Master West African drummer Baba Tacuma King (R) working with his young apprentice Rumi Akhenaten Hawthorne-Vaughan (L) on rhythms and drumming techniques in 2016. Photo by Russell Rodriguez/ACTA.
2020 Funding Opportunities Closing Soon!
ACTA's Living Cultures and  Apprenticeship Programs
Applications are closing soon for ACTA's funding opportunities for the year 2020! If you are a traditional artist or an organization serving the traditional arts, ACTA wants to support your work. Check out the $5,000 Living Cultures grant for organizations and the $3,000 Apprenticeship opportunities for master artists and their apprentices.
DEADLINE: July 15, 2019
¡Postula por Internet Hoy!
Programa de Apoyo Financiero para las Culturas Vivas y Programa de Aprendices de ACTA

¡Las solicitudes para apoyo financiero de ACTA para el año 2020 se cerrarán  pronto ! Ya están disponib les las solicitudes para el  Programa de Apoyo Financiero para las Culturas Vivas  ($5,000 para organizaciones) y el   Programa de Aprendices  ($3,000 para el aprendizaje entre dos personas). Si eres una organización que trabaja con las artes tradicionales y la cultura popular o un artista individual, visita nuestra página web para más información sobre nuestros programas y descubre cuál es el más apropiado para ti. Postular por internet es fácil y nuestro equipo está disponible para ayudarte en el proceso. Le fecha límite para postular es: 15 de julio, 2019.
Have a question about applying?
Watch a webinar with  ACTA staff to  learn more about these programs!

Webinar in Engli sh  here.
Webinar en Español  aquí ­.
Pottery and Home Ikebana class at WasabiKai studio. Photo courtesy of WasabiKai.

The Culture of Ceramics:
WasabiKai Studio

ACTA's Living Cultures Grant Program helps cultural arts organizations build pathways to nurture, sustain, and engage participation in traditional arts. We asked potter and project director Bob Miyamoto of the  two-time Living Cultures grantee organization WasabiKai, a ceramics studio at the Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, to share how the grant helped his organization develop their programming.

Learning pottery at the WasabiKai studio. Photo courtesy of WasabiKai.
Tell us about your organization and community! What do you do, and who do you serve?

WasabiKai is a culturally based ceramic program at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, California. Our program began in 2013 with the goal of providing classes that would enrich our understanding and preserve our cultural heritage through ceramics. We have developed and offered the following classes:  Japanese dinnerware and plating, covering aesthetics related to ceramics, food, seasons, and plating;  making tea and tea bowls using raku techniques; studying the history of tea in Japan as we know it as Japanese Americans, including discussions on matcha tea and instruction on how it is made and served;  Goinkyo Yakimono, a class for seniors in our community time to explore their creativity; p ottery and home ikebana classes. We discuss the history of ikebana, which is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, and its relation to pottery. We study simple pottery techniques to make vases for arrangements.

In total, WasabiKai offers five classes a week, each 2.5 hours long.  The students are members and friends of our temple community, aged 30 to 94. WasabiKai also supports ceramic projects from Saishin Dojo, a 4-week summer program serving children in grades one to six.

How did you apply the funds from the Living Cultures grant?

Class in session. Photo courtesy of WasabiKai.
WasabiKai received the Living Cultures grant in 2016 and 2018. Our first grant enabled us to purchase supplies and equipment used in our program. In 2018, we received a grant which funded the development of our latest class, Pottery and Home Ikebana. Through these grants we were able to grow our program to what it is today. We have been able to provide four classes each year and have waiting lists for each class. In addition to the classes, we have been able to hold open studio sessions for those who have taken classes an d wish to continue to explore their creativity in clay.

Rev. Mas Kodani of the Senshin Buddhist Temple has provided each class with cultural insights and meaningful discussions. An important figure in the Japanese American community, Rev. Kodani is also responsible for the introduction of taiko which has become very popular throughout the United States. Our taiko company, Kinnara Taiko, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Rev. Kodani is also responsible for preserving Bugaku and Gagaku, traditional court music and dance. The addition of WasabiKai has further enriched our cultural  traditions. We hope to grow our program and continue to promote our culture through ceramics.

Thanks to ACTA  for supporting our efforts and those of other communities in preserving the traditional arts!

Learn more about WasabiKai and follow their work on Facebook.
2018 National Heritage Fellow Ofelia Esparza in her studio. Still from a video by Sara Aguilar, courtesy of the NEA.

NEA National Heritage Fellow and
California Master Artist Ofelia Esparza

"My mother...had an altar all the time. Before Day of the Dead, she would embellish them with flowers from our garden. She passed this on to me, and it was her own spirit, her own passion for her traditions that I was so influenced by." - Ofelia Esparza

Watch ACTA's Executive Director Amy Kitchener in conversation with L.A.-based altarista and 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellow Ofelia Esparza about Ofelia's practice as one of the most respected and prolific  altaristas  in California. As a first generation Mexican-American, Ofelia continues a legacy of remembrance through her carefully constructed altars that honor the dead through visual and material offerings. Watch the video learn more about Ofelia's life and work.

Nominate an Artist for a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA

Image courtesy of the NEA.
Do you know a master traditional artist whom you would like to recognize? Nominate them for a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts!

To honor and preserve our nation's diverse cultural heritage, the NEA annually awards up to nine NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists. These fellowships recognize artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.  They must be actively participating in their art form, either as practitioners or as teachers.

Visit the NEA website to learn how you can nominate an artist for this award. 

DEADLINE: July 30, 2019
2019 master artist in Korean dance, Daeun Jung (L), learns about traditional Ukrainian decorative eggs known as pysanka from Daria Chaikovsky (R), board president of the Ukrainian Art Center Los Angeles, a 2019 Living Cultures grantee organization. Photo by Timo Saarelma.

Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS):
Wrapping the 2018-2019 Season

Nesha Xuncax of the 2009 Living Cultures grantee organization MayaVision.
In June we presented the last Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) event of the 2018-2019 season at the World Stage in Leimert Park. We shared an incredible afternoon of art and conversation with SoCal Apprenticeship and Living Cultures awardees from this year and years past. Thank you to everyone who attended for your warmth, engagement, and contribution to these grassroots meetings of traditional artists and advocates!

We'll be launching a roundtable series in San Francisco in early 2020 focusing on themes of health and artistic practice. Stay tuned for more details on this new series and on upcoming TARS events in Los Angeles.

Until then, follow us on Facebook to see photos from our past TARS events and to receive updates about the next convening! 

The Traditional Arts Roundtable Series is a project of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA). This program is a co-production of ACTA and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Partial funding for this program was provided by the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The TARS series in Los Angeles is generously supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

REMAP: LA Equity Workshops
August 23 - 26, 2019

How can we learn to operate from a culture of a shared future?

As our country is remapped by its people - what type of remapping of ourselves is needed? 
Following the success of the ArtChangeUS Cultural Equity Summit in April 2019, REMAP: LA goes deeper into work foundational to cultural equity through participatory workshops focusing on anti-racism, disability and access, and language justice training from August 23-26.  ArtChangeUS is also collaborating with the Western Arts Alliance on the plenary, "The Politics of Presence" and the Black Arts @ WAA, a day-long program in Leimert Park. Join for a single workshop or multiple experiences:

Nothing About Us Without Us: Unpacking Ableism Through the Expressive Arts,  f acilitated by Diana Elizabeth Jordan

Language Justice is Social Justice: Equitable Communication Across Languages,  co-facilitated by Antena Aire and Antena Los Ángeles

UNDOING RACISM,  f acilitated by the People's Institute of Survival and Beyond

ArtChangeUS is committed to creating an inclusive environment. This includes providing accommodations to make this event more accessible. If you need accommodations to fully participate in REMAP: LA, please include your needs on the registration form or email [email protected]
NEA Art Works Grant:  Art Works is the National Endowment for the Arts' principal grants program. Through project-based funding, the NEA supports public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation's 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Matching grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. Click here to apply.
DEADLINE: 07/11/19

NEA Assistance for Rural Communities:  The National Endowment for the Arts Citizens' Institute on Rural Design is now open for applications, offering funding and technical assistance to communities with populations of 50,000 or less to address local challenges related to economic vitality and quality of life through design solutions. New this year to the CIRD program is a peer learning component for rural leaders that features training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques as well as support in navigating funding opportunities. Click to apply.  DEADLINE: 07/22/19
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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