2020 grantee organization Comunidad Anqari after performing at the San Francisco Carnaval Festival in 2019. Photo: Raul Barrera.

This year, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts is awarding $205,000 to 41 organizations to support folk and traditional arts.

Since 2005, ACTA's  Living Cultures grants have supported over 700 community-based projects, with $3.8 million in funding across 50 counties in California. This year's cohort represents a diverse array of cultural communities and their respective artistic forms of knowledge. We're proud to promote them all, from African American storytelling in Los Angeles deployed by way of the creation of miniature historical scenes to the movement of Aztec dancers celebrating the corn harvest ceremony in Lincoln, Sacramento County. Click below to learn more about this year's grantee cohort!
Mentor artist in Kalenda, or traditional African stick fighting, Dennis Newsome (R) in San Diego with his 2020 apprentice Nadia Taylor. Photo courtesy of the artists. 

Now entering its 20th year, ACTA's Apprenticeship Program awarded 16 artist pairs with a total of $48,000 this year to encourage  the continuity of the state's living cultural heritage through one-on-one mentorship.

Sherina Han-Khampraseuth (L) will be mentoring Jacob Norasene Van (R) in Laotian lanat (or lanard), a suspended, wooden xylophone used in Lao traditional music. Photo: Malaiky Norasene.
The cohort of 32 artists represent
  California's breadth of cultural diversity and intergenerational learning. The pairs range from mentor artists in their 70s to a 12-year old apprentice, spanning from San Diego to Contra Costa Counties. These apprenticeships continue thriving traditions, including indigenous California cultural practices like the Southern California tribal sport Waw'kish . Others celebrate traditions which have taken root in California, and originally hail from the Philippines, Laos, India, Iran, Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, West Africa, and the Andes of South America.

Click below to see all of the apprenticeship pairs in the 2020 cohort and learn more about their cultural practices!

Building Health Equity on the Bedrock of Traditional Arts and Culture

Join us for the FREE book launch party !

Feb 27 | 6 - 9 PM
Casa del Mexicano
2900 Calle Pedro Infante
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Join us as we celebrate the launch of our new publication, co-written by Dr. George Lipsitz and ACTA! SaludArte is a reflection of nearly a decade of work in Boyle Heights as a part of the California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities  (BHC) initiative. The publication explores w hat can happen when traditional artists engage cultural practices toward collective responses to a community's social and political needs. SaludArte is available both in English and Spanish, and includes an inventory of tools for carrying out this work in a number of community-based contexts.

The launch party will feature some of the BHC artist fellows central to this work, offer an overview of the publication, and end with a celebration including food and music! RSVP for free below, and see you there!
This event is part of the  Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS), a project of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. 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.  This project is also generously funded by The California Endowment.  
ACTA Hires New Arts in Corrections Program Coordinator

We are pleased to announce the latest addition to the ACTA team! Marcella Lopez-Schmidt has just joined our Fresno office as an Arts in Corrections Program Coordinator. She will work alongside Program Manager Jasmin Temblador and Program Coordinator Kenya Curry in facilitating traditional arts residencies inside eighteen California prisons.

Marcella is a Fresno native and is especially committed to supporting equity in the Central Valley. With a passion for social justice, storytelling, and the arts, Marcella earned her B.A. in cultural anthropology from CSU Fresno. Her experience is in the areas of youth organizing and development, community engagement, and grant management. Working alongside community members, she has organized for restorative justice in Fresno and Madera Unified School Districts in an effort to end the school-to-prison pipeline and has contributed to campaigns towards environmental, reproductive, food, and community planning justice.

Marcella previously facilitated The Beat Within writing workshops for youth at the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus, and has facilitated creative writing and dance workshops for women at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla since 2016. Marcella joined ACTA in 2020 as a Program Coordinator for the Arts in Corrections program.

We look forward to Marcella contributing her experience and passion to ACTA's Arts in Corrections program as we continue to serve incarcerated communities across the state.  
ACTA Arts in Corrections artist resident Fabian Debora (L) leads a drawing class at the California Correctional Institution. Photo: Peter Merts, courtesy of the California Arts Council.

AB5: What the new employment law means for independent contractors

On January 1, 2020, a new law went into effect that reclassifies many freelance workers as employees instead of independent contractors. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) entitles these workers to the salaries and various benefits of full employees following a California Supreme decision last year.

The new law establishes the "ABC" test, which determines that  a worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor unless the hiring entity satisfies all three of the following conditions:
  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
ACTA Arts in Corrections artist resident Michael McCarty (center) with students from his storytelling class at California City Correctional Facility. Photo: Peter Merts.
While AB5 offers freelance workers various protections as employees who benefit from the California Labor and Unemployment Insurance Codes and wage orders, the new law also puts many organizations who employ contractors in a difficult position of transitioning some of those workers to employee status.

ACTA has been proactive in this area, transitioning more than 40 of our Arts in Corrections (AIC) artist instructors from contractor status to employee status last year following the Supreme Court decision. Though the process was complex and time-consuming, we are proud to now offer benefits and employee protections to all of our AIC artist instructors.

If you are seeking more information on how AB5 may affect you as a worker or as an employer, check out these resources:
Thank you for helping ACTA reach its fundraising goals!

Last month, we turned to you, the ACTA community, to help us raise $7,500 before the new year. We shared gifts and stories, and members of our board offered a matching gift incentive. We didn't reach our goal -- we zoomed past it! The dust is still settling, but we are at a little over $13,000 and counting.
In an act of extraordinary generosity and community spirit, one of our master teachers, Van-Anh Vo, made a special one-time gift that put us over the top. 

"In sharing all of ACTA's great work with my husband, we decided to donate $4,000 to this campaign as a special thanks for your support over the years. We hope that this will help ACTA to continue to offer more and more meaningful service to the traditional arts."
-Van-Anh Vo
We depend on donations large and small made throughout the year. Every gift supports our efforts to nurture a just, equitable, and culturally rich society. We extend our humble thanks to Van-Anh and all who responded to our call.

Master artist of Vietnamese dan tranh, Van-Anh Vo, leads a youth ensemble at ACTA's Sounds of California community concert in 2018. Photo: S. Narang/ACTA.

If you would like to learn more about supporting ACTA, visit our website or contact ACTA's Development Director Mark Hernandez at mhernandez@actaonline.org.
The California Arts Council is seeking p articipation from individuals who have been directly impacted by the state's carceral system to help ensure the integrity of their Arts in Corrections evaluation process. By sharing feedback from their lived experiences, panel advisors contribute guidance to panelists to help aid in the design of arts programming that is true to the needs of those currently experiencing incarceration in state correctional facilities. Applicants must be a  California resident and must  have been formerly incarcerated at a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation adult facility. Apply here.

Humanities for All is a grant program from California Humanities that supports locally-initiated public humanities projects. Project Grants ($10,000 to $20,000) will be awarded twice a year for larger public humanities projects of up to two-years duration from the award date. Appropriate programming formats include but are not limited to interpretive exhibits, community dialogue and discussion series, workshops and participatory activities, presentations and lectures, conversations and forums, and interactive and experiential activities. Eligibility is limited to California-based nonprofit organizations and non-federal public agencies. Click to learn more. 
DEADLINE: 02/03/2020

New NEA grant program guidelines are now available online in the Challenge America and Grants for Arts Projects (GAP, formerly Art Works) categories, with the  first GAP deadline on February 13, 2020Included in the new guidelines are   expanded project types for Local Arts Agencies , developed to reflect field feedback and the evolution of work by local arts agencies.  A new video overview of Arts Endowment funding opportunities is available   online . Note that guidelines for the Research award opportunities will be available in January 2020 and the Our Town guidelines will be available in May 2020. Click to learn more.
DEADLINE: Beginning 02/13/2020

This grant from the  New England Foundation for the Artsnot only provides funding but also animates an informed, interactive network of producing theaters, presenters, and ensembles that promote the funded projects and the development of the field as a whole. Projects are supported through Creation & Touring Grants, which fund creation and preparation for touring of devised projects and Presentation Grants, which are awarded to presenters by the artist and support up to 50% of the artistic fee for NTP projects. Click to learn more.
DEADLINE: 03/09/2020
Want to learn how you can support the work of ACTA?
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts is the California Arts Council's official partner in serving the state's folk and traditional arts field.
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