By Lily Kharrazi, Program Manager and photos by Chike Nwoffiah and ACTA Staff
October 1, 2014

ACTA’s Roundtable Series convened in San Diego on September 4th, welcoming artists, organizations, community arts partners and activists to meet one another, share the art of NEA Heritage Fellow, Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez as he sang songs that reflected a life time of community organizing through music, celebrate and honor the work of longtime arts activist Josie Talamantez, share food, and to discuss issues of common interest.  Recognizing that regional identity shapes the work of traditional artists, the Roundtable Series has expanded beyond the Bay Area where it began in 2008 and has travelled to Los Angeles, Humboldt County,and San Diego this year.  More meetings are planned for San Jose and Coachella Valley and other sites in 2015.

ACTA welcomed over 80 guests to the Jacobs Center for Innovation, our partners for the evening.  This remarkable combination of  a not-for-profit foundation and a for-profit business is a model of urban responsibility. Providing both economic development to a long neglected neighborhood by bringing businesses to create a shopping area, as well as providing space for cultural communities to have offices and an outdoor concert venue, the Jacobs Center understands that traditional arts express a core value among diverse San Diego populations.  As the State’s second largest city, ACTA grants and programs have also been supporting artists and cultural community organizations for many years.

The vibrancy of the community was evident with attendance from many artists and colleagues including The Black Storytellers of San Diego, Danzarts, Pasacat Philippine Performing Arts Company, Samoan Cultural Council, Che’lu, Familia Indigena Unida, Chicano Park, Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, Omo Ache Cuban Cultural Arts, USD Ethnic Studies, Teye Sa Thiosanne African Dance and Drum Company, Mexi’cayotl, The San Diego Foundation, Bibak San Diego, United Women of East African, Young Audiences, Nos de Chita-Brasil Cultural Center, and other independent artists and guests.

The evening included a discussion and conversation about the unique experiences and strategies of local artists and their communities in navigating and negotiating physical, political, cultural, and social borders. Adding their own interpretations of what “borders” may or may not mean was T. Ford from the Black Storytellers of San Diego; Kirin Amiling Macapugay, Kalingas North American Network; Stanley Rodriguez, Kumeyaay Traditional singer; and Carolina Lamar Martinez from Fandango Fronterizo.

Thank you, San Diego for making the ACTA gathering a celebration and showing us once again that you are at the epicenter of traditional and folk arts!

The following video features Chunky Sanchez singing “Chicano Park” at ACTA’s Roundtable Series in San Diego: