Alliance for California Traditional Arts
June 17, 2020

At the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, we aim to support all forms of traditional cultural expression in California.

These traditions are not just defined by shared ethnicity or geography—rather, we understand the traditional arts to be those cultural forms that are transmitted and engaged as part of the cultural life of a group of people whose members share a common identity, aesthetics, and practices. Over our 20+ year history, this has included the LGBTQ+ artists, organizations, and cultural forms of our state. We recognize the cultural expressions unique to the queer community such as ballroom, drag, vogueing, and other forms as traditional arts that are deeply rooted in and reflective of the shared values, experiences, and standards of beauty that are passed down and play a critical role in the wellbeing of queer communities.

Dancers from Reach LA perform at ACTA’s 2012 event at Grand Performances celebrating the opening of ACTA’s LA office. Photo: Abel Gutierrez/ACTA

ACTA has supported the traditional forms of the LGBTQ+ community through grants to organizations like Reach LA (to support the transmission of West Coast house and ball culture) and Fresh Meat Productions in San Francisco (to organize the Queer Traditions panel exploring the role of traditional arts in the LGBTQ+ community). Beyond queer cultural forms, ACTA recognizes that queer artists and culture-bearers are in leadership roles within traditional arts in diverse communities across the state as teachers and innovators, broadening the lens of cultural expression and queerness.  

This June, we are sharing insights and reflections from some of California’s many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer traditional artists in our new Pride series called “Queering California Traditions.” Throughout the month we will be sharing stories, videos, and other contributions from LGBTQ+ artists who are exploring how their queer identities intersect with their traditional arts practice. 

Join us as we celebrate Pride, examine its many intersectionalities across social movements, and learn from the contributions of the LGBTQ+ artists of California!

Explore the Series

"Drag is art. If a drag performer can captivate someone with their performance...they are doing something right." A Q+A with the Empress of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood.

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