Photo by Tom Pich.
Remembering a Master Artist
Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto

Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto, master of Japanese Chado Tea Ceremony and longtime California traditional artist, passed away on February 22, 2019. She was 103 years old, and had served the traditional art of tea ceremony for most of her life.

Over her lifetime, Madame Matsumoto taught thousands of people the art of Chado. Hundreds of her students over multiple generations became teachers of tea ceremony themselves, sustaining an art form that is built on Zen values for meditation, reflection, and discipline.

"I think that such a wonderful
Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto (R) at a tea ceremony in 1991. Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Japanese cultural  tradition is exactly what we need in the world today, a noisy world in constant discussion about tsunamis and earthquakes, or murders and armed  robberies," Madame Matsumoto told  Discover Nikkei in 2005.  "Perhaps the Way of Tea is more important now than ever. So that's how I feel, and I want to pass this on to the younger folks, the next generation, as much as I can, and I think it will be realized."

As one of the most influential and prolific tea masters in the United States, Madame Matsumoto was awarded the Fifth Order of the Merit  (The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays) by the Emperor of Japan in 1990, and received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment from the Arts in 1994. She has been a key part of California's cultural fabric since she started teaching tea ceremony in Los Angeles more than sixty years ago.

Join us in remembering Madame Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto, a pioneer of Chado tea ceremony and a pillar of Japanese American culture in California.

Chado Tea Ceremony presented by the Urasenke School of Chado at ACTA's Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event on December 21, 2019. Photos by Timo Saarelma.

Reentry Through the Arts Afro-Colombian drumming class at Homeboy Industries.

Announcing Reentry Through the Arts:
Traditional Arts for Returning Citizens

ACTA is excited to launch a new program: Reentry Through the Arts . Specially designed for individuals who are returning to their communities following incarceration, this 18-week program centers on two traditional arts workshop series in Los Angeles:  Mexican son jarocho music, dance, and verse at the Amity Foundation, and Afro-Colombian percussion at Homeboy Industries. The Reentry Through the Arts program marries traditional arts practice with relevant resources from our partners at the Wellness Center, an organization dedicated to providing culturally sensitive wellness and prevention services in Los Angeles.

Inspired by participants from our Arts in Corrections programs who took part in classes on traditional music, storytelling, drawing, and other participatory forms, t his reentry program creates new opportunities for returning citizens to come together in an environment designed to reinforce the affirmation of cultural identity, a sense of belonging, and communal engagement through the shared experience of art-making. We are in the middle of piloting this new program, and all formally incarcerated individuals are welcomed to join! 
Learning Mexican folk guitar inside Avenal State Prison. Photo by Peter Merts, courtesy of the California Arts Council.
Stories from Inside
ACTA's Arts in Corrections Program Featured on Radio Bilingüe

Reporters Tena Rubio and Rubén Tapia from the national Latino public radio network  Radio Bilingüe went inside several California state prisons ACTA serves through our  Arts in Corrections program. They documented  the sounds of communal music workshops and intense spoken word poetry sessions, and spoke to participants, artists, and correctional officers about how traditional arts practices can change the outlook of incarcerated individuals.

"I feel like this is going to be my redemption in a way, when I get out. Not to prove anybody wrong, but just to show myself there was more to my life than the gang lifestyle. It gives you a tremendous sense of hope."

-Jose Salazar, Mexican folk guitar student, Avenal State Prison

Click below to listen to the stories in both Spanish and English.
Register Now!
Cultural Equity Summit with REMAP: LA

April 17, 2019 | All day

JACCC's Aratani Theater
244 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Organized by ArtChangeUS REMAP: LA with support from ACTA and other core partners, this Cultural Equity Summit  will gather cultural leaders, artists, grantmakers, and community members to advance cultural equity strategies and innovative practices at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy  on Wednesday, April 17, 2019  in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

The United States is being remapped by its people. By 2042, the population of US communities of color will eclipse the historic white majority. While the population has shifted on the ground, institutional leadership and funding across the arts and all sectors have not kept pace. Leading the nation, Los Angeles and New York City have implemented major studies of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their cultural communities. The Summit  asks: What role do we each play in moving towards a shared future?  Join a  public sector  discussion led by heads of city arts agencies moving research into action from Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, and Seattle.

As part of the symposium ACTA will be offering a Traditional Arts Roundtable Series (TARS) event  called " Theories of Change and Transformative Cultural Practice." Join us for a dialogue on cultural organizing strategies rooted in traditional arts practice with artists from ACTA's Building Healthy Communities work in Boyle Heights: Juana Mena, Ofelia Esparza, Omar Ramirez, Quetzal Flores, and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens in conversation with UCSB Black Studies Professor Dr. George Lipsitz.
Save the Date!
Funders Roundtable in Los Angeles

Photo by Abel Gutierrez.
May 16, 2019

William Grant Still Art Center
2520 South West View Street
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Join us the evening of May 16 for a roundtable discussion and presentations from California funders offering a range of cultural arts grants and opportunities for organizations and individual artists alike. We'll hear from the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the City of L.A.'s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and of course, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Save the date, and keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for more info!
This roundtable is part of our ongoing Traditional Arts Roundtable Series The Traditional Arts Roundtable Series is a project of the Alliance  for  California Traditional Arts. This event is a co-production of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. 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 provide by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Arts Activation Fund (Los Angeles):   The Arts Activation Fund (AAF) from the Department of Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles supports neighborhood driven cultural cooperation to produce temporary public programs such as festivals, art walks, vinyl murals, or innovative pop-up events, which use the arts to activate uninviting streets and sidewalks.  Grants of $7500 - $12,000 are available for projects located in the  City of Los Angeles  that can take place within 2-3 months of the proposal date. Applications are accepted and reviewed monthly from November through June. Click to apply.   DEADLINE: rolling

Arts Advocacy Day 2019: Join Californians for the Arts for Arts, Culture & Creativity Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Sacramento as part of the celebration of Arts, Culture & Creativity Month! Connect, advocate and mobilize efforts to advance the arts across the state. There will be a month full of events leading up to the Advocacy Day on April 23, which will be marked by a rally on the steps of the State Capitol and visits to legislators' offices. Click to learn how you can advocate for the arts.

Arts in Corrections Program Development Funding: The California Arts Council has opened a new Request for Proposals for its Arts in Corrections program, intended to break down the barriers of prison arts programming and work in state correctional settings through support for projects aimed at program development.
Proposals may include professional development, mentorship, and training for organizations and teaching artists; training tool development; curriculum development; program assessment and evaluation; or innovative projects that seek to expand or challenge the status quo of arts education in state correctional facilities. Funding is available to both current Arts in Corrections Coordinating Organizations and to organizations interested in providing arts programming through the California Arts Council's Arts in Corrections program in the future. Click to learn more.  DEADLINE: 4/22/2019

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 to apply. DEADLINE: 7/11/2019
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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