice, Foodways, and Material Culture

Gino Gamboa, Cajones de la Guardia Vieja
Cajon Percussion and Luthiery

Jeniffer Sanchez, Beading and Regalia Making Classes in the Tradition of Danza Azteca
Danza Azteca

Jesus Martinez, “The Breakfast Table Sessions”
Recording Latino Musical Traditions

Melieka Fathi, Highlighting the Artistic and Socio-Political Elements of Iranian Dance in the Diaspora
Iranian Dance

Mythili Prakash, “She’s Auspicious”
Documentation of South Indian Bharatanatyam

FilAm Arts, Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC)
Indigenous Filipino Music and Dance

Centro Cultural Techantit, La Conmemoracion del Genocidio de 1932, La Feria de Recursos Para Familias Indígenas / Earth Day 2024, and Festival de Musica Ancestral 2024 [The Commeration of the 1932 Genocide, Resource Fair for Indigenous Families/ Earth Day 2024, Ancestral Music Festival 2024]
Central American Indigenous Song, Music, Dance, Visual / Mural Design, and Poetry

Del Harrison, “Del’s Juke Joint”
The Juke Joint (African-American variety show featuring comedy, live music, poetry, and storytelling)

Extra Ancestral, Extra Ancestral and the African Diaspora through Music and Dance
Music and Dance from West Africa, Cuba, and Brazil

Generaciones en Acción, “Si te RIES, GOZAS” Gratitud y Risoterapia Theatre Play
Latino Popular Theater

Mariachi Plaza Festival Foundation, 34th Annual Mariachi Festival and Feast of Santa Cecilia
Mexican Mariachi Music

Son Del Sereno, “Sembrando Amapolas: Music, Culture & Community of Son Jarocho in California”
Mexican Son Jarocho

Sonido del Colibrí, Sonido del Colibrí Presents “Martina Camargo: Afro-Colombian Tambora in LA”
Colombian Afro-Indigenous Tambora Music

Meleika Fathi: The Melieka Fathi Dance Co.’s dance film “Mahanegar,” created in collaboration with Farhang Foundation. Photography by Mehdi Rostami. Melieka is in the center.

North Hollywood

Nadia Calmet, Afro Peruvian Culture Day
Afro-Peruvian Art, Music, Dance, History, and Traditions

San Fernando

Mary Alfaro Velasco, Bolero Album
Latinx Bolero Music and the Trío Romántico Tradition

Tataviam Land Conservancy, Revitalizing the Art of Tomol Building
Chumash and Tataviam Canoe-Building

Santa Ana

Reaksmey “Mea” Lath, Preserving Cambodian Classical Dance in SoCal
Cambodian Classical Dance

Santa Monica

Ronaldo Lage Ignacio, Capoeira Classes for Low-income Children and Families
Afro-Brazilian Capoeira

Thousand Oaks

Chumash Indian Museum, ʼałʼaleqweł Workshop Series: Chumash Traditional Arts and Crafts
Chumash Flintknapping, Shell Arts, Basket Weaving, Tule Construction, Art with Natural Pigments, and Stone Carving

(Counties: Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yuba)


Rabbi Naomi Steinberg, Documentation of Six Original Tales in the Jewish Mystical Tradition
Storytelling in the Jewish Mystical Tradition


Brenda Montaño, La Cerrada: Sustaining Traditional Postpartum Care for Indigenous and Mexican Communities
Traditional Mexican Medicine and Birth Work


Trinity Patton (Hayfork Wintu), Traditional Gathering
Hayfork Wintu Basketry / Materials Preparation


Big Valley Rancheria, Big Valley, BA- GO- GA Elders Vegetable and Medicine Garden
Big Valley Rancheria Tribal Foodways, Ecological Knowledge and Cultural Landscapes; Bahtssal (Eastern Pomo Language)


Katie Bowie (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Katie’s Wzhetonen (Creations) & Cultural Revitalization Workshops
Hupa, Yurok, Wiyot & Bear River Regalia


Marjan Vahdat, “Home is Where My Voice Is”
Persian Traditional Singing


Hmong Hayfork New Year, Hmong Hayfork New Year Celebration
Hmong Dance, Song, Language, Ceremony, and Cuisine

Wintu Educational & Cultural Council of Northern California, Inc., Native American Traditional Arts
Wintu Traditional Knowledge, Crafts, Language and Life Ways

Afro Urban Society: Left to right: Philip Mays, Kanukai Chigamba, Ebonie Barnett, Uzo Nwankpa, Moses Omolade, five varied gendered, and varied shades of brown members of Gbedu Town Radio Ensemble in a posed photo shoot for the The Mixtape of The Dead & Gone photo series. Photo: Ashley Ross.

The Living Cultures Grant is a program of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) and is generously supported by the California Arts Council, a state agency, with additional support from William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.


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