Announcing ACTA's newest publication!

Photo: T. Saarelma/ACTA.

Building Health Equity on the Bedrock of  Traditional Arts and Culture
" The beauty and power of the work of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts is in their insight that artistic and cultural practices are central to both healthy communities and transformative social change.  Through the arts, we come to see that what is traditional is futuristic and what is futuristic grows from tradition.  This guidebook offers a powerful framework for anyone interested in moving our communities from resistance to restoration and regeneracíon."
-Jeff Chang, author and narrative/cultural strategist

ACTA is proud to announce the launch of our newest publication and companion video! SaludArte: Building Health Equity on the Bedrock of Traditional Arts and Culture is a reflection of nearly a decade of ACTA's work in Boyle Heights as part of the California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative. Co-authored by Dr. George Lipsitz of UC Santa Barbara and ACTA, the bilingual publication explores what can happen when traditional artists engage cultural practices to address social determinants of health like structural racism, poverty, and other conditions that impact our ability to lead healthy lives where we live, work, and play.

ACTA's work in the communities of Boyle Heights, Santa Ana, Merced, and the East Coachella Valley integrated traditional arts into BHC campaigns addressing these social determinants of health. The SaludArte publication focuses on ACTA's work in Boyle Heights as well the other sites, adapted to local conditions.

SaludArte is available in both English and Spanish on ACTA's website, and includes an inventory of tools for carrying out this work in a number of community based settings. Visit our website to browse the publication and download a digital copy!

"Traditional arts are a way of creating new social relations. People are fighting back against the world that has been handed to them. They are creating a picture of the world that many of us want to live in."

-Dr. George Lipsitz,  Professor of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara, describing ACTA's Building Healthy Communities projects

How do the traditional arts help communities organize around better health and wellness for all? Watch the SaludArte video  to witness how the work of ACTA's Building Healthy Communities artist fellows in Boyle Heights and other sites contribute to social justice efforts through  participatory gathering, restorative cultural practices, and mobilization through the traditional arts.
Mira el video en español aquí.
Street vendor Caridad Vasquez at the launch of SaludArte at Casa del Mexicano in Boyle Heights on Feb. 27. Doña Caridad has been a key figure in the fight for vendors' rights in Los Angeles, and she was identified by the local community as a cultural treasure in Boyle Heights. Photo: T. Saarelma/ACTA.

Martha Gonzalez performs with Quetzal Flores (L) and Sandino Gonzalez-Flores (R). Photo: T. Saarelma/ACTA.
Launching SaludArte

On February 27, ACTA had the pleasure of launching the SaludArte publication at Casa del Mexicano in the heart of Boyle Heights as part of our Traditional Arts Roundtable Series
in Los Angeles. ACTA's Building Healthy Community artist fellows and collaborators Ofelia Esparza, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Omar Ramirez, Juana Mena, Cesar Castro, Martha Gonzalez, and Vaneza Calderon took the floor with ACTA Executive Director Amy Kitchener, Program Manager Quetzal Flores, and Program Manager Betty Marín to share heartfelt reflections on their experience applying traditional arts methodologies toward community organizing in Boyle Heights over the last several years. The night ended with a lively musical sharing of some of the songs written collectively by community members in Boyle Heights and others parts of Los Angeles.

We were also joined by SaludArte  co-author Dr. George Lipsitz, Building Healthy Communities Program Manager, Boyle Heights, Jennifer Ybarra from the California Endowment, and California Arts Council Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford, who traveled to Los Angeles from Sacramento for the launch. A long with an incredible group of artists, activists, friends, family, and community members, we celebrated the ongoing social justice work being led by traditional artists in Boyle Heights.  You can see more photos from the event on our Facebook page.

From left to right: Artist Fellow Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Artist Fellow Ofelia Esparza, Professor George Lipsitz, Artist Fellow Omar Ramirez, ACTA Program Manager Quetzal Flores, ACTA Program Manager Betty Marín, Artist Fellow Vaneza Calderon, California Arts Council Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford, ACTA Executive Director Amy Kitchener, and Artist Fellow Juana Mena at the SaludArte launch event on Feb. 27 in Boyle Heights. Photo: S. Saraswat/ACTA.

Bring arts and health equity tools into your work with SaludArte!
ACTA offers participatory  workshops  and  seminars  related to SaludArte tailored to a variety of settings-- university classrooms, organizational or field-based gatherings, or community  and  cultural organizing spaces . Workshop themes include:
  • Healing the Self, Healing Community
  • Collective Songwriting:  Re-Storying the Past, Present, and Future
  • Living Into the Work by Embodying Our Values
  • Re-Humanizing the Social Justice Meeting
  • Creating the Ground for Your Work: Cultural Asset Mapping
Contact us to learn more about how you can bring these tools into your own work! Get in touch with ACTA Program Manager Betty Marín at [email protected] or (213) 346-3257, and visit our website for more information about workshop offerings.

"Work at the intersection of traditional arts and culture, health, and community development is profoundly necessary and often difficult to grasp in its fullness. This documentation of and reflections on ACTA's many years of work in this space--attention to both the compelling art and cultural practices carried out by activist artists, culture bearers and neighborhood residents and the often invisible work required to bring such programs to fruition--are critical to the advancement of more impactful practices and healthier communities."

-María Rosario Jackson, Ph.D.
Institute Professor,  Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts &  Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions,  Arizona State University
Saikhnaa Byamba leads roundtable participants in the Mongolian ritual dance bielgee. Photo: P. Sanchez/ACTA.
Traditional Arts + Health in San Francisco

What is health to you? 
How does your art heal individuals and communities?

On January 18, 2020, ACTA hosted a Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event called Embodying Tradition as Health Practice as part of the  Cur'Arte: Traditional Arts + Health in San Francisco season of events. We were joined by local artists and health advocates  Kumu Kau'i Peralto Yuriko Doi Walker Sheila Devitt Saikhnaa Byamba , and  Elma Bataa in conversation with an audience composed of doctors, public health students, artists, and the general public.

Sheila Devitt from the Theatre of Yugen dances "Usagi," (The Rabbit). Photo: P. Sanchez/ACTA.

Through a moderated session led by A CTA staff, presenters talked about the balancing and restorative qualities of Aloha ʻĀina and the spiritual origins and foundations of Japanese noh and kyogen theater. After a contextualization and performance of bielgee, a Mongolian ritual shamanic dance, the event ended with an invitation to move--audience, staff, and presenters joined in a circle to experience bielgee together. See more photos from the event on our Facebook page.

The Omnira Institute. Photo: RJ Muna.
You can now RSVP for our next SF roundtable,  Singing Wellness in Unison, where we will explore what  singing in fellowship with others does for our individual and collective health and wellbeing.

March 28 | 3 - 5 PM
Community Music Center
544 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Visit ACTA's website for more info on all the free upcoming roundtables.

ACTA brings  more than 20 years of experience working closely with cultural communities and organizations across California and nationally. We  collaborate  with partners and clients in the areas of cultural asset mapping, program design and curation, research and evaluation, technical assistance, and more.

We offer services in:

Participatory Cultural Asset Mapping

Program development and curation, capacity building, and technical assistance

Ethnographic research and qualitative evaluation

Direct consulting and collaboration inquiries to Executive Director Amy Kitchener at  [email protected].

Keep Arts in Schools
Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund

It's tax time! Be a champion for arts education when filing by making a contribution to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund.

Arts education is the key to success for California's students. Students who learn arts at school score higher on tests, have better attendance records, significantly lower dropout rates, and are more than twice as likely to graduate from college.

This tax season, you can help keep arts in schools by making a tax-deductible donation of $1 or more to the Keep  Arts in Schools Fund on your state return. One hundred percent of your contribution will go to support arts education programming supported by the California Arts Council. The Keep Arts in Schools Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund can be found in Voluntary Contribution Section 110 (425) of the "540" individual state tax return form.

California Humanities has  announced its 2020 guidelines for CDP NextGen, a funding opportunity through the California Documentary Project grant program in support of California's next generation of documentary mediamakers. Eligible applicants may request up to $15,000. CDP NextGen invites applications from California-based nonprofit organizations and public agencies, including school and public libraries, with track records in youth media programming to provide training and support to emerging mediamakers in the creation of short, insightful nonfiction films and/or podcasts that tell original stories about life in California today. Click to learn more.
DEADLINE: 03/16/2020

The National Endowment for the Arts invites applicants to engage with the  agency's five-year research agenda through two funding opportunities for research projects: Research Grants in the Arts, which funds  research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, and NEA Research Labs, which funds transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences. Click for more info.
DEADLINE: 03/30/2020

ACCM Convening 2020, hosted by  Californians for the Arts, brings together a cross-sector representation of high level thought leaders, creators and strategists in a one day "roll up our sleeves" series of work sessions to develop statewide arts and culture policies, advocacy plans to increase public and private funding, and professional development to address recent legislation and organizational management. Click for more info.
DEADLINE: 04/14/2020

The California Arts Council is  currently accepting proposals  from organizations interested in providing arts services promoting healing and well-being as part of California's Arts in Corrections (AIC) program. In a conscious effort to simplify the submission process and increase access, equity, and inclusion among interested arts organizations, the RFP includes plain-language templated forms, instructions, and a video tutorial for submission guidance. Register  for an upcoming webinar on March 5 to learn more.
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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