"Traditional arts organizations don't exist in vacuums.
They play an active part in the culture and unity of their communities."

What happens when a neighborhood landmark for culture and community is under threat? In this latest story from ACTA,  Program Manager Julián Antonio Carrillo dives into this question by looking at the precarious position of BrasArte, a nearly 20-year-old nonprofit organization in West Berkeley dedicated to the arts of Brazil.

BrasArte is in danger of losing its longtime home, the Case de Cultura, as the building goes up for sale in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country.  As Julián describes, BrasArte and organizations like it are critical to fostering a sense of place and creating intergenerational opportunities for valuing cultural heritage. We all have a role to play in maintaining these cultural spaces for our communities.

Read on to explore the connections between community organization, land development, and the traditional arts.
Top image: Community members process through the streets of Berkeley at the 2017 Lavagem Festival. Photo: L. Kharrazi/ACTA.

The 2019 cycle of ACTA's  Apprenticeship Program , which awarded 17 apprenticeships throughout the state, is nearly wrapped! The Apprenticeship award supports a period of concentrated, one-on-one learning between artists who are masters in their forms and qualified apprentices who have demonstrated a committed engagement with, and a talent for, a specific traditional art form or cultural practice.

As part of the Apprenticeship Program, ACTA staff members visit each and every artist pair. The fieldwork-based site visits for 2019 began in May; over these last several months, Apprenticeship Program Manager Jennifer Joy Jameson,  Living Cultures  Grants Program Manager Julián Antonio Carrillo, Digital Media Specialist Shweta Saraswat, and Executive Director Amy Kitchener have visited artists from San Diego County to the Central Valley to the Bay Area to Humboldt County in the far north of California.

Collecting media during a site visit with 2019 mentoring artist in Korean folk dance Daeun Jung (L) and her apprentice Melody Shim (center). Photo: J. Jameson/ACTA.

ACTA staff members cherish these mid-point site visits as an opportunity to learn about the impact of the Apprenticeship program firsthand. Artists open up their homes and studios to us and share with us the intimate process of one-on-one learning. During a site visit, we spend quality time with the artists, offer an affirming word, and answer any questions they may have about the Apprenticeship process. We observe and document their work in-process, often witnessing the nuance and intricacies of pedagogy and transmission between master/mentoring artist and apprentice. We also have the pleasure of video recording an interview with them, touching on key questions of history, aesthetics, transmission, and the future of these art forms in California. More than anything, we seek to listen and learn, meeting the artists where they are, offering any support they need, and building lasting trust and rapport.

Top image: 2019 ACTA mentoring artist Soumya Tilak adjusts a hand gesture on her Bharatanatyam dance apprentice Vibha Raju. Photo: S. Saraswat/ACTA.
Healing from Trauma  Through Traditional Arts

The Awon Ohun Omnira Choir of the Omnira Institute. Photo: S. Narang/ACTA.
December 2, 2019 
6:30 pm


Menlo Park Library
800 Alma Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025

I n this free public event, audiences will be introduced to the artistic work of three local organizations with experience in healing through traditional arts: the  Omnira Institute Halau 'O Kawainuhi , and the  Alliance for California Traditional Arts  (ACTA). Through first-person reflections, videos, photos, and participatory engagement, representatives from each organization will offer a glimpse into their respective programs, art forms, and healing processes.

Wanda Ravernell and  Tobaji Stewart from the Omnira Institute will share reflections on teaching and performing traditional  rumba,  an Afrocuban performative genre involving vocal improvisation, elaborate dancing, and polyrhythmic drumming. Native Hawaiian  Kumu Kau'i Peralt o will be showcasing  Kapu Aloha, or  healing through love and a place of positivity, discipline, self-care, and forgiveness-shared through songs and dances. And lastly, ACTA Program Manager  Julián Antonio Carrillo  will give an overview of ACTA's work and talk about the intersection of traditional arts and health.
Announcing ACTA's New Arts in Corrections Program Manager!

Jasmin Temblador. Photo: S. Saraswat/ACTA.
After an extensive job search process in which ACTA considered an impressive pool of candidates from around the country, we are pleased  to announce the appointment of ACTA's new Arts in Corrections (AIC) Program Manager: Jasmin Temblador! Jasmin has been with ACTA since 2017 in the role of AIC Program Coordinator, and we are looking forward to her guiding the program as it moves forward .

As Program Coordinator, Jasmin worked with traditional artists in Southern California in collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to bring traditional arts programming to eight  prisons, in addition to supporting programming in the other ten  prisons ACTA serves. Jasmin also coordinates ACTA's Reentry Through the Arts Program in partnership with the Wellness Center in Los Angeles to support returning citizens in their transition from incarceration back into their communities. Earlier this year, Jasmin earned a Master's degree in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College, where her research worked to enhance and leverage the voices of underrepresented communities, traditions, ways of life, and cherished spaces. As Program Manager, Jasmin will oversee ACTA's work in all eighteen prisons up and down the state.
We are thrilled to have Jasmin expand her work at ACTA and contribute her knowledge, experience, and new ideas to this role! Congratulations Jasmin!

RECAP: ACTA in San Diego
Gathering with artists and friends in Logan Heights

On the evening on October 9, 2019, ACTA invited current and former grantees, friends, and partners to join us in San Diego's Logan Heights neighborhood for a convivial gathering affirming the power and shared values of the traditional arts in San Diego County.

Low-rider demonstration.
he events began with a powerful walking tour of the neighborhood's iconic Chicano Park, a vibrant space for Chicano/a/x activism, organizing, and self-determination marked by murals that tell critical stories about Chicano/a/x histories and achievements. The walking tour was led by ACTA's own Josephine Talamantez, who serves on ACTA's board and also chairs the board for the forthcoming Chicano Park Museum. Josie called upon a number of muralists and low-riders to share about their essential creative contributions to the space.

Poetry and music by Somali Youth United.
Next, we welcomed San Diego-based grantees, partners, and friends new and old for dinner at Bread + Salt Art Center, just a short walk up the road. There, we heard from
 Kumeyaay singer and storyteller Stan Rodriguez , (a former Apprenticeship recipient), B ernard Barros Ellorin and his apprentice Kimberly Kalanduyan  (2019 Apprenticeship recipients) who performed kulintang music of the Southern Philippines, Somali poets and singers Siham Ismail and Asho Abhullahi Farah of Somali Youth United  (2019 Living Cultures grantee), followed by beloved Chicano musicians Miguel Lopez and  Ricardo Sanchez  (also brother to the late NEA Heritage Fellow, musician Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez ).

Ricardo Sanchez and Miguel Lopez.
Joined by the National Endowment for the Arts' Cliff Murphy, the California Arts Council's Larry Baza, ACTA's Amy Kitchener and Josephine Talamantez, we then welcomed local artists and organizations in attendance into a dialogue about the state of traditional arts practice in San Diego. ACTA looks forward to continuing to support and learn about the extraordinary work of San Diegans in the months and years to come!

Visit our Facebook page  for more photos!
All photos by Memo Cavada/Creative Images.
The Center for Cultural Innovation  is providing emerging California arts leaders with scholarships through the California Art Leaders Investments Accelerator (CALI Accelerator) program to pursue activities that emphasize developing their  leadership vision and voice while acquiring professional knowledge and skills. CALI Accelerator is a grant program that supports professional development activities that enable grantees to be influential in shaping their discipline, organization, or the broader arts and culture field. Click for more information.
DEADLINE: 12/31/19

Through fellowships to published translators, the National Endowment for the Arts supports projects for the translation of specific works of prose, poetry, or drama from other languages into English. The work to be translated should be of interest for its literary excellence and value. The NEA encourages translations of writers and of work that are not well represented in English, as well as work that has not previously been translated into English.  Competition for fellowships is rigorous. Potential applicants should consider carefully whether their work will be competitive at the national level. Click to apply.
DEADLINE: 1/15/2020
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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