Master artist Peter de Guzman and his apprentice Jasmine Orpilla demonstrate Philippine pangalay dance at a 2019 Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event in Leimert Park. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2019.
Traditional Arts Roundtable Series
Sharing practices and resources for a more sustainable arts field
Since 2008, our Traditional Arts Roundtable Series(TARS) has been designed to strengthen intercultural traditional arts networks and to offer opportunities for traditional and tradition-based artists and arts advocates to learn from one another through dialogue, technical assistance, networking, and sharing of community-based arts and culture.
Organized into curated seasons, often in direct collaboration with partnering organizations across our California communities, each season of TARS anchors a common region or theme, or centers particular needs of the larger field of cultural practitioners and grassroots organizations holding up these valuable forms.
The Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) is a statewide program series produced by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Browse San Francisco and Los Angeles seasons below.
2021 – 2022
JUNE 30, 2022
Art Breaks In: The Regenerative Power of Traditional Arts in Prisons On Zoom | 3 – 4:30 PM PST
Join us on Zoom, Thursday, June 30, at 3 pm PST, for a roundtable to hear stories, and engage with the curriculum designed by teaching artists in our Arts in Corrections program, including Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Freddy Avila, Fabian Debora, Quetzal Flores, Betty Marín, and Federico Zuñiga, and participate in a dialogue on the regenerative power of traditional arts practice within and beyond prison walls. This event is bilingual in English and Spanish.
“It is not just the difficult work of surviving, but also the act of healing and thriving.” —Dr. Fui Niumeitolu
“The transition of our grandparents [elders] is important for us because in this moment they are our guides, our support, and our strength. We transform the physical loss of a loved one into a spiritual support for us.” —Haydee Sanchez, Centro Cultural Techantit
During the pandemic, there has been a great amount of loss in our cultural communities across California. In ACTA’s latest Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event on December 9, 2021, we convened a group of cultural leaders representing these communities to share about our diverse traditional and cultural practices, grieving and mourning rituals, and how they allow us to process loss in a meaningful way. This event featured Quechan and Kumeyaay elder Preston Arrow-weed, Altaristas Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens of Tonalli Studio, Haydee Sanchez of Techantit Cultural Center, Wanda Ravernell of the Omnira Institute, Melody Takata of GenRyu Arts, and was facilitated by Tongan/Pacific Islander scholar and community organizer Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu. The presentations affirmed the many connections between the practices of our distinct communities and were a crucial reminder of the need to come together during this time to support our continued healing and growth.
In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the roundtable online in English or Spanish.
Online Roundtables Addressing COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACTA has offered several free online events for artists and arts organizations focusing on relief funds and recovery aid available to those affected by COVID-19. View recordings of these online roundtables below:
June 24, 2020
Navegando el Desempleo Durante Covid-19 Para Artistas
Acompaña a la Alianza para las Artes Tradicionales en California (ACTA, por sus siglas en inglés) en otra de sus mesas redondas enfocadas en las artes tradicionales, “Traditional Arts Roundtable Series.” Veronica Lopez, de la organización Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), presentará en español sobre el Seguro de Desempleo para contratistas independientes, trabajadorxs autónomxs (freelancers) y artistas, incluyendo sobre el nuevo programa “Asistencia de Desempleo por la Pandemia” (PUA, por sus siglas en inglés) diseñado especialmente para trabajadorxs independientes (self-employed). Veronica nos ayudará a navegar los requisitos de elegibilidad, el proceso de solicitud y contestará tus preguntas. ¡Esta sesión es para artistas cuyo principal ingreso proviene del trabajo que genera una forma “1099” del IRS!
May 29, 2020
Navigating Unemployment for Artists during COVID-19
Veronica Lopez from Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) presents on Unemployment Insurance for independent contractors, freelancers, and artists, including the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program tailored for self-employed workers. Veronica walks us through eligibility requirements, the application process, and spends time answering your questions. Artists and self-employed workers whose primary income is “1099” independent contractor work, this one is for you!
April 16, 2020
National COVID-19 Funding Opportunities for Arts Organizations
This digital roundtable brings together Cliff Murphy, Folk and Traditional Arts Director, and Jen Hughes, Director of Design and Creative Placemaking, at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and Ethan Zatko a consultant at Fiscal Management for Non-profits (FMA) to share about national resources available to nonprofits in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Cliff and Jen share about and answer questions regarding the CARES Act funding available through the NEA, and Ethan speaks about the federal Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and nonprofits.
ACTA has relaunched its Bay Area sessions with Cur’Arte: A Traditional Arts Roundtable Series.Cur’Arte is a take on the Spanish word curarte or“to heal(you).” Our term highlights arte, orart, to emphasize the health benefits that the arts offer to creators, participants, and audiences. ACTA has been at the forefront of studies, discussions, and practices centered on the many roles that traditional arts play at the intersection of community and public health. We are eager to deepen and highlight these contributions in an emerging field in the Bay Area through this series of free roundtable sessions that will take place in different venues in San Francisco. Cur’Arte is generously supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
San Francisco TARS Contact: Julián Antonio Carrillo, Program Manager San Francisco Field Office | email@example.com | (415) 346-5200
Note: all in-person events are cancelled due to COVID-19
All in-person events have been postponed due to public health concerns surrounding COVID-19. We will update this page with more information as it becomes available.
Past San Francisco Events
Embodying Tradition as Health Practice
January 18, 2020 | 1 – 3 PM at Theatre of Yugen
What can traditional arts practices tell us about different ways of approaching health and wellbeing? This inaugural session of ACTA’s 2020 Cur’Arte roundtable season in San Francisco included art sharing and collective conversation about how traditional Japanese theater, Aloha ʻĀina, and Mongolian Bii Bielgee contribute to individual and community health in the Bay Area.
SaludArte: Building Health Equity on the Bedrock of Traditional Arts and Culture
On February 27, ACTA had the pleasure of launching our newest publication, “SaludArte: Building Healthy Communities on the Bedrock of Traditional Arts and Culture,” at Casa del Mexicano in the heart of Boyle Heights as part of our Traditional Arts Roundtable Series in Los Angeles. ACTA’s Building Healthy Communities artist fellows and collaborators Ofelia Esparza, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Omar Ramirez, Juana Mena, Cesar Castro, Martha Gonzalez, and Vaneza Calderon took the floor with ACTA Executive Director Amy Kitchener, Program Manager Quetzal Flores, and Program Manager Betty Marín to share heartfelt reflections on their experience applying traditional arts methodologies toward community organizing in Boyle Heights over the last several years. The night ended with a lively musical sharing of some of the songs written collectively by community members in Boyle Heights and other parts of Los Angeles.
We were also joined by SaludArte co-author Dr. George Lipsitz and Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights Program Manager Jennifer Ybarra from the California Endowment, along with an incredible group of artists, activists, friends, family, and community members from Boyle Heights and beyond to celebrate the ongoing social justice work being led by traditional artists in Boyle Heights. Thanks to all who attended and made this work possible!
For 2018-2019, our TARS season focused on themes central to traditional arts practice, like long-held expressions of ritual and custom, while at the same time acknowledging that artists are constantly improvising and adapting to the needs and context of the time. This season was a co-production with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, with additional curatorial support from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC). Partial funding for this program was provided by the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The TARS series in Los Angeles is generously supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Los Angeles TARS Contact: Jennifer Joy Jameson, Program Manager + Media Director
Los Angeles Field Office | firstname.lastname@example.org | (760) 805-8002
ACTA launched the Ritual + Improvisation in L.A. program season by honoring 1994 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Madame in Japanese Chado Ceremony, Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto and members of the Urasenke School of Chado in Los Angeles. Following a demonstration of a Chado tea ceremony and an interactive tea-brewing workshop led by the Urasenke School, roundtable participants engaged in a dialogue around the needs of traditional artists in places like L.A. View Photos
Cultural Sustainability from the Inside, Out
February 21, 2019 at JACCC
How do artists find balance between growing and sustaining the work within their communities of practice with the desire to share and “teach” a wider public? This event focused on cultural sustainability for the traditional arts in the region. We shared a dynamic conversation engaging Los Angeles-based artists and cultural leaders, including presentations from Lucumí priest and folklorist Dr. Ysamur M. Flores-Peña, performer Nobuko Miyamoto of Great Leap, Inc., president of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc., Cheryl Noralez, and House and Ball practitioner Sean Milan Garçon of Reach L.A. View Photos
Theories of Change and Transformative Cultural Practice
April 17, 2019 at JACCC
In partnership with Arts in a Changing America, ACTA presented this TARS program as part of the REMAP: LA Cultural Equity Summit in Los Angeles. We were joined by local artists and activists Juana Mena, Ofelia Esparza, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Omar Ramirez, and Quetzal Flores in conversation with Black Studies scholar Dr. George Lipsitz. Together we engaged in interactive small group sessions centered around cultural organizing strategies rooted in traditional arts, listening and learning from one another to explore methodologies for social change. With the help of these artists and the leadership of Dr. George Lipsitz, ACTA will soon be publishing a guide to these strategies centered on building healthy communities through traditional arts. View Photos
Cultural Funders’ Roundtable
May 16, 2019 at William Grant Still Arts Center
This program was held at an important Los Angeles community art center in the West Adams neighborhood, the 40-year old William Grant Still Arts Center. ACTA invited a panel of local and statewide California funders to present funding opportunities for organizations and individual artists. Representatives came from the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the City of L.A.’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and of course, ACTA. The core of the event were meet and greet sessions in small groups, rotating each funder so everyone in the room had a chance to ask questions of all funders.
Gathering of Southern California Apprenticeship + Living Cultures Awardees
June 15, 2019 at The World Stage
On June 15, 2019, ACTA hosted its last Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event (TARS) of the 2018-2019 season at The World Stage in Leimert Park. Our final session invited recent L.A./So Cal Apprenticeship and Living Cultures awardees to the table to network, build community, and dig deep on cultural transmission and its importance for sustainability of these rich cultural practices. We invited 2018 Apprenticeship recipients Peter de Guzman and Jasmine Orpilla who focused on Philippine Pangalay dance, Mary Alfaro who was learningRequinto romantico music, and Wilfried Souly and Aaron Mason in West African dance and drumming. We also heard from Living Cultures grantees Centro Cultural Techantit who celebrated Mayan cultural traditions, and the Ukrainian Arts Center who presented on their Psyanka festival and cooking classes. View Photos
Participants learn to make matcha under the tutelage of the Urasenke School of Chado at JACCC in Little Tokyo. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2018.
Students of the Urasenke School of Chado prepare matcha in a traditional tea ceremony at JACCC in Little Tokyo. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2018.
Korean dancers and Apprenticeship recipients DaEun Jung and Melody Shim learn about Psyanka, or decorative eggs, from Daria Chaikovsky of the Ukrainian Arts Center at The World Stage in Leimert Park. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2019.
Master artist Peter de Guzman and his apprentice Jasmine Orpilla demonstrate Philippine pangalay dance at The World Stage in Leimert Park. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2019.
Altarista and ACTA Artist Fellow with Building Healthy Communities in Boyle Heights leads participants in a cleansing ritual connected to her work relating traditional arts and health at JACCC in Little Tokyo. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2019.
ACTA Program Manager Quetzal Flores leads discussion on cultural organizing strategies rooted in traditional arts practice at JACCC in Little Tokyo. Photo: Timo Saarelma/ACTA, 2019.
Full archive of TARS programs coming soon.
TARS in Los Angeles
The Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) is a project of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. This program series is a co-production of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, with support from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Partial funding for this program was provided by the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The TARS series in Los Angeles is generously supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
TARS in San Francisco
The Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) is a project of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. The Cur’Arte season of TARS is generously supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Join us in kicking off this season of our Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) in Los Angeles! Meet with traditional and community-based artists and supporters to share practices of ritual and improvisation that help us heal, connect, and build relationships across cultures. Beginning in 2008, ACTA’s Traditional…
On June 20th, a Traditional Arts Roundtable with ACTA and the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), LA Uprising: 25 Years Later (1992-2017) gathered members of the Koreatown and South L.A. communities to examine cross-cultural strategies utilizing traditional art forms to heal, connect, and build bridges across cultures and…