The Alliance for California Traditional Arts promotes and supports ways for cultural traditions to thrive now and into the future by providing advocacy, resources, and connections for folk and traditional artists and their communities. 

Guidelines and applications are now available  for our 2018 funding opportunities.
The Living Cultures Grants Program seeks to sustain and strengthen the folk and traditional arts in the state of California with grants of $5,000 to California-based nonprofits, as well as other organizations who work with fiscal sponsors.  Application deadline: July 17, 2017
The Apprenticeship Program encourages the continuity of California's traditional arts and cultures by contracting master artists to offer intensive, one-on-one training to qualified apprentices. Each $3,000 contract will support a period of concentrated learning for apprentices demonstrate a committed engagement with and talent for a specific folk and traditional art form or practice.   Application deadline: July 17, 2017 
Join ACTA staff to learn more about our programs and how to apply at one of our upcoming webinars:                              
  • June 7 @ 6pm (Spanish)
  • June 13 @ 12 noon
To sign up, email us at or call  559-237-9812.
Omnira Institute members joined us after their rehearsal to share some of the work they are doing in the community for healing and well-being. L to R back: Estrella Ramey holding her newborn, Honestly Ramey 
and Wanda Ravernell; Front L to R: Sosu Randolph, Tobaji Stewart, Calvin Holmes. Lily Kharrazi/ACTA.

Common Threads and a Shared Purpose at Bay Area 
Grantee Gathering
by Lily Kharrazi

A core principle guiding ACTA's work is to provide opportunities for artists, activists, and cultural leaders to share their arts practices, their issues or concerns, and to celebrate their differences. These gatherings occur through our free and open to the public  Traditional Arts Roundtable Series  throughout the state, and each spring in the Bay Area for our grantees of the Apprenticeship and Living Cultures programs. Under the auspices of the  Walter and Elise Haas Fund , who are a core supporter of ACTA's work, we invite our grantees to meet one another, share art, food, and engage in topics of discussion.  It is often at these events that seemingly disparate peoples find much in common. We have been convening annually since 2008 with new organizations and artists each year and many who we welcome back as they grow and mature into their artistic and cultural practices.

Demonstrators with the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (or KIWA) participating in
the May Day 2017 #RESIST march in downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy KIWA.

June 20: Los Angeles Uprising, 25 Years Later (1992-2017) 

The next event in our Traditional Arts Roundtable Series will reflect on the ways in which diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles affected by the LA Uprising have used cultural art forms to heal, connect and build bridges across cultures and generations. 

How do neighborhoods initiate, create and sustain partnerships in the arts? What were some initiatives in the past 25 years? What are the lessons learned from these cross-cultural exchanges? Do we have a deeper understanding of each other now than 25 years ago? This Roundtable will take place at the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), a multi-ethnic organization founded in 1992  that seeks to strengthen progressive, immigrant worker leadership as part of a broad-based movement for social change.

#SAVEtheNEA: Trump's Proposed Budget Released

On May 23, President Trump released the  full details of his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018, beginning on October 1, 2017.

The detailed reports continue the same misguided termination ideas of our nation's cultural grant-making institutions, including proposed termination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the Assistance for Arts Education program, among others. The President's proposed budget includes funds only for the cost of closing these agencies.

TAKE 2 MINUTES NOW to contact your members of Congress and join us in asking them to #SAVEtheNEA. Like many other independent cultural organizations, many of ACTA's programs and work in rural and urban communities across our state are made possible through support from 
the NEA.

From the ACTA Archive: 
Danny 'Slapjazz' Barber and Sekani Thomas --
 An Apprenticeship in Hambone, or Patting Juba, 2009 (VIDEO)

We're starting a new series showcasing material from ACTA's rich collection of films and photography documenting the many experiences and creative expressions of California's folk and traditional arts.
In 2009, former ACTA Program Manager Sherwood Chen documented Master artist Danny 'Slapjazz' Barber (Spring Valley) and his apprentice Sekani Thomas (San Diego). They focused their Apprenticeship on hambone, or patting Juba, an African-American tradition which stems from life under slavery in the United States.
Barber stated, "it is important for people of my culture to see the beauty that rose out of oppression, and that they should take pride in the struggle that has brought us to this day." Rife with complex cadences, hambone demands ambidexterity and a refined sense of polyrhythm and unison.

Follow Along with ACTA's Social Feeds!

Keep up with ACTA as we expand our digital engagement in the coming months, with artist profiles, short films, dispatches from the field, and more.

With the support of the James Irvine Foundation, Zócalo Public Square presents a free, one-day conference on June 25th in Los Angeles , centered around the question: "What Can the World Teach California About Arts Engagement?" 

Scheduled speakers and panelists include Steven Tepper, author of Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest Over Art and Culture in America; the Asia Society's Vice President for Global Arts Programming Boon Hui Tan; Middle East Institute Arts & Culture Program Director Lyne Sneige; and Luz María Sánchez, Arts and Humanities chair at Mexico's Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Lerma. 

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts is the California Arts Council's official partner in serving the state's folk & traditional arts field.
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