Help Sustain California's Cultural Heritage by Making a Gift to ACTA!

We are in the thick of our annual donor campaign here at ACTA! Help us reach our goal of $7,500 by December 31 by making a gift of any amount.

Here’s what your donations to ACTA could help support:
  • A grant to support projects sustaining traditional cultural practice

  • Cultural transmission between a mentor and apprentice

  • Restorative justice through arts in corrections programming

  • Artist roundtables that explore California’s cultural heritage

  • Community recordings chronicling the immigrant experience

  • Increasing ACTA’s capacity to offer new programs and services throughout California

Every gift is a commitment to a culture bearer — and the people of California.

Thank you for your generosity.
A Living Cultures grant from ACTA supported regalia making for a Karuk coming of age ceremony that was resurrected after a 200 year hiatus. Photo: Sarah Liz.
Paper checks can be mailed to:
744 P Street, Suite 307
Fresno, CA 93721

Contact: Amy Kitchener, Executive Director
ACTA's Year in Review
Have you checked out ACTA’s 2020 - 2021 Year in Review?

Click the button below to page through our interactive publication highlighting how ACTA responded to the pandemic with record-breaking grants, new programs, and creative adaptations to our existing work. Learn about some of our special programs this past year, including:

La Cultura Cura
ACTAvando Contra COVID
Sounds of California Festival
Grief, Loss, and Cultural Practice
A Recap

“It is not just the difficult work of surviving, but also the act of healing and thriving.”
Dr. Fui Niumeitolu 

“The transition of our grandparents [elders] is important for us because in this moment they are our guides, our support, and our strength. We transform the physical loss of a loved one into a spiritual support for us.”
—Haydee Sanchez, Centro Cultural Techantit

During the pandemic, there has been a great amount of loss in our cultural communities across California. In ACTA's latest Traditional Arts Roundtable Series event on December 9, 2021, we convened a group of cultural leaders representing these communities to share about our diverse traditional and cultural practices, grieving and mourning rituals, and how they allow us to process loss in a meaningful way. This event featured Quechan and Kumeyaay elder Preston Arrow-weed, Altaristas Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens of Tonalli Studio, Haydee Sanchez of Techantit Cultural Center, Wanda Ravernell of the Omnira Institute, Melody Takata of GenRyu Arts, and was facilitated by Tongan/Pacific Islander scholar and community organizer Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu. The presentations affirmed the many connections between the practices of our distinct communities and were a crucial reminder of the need to come together during this time to support our continued healing and growth.

In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the roundtable online in English or Spanish.
“No es solamente el trabajo difícil de sobrevivir, sino también la acción de sanar y prosperar.”
—Dra. Fui Niumeitolu 

“Es importante para nosotros la transición de nuestros abuelos porque en este momento son nuestros guías, nuestra ayuda, y nuestra fortaleza. La pérdida de un ser querido físicamente, la transformamos en un apoyo espiritual para nosotros.”
—Haydee Sanchez, Centro Cultural Techantit

Durante la pandemia, ha habido una gran cantidad de pérdida en nuestras comunidades culturales en California. En este evento de la Serie de Mesas Redondas de las Artes Tradicionales reunimos a líderes culturales representando estas comunidades para compartir y conversar sobre nuestras diversas prácticas tradicionales y culturales, los rituales de duelo y luto, y cómo nos permiten procesar la pérdida de una manera significativa. Este evento contó con la participación de Preston Arrow-Weed, un líder mayor de los pueblos yuma y kumiai, las Altaristas Ofelia Esparza y Rosanna Esparza Ahrens de Tonalli Studio, Haydee Sanchez del Centro Cultural Techantit, Wanda Ravernell del Instituto Omnira, Melody Takata de GenRyu Arts, y fue facilitado por la académica y organizadora comunitaria tongana / isleña del pacífico Dra. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu. Las presentaciones afirmaron las conexiones entre las prácticas de nuestras distintas comunidades y fueron un recordatorio clave de la necesidad de reunirnos durante este tiempo para apoyar nuestra sanación y crecimiento contínuo.

Si te la perdiste, puedes ver una grabación de la mesa redonda en línea en inglés o en español.
A Celebration of Life: Appreciating Dr. “Papa” Zakarya Diouf

February 12, 1938 -
October 9, 2021

In a film tribute produced by the National Endowment for the Arts to honor the 2020 National Heritage Fellows, we hear Zak Diouf’s voice narrate a segment. As the dancers and drummers of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company rehearse a complex passage of choreography, he says, “…it’s a new generation; it evolves from the preceding one…the tradition is already here, you just have to pass it on.” The nation’s highest honor for traditional artists recognized the deep contributions of Zak and Naomi Diouf for their artistry and leadership as West African artists and mentors. To appreciate Papa Zak, as he was affectionately called by many, is to embrace a story of an individual, a husband and wife artistic team, the head of a family, and a mentor to an entire community.

ACTA has enjoyed a long relationship with the Diouf family, not only through support of their work through the Apprenticeship Program and Living Cultures Grants Program, but also from the strong presence of ACTA former board member, Esailama Arty-Diouf, the daughter of Zak and Naomi. We have been proud to support their exemplary work, but much more than that, we have benefited and learned so much by the example they set for themselves and the community.

On behalf of the ACTA staff and board of directors, we send our condolences and love to the Diouf family and community.  

On December 11, a Celebration of Life was held in Oakland. While acknowledging that a stalwart of the community would no longer be in the physical form, the day was meant for the community, in truth the extended “family” of students, artists and others, to come together through dance class with visiting master artists and an evening concert with the company that Zak Diouf founded, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company (meaning those who bring the message in Wolof). There are eight children in his lineage who are actively involved in sustaining the traditions as company dancers, drummers and teachers. With 12 grandchildren poised to participate, the Diouf family has and continues to contribute to making Oakland an epicenter for the study of African dance for over four decades. 

We share some history and perspective of Zakarya Diouf’s story and the Diouf legacy in the state of California on our website.
Engaging Tradition Video Series
Have you checked out ACTA's new video series, Engaging Tradition?
Engaging Tradition is a series of educational videos that share the histories, practices, and communities behind several of California’s cherished traditional art forms. From the impact of the slave trade on Cuban Rumba tradition to the stories of women at the forefront of African drumming traditions in California, these videos offer visualizations of history, personal narratives from culture bearers, and participatory demonstrations with artists, each contributing a thread to the rich cloth of our shared cultural heritage.

Take a look!
Click to hear ACTA Teaching Artist Mary Alfaro Velasco share her journey in the practice of Mexican guitar alongside 2018 ACTA mentor artist Jesus "Chuy" Martinez. You can browse through all 27 Engaging Tradition videos here.
Conversations with ACTA Community Documentarians

In celebration of the recent launch of ACTA's Sounds of California website and community archive, we invited three community documentarians to join us for live conversations on ACTA's Instagram channels. These Boyle Heights residents spent several months documenting local life and issues in their communities to contribute stories, sounds, and images to the Sounds of California project. Click below to hear about their experiences as documentarians and their reflections on what it means to belong in the community of Boyle Heights.
Conversaciones con las Documentalistas Comunitarias de ACTA

Para celebrar el reciente lanzamiento del sitio web y el archivo comunitario Sonidos de California de ACTA, invitamos a tres documentalistas de la comunidad acompañarnos para conversaciones en vivo en los canales de Instagram de ACTA. Estas residentes de Boyle Heights pasaron varios meses documentando la vida local y los problemas de sus comunidades para contribuir con historias, sonidos e imágenes al proyecto Sonidos de California. Haga clic a continuación para conocer sus experiencias como documentalistas y sus reflexiones sobre lo que significa pertenecer a la comunidad de Boyle Heights.
Margarita Gonzalez interviewed by ACTA Program Manager Betty Marín.
Martha Escudero interviewed by former ACTA intern Nestor Guerrero.
Eva Garcia interviewed by ACTA Program Manager, Quetzal Flores.

ACTA's offices will be closed December 24, 2021 - January 3, 2022. Our offices will reopen on Tuesday January 4, 2022.
FY23 NEA Funding Opportunities:
Guidelines and application materials for Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) and Challenge America funding are now available through the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA supports projects in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions. Grants for Arts Projects is the NEA's principal grants program for organizations based in the United States. Register now for the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar for potential applicants on January 12 at 3pm ET. Challenge America offers support primarily to small organizations for projects in all artistic disciplines that extend the reach of the arts to populations that are underserved. Register now for the Challenge America guidelines webinar for potential applicants on March 1 at 3pm ET.
DEADLINE: Various, beginning 02/10/2022

Are you looking for funding support for an upcoming public humanities event, library program, or media project? Do you want to learn more about grant programs that California Humanities has to offer? Join California Humanities staff for an informational session on California Humanities grant support for projects in the humanities on Jan. 12, 10-11 am PST. They will offer tips on preparing your proposal, discuss what makes an application competitive, share news, and leave plenty of time for your questions. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to ask questions of California Humanities staff. Register here.

California Humanities Current Grant Opportunities:
  • Humanities for All provides grants for locally initiated public humanities projects across the state.
  • California Documentary Project supports films, podcasts, and digital media projects that seek to document California in all its complexity. CDP NextGen grants are designed for youth media organizations in support of emerging California media makers age 18 and under. 
  • Library Innovation Lab supports the design and delivery of responsive and relevant public humanities programming in California’s public libraries.

The Department of Arts and Culture and the LA City/County Native American Indian Commission (NAIC) seek a Creative Strategist to work in partnership with NAIC as an artist-in-residence. This one-year residency will focus on increasing awareness, deepening understanding, and celebrating the diversity of local tribes and the LA County American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) community, in particular their histories and cultural practices, and will develop strategies and recommendations that contribute to building and sustaining trust between LA County and the AIAN community. Click here to learn more.
Deadline: 12/27/2021

The San Francisco Arts Commission seeks Bay Area individuals with expertise in the arts and culture field to participate in the peer review grant panels. This is a paid opportunity to be part of SFAC's ​grant-making process. Learn more.
DEADLINE: 02/04/2022
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.