Yenedit Valencia dances the Jarabe Mixteco. Photo: Crystal Murrillo/ACTA.

20 Years of ACTA-vism

Karuk girls photo
Karuk girls at ceremony. Photo by Sarah Liz.

In 2017, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts marked twenty years of serving California’s folk and traditional artists, from cowboy poetry and African American quilting, to Hmong qeej music and queer voguing dance competitions. Over these two decades, ACTA has built an astonishing and resilient community built with visionary people like you—folks who practice, perform, engage, advocate and admire the rich work of traditional artists and the communities that surround them.

In 2017, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts marks 20 amazing years of serving California’s folk and traditional artists. Over our 20 year history, ACTA has

  • invested $5.2 million into the folk and traditional arts field
  • awarded grants to 590 traditional arts organizations
  • supported 314 master artists and their apprentices
  • worked in 50 of California’s 58 counties
  • served 17 state prisons with our Arts in Corrections traditional arts workshops

Download our 20th Anniversary Brochure for more details on the last twenty years of ACTA’s work:

Engaging with California

ACTA’s programs are dedicated to sustaining and fostering the growth of cultural traditions, pluralism, and respect. Here are three of ACTA’s arts engagement programs that shone in 2017, providing a powerful counterpoint to the difficult political changes felt across the United States

Arts in Corrections

ACTA offers traditional artist residencies in half of California’s prison system, facilitating workshops for inmates that are based in musical forms like Afro-Colombian percussion, Mexican folk guitar, storytelling, and visual art forms like Native American beadwork, Chicano murals, and altar building.

Watch a new video on this year’s workshops at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.

Read more about the Arts in Corrections program.

Community Leadership Project

The Community Leadership Project is a 7-year initiative to provide resources and technical support to bolster the capacity of San Joaquin Valley traditional arts organizations run by people of color, immigrants, and refugees working in low-income communities.

This unique opportunity provided multi-year general operating support grants, peer learning, coaching, and customized training. The work with 11 San Joaquin Valley organizations distributed close to 1 million dollars in support and technical assistance making a change in people’s lives.

Building Healthy Communities in Boyle Heights

Since 2011, in partnership with the California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities – Boyle Heights has invested in arts and culture as an essential resource in the struggle for health impacts and systems change in abandoned communities. The Alliance for California Traditional Arts has served as a key protagonist in lifting up traditional artists and their cultural convening methods as important vehicles for exercising and sustaining opposition to injustice and proposition for a collective future.

Read more about this work in our new report, Building Healthy Communities: Approaching Community Health Through Heritage and Culture in Boyle Heights.

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