Congress Appoints ACTA’s Amy Kitchener to Trustee Position at the Library of Congress

Amy Kitchener

California’s traditional artists and arts advocates have a new representative at our nation’s official repository for archival folklife materials. Executive Director and ACTA Co-Founder, Amy Kitchener, received her Congressional Appointment to serve on the Board of Trustees for the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress on February 27, 2017.

$7 Million Budget Appropriated for California Arts Council :: Your Help is Still Needed!

Last week, the Legislative Budget Conference Committee voted 8-0 to approve an appropriation of $7 million from the general fund for 2014-15 to the California Arts Council (CAC).  This is a major increase from previous years' general fund allocations which have hovered just over $1 million since 2003 when the budget was cut from $32 million.  Most of the conferees took this opportunity to speak glowingly about the value of the arts to the community, to children, to adults, and to the economy of our state.  Senator Mark Leno also reinforced the need for a dedicated funding str

Immigrant Artists, Culture and Community Health: ACTA at Grantmakers in the Arts

Master artists Juana Gomez (left), Charya Cheam Burt (middle) and Apprenticeship Program Manager Russell Rodríguez (right) at last month's Grantmakers in the Arts conference in Miami.The Alliance for CA Traditional Arts (ACTA) is part of a professional organization known as Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), which annually convenes to discuss issues of philanthropy and service to the field.  As part of a pre-conference this year on the topic of arts from immigrant communities, ACTA’s executive director, Amy Kitchener, served as moderator for the State of the Union panel, "Arts in Immigrant and Refugee Communities," and we were also privileged to organize a panel to reflect this wide topic which reflects so much of our constituency of traditional artists, the majority of whom are part of immigrant communities.  While ACTA has developed relationships and knowledge of many immigrant communities throughout California, we felt it was important and compelling to bring the artists themselves as first voices to represent this topic at the Miami conference last month.

Act Now! Share Your Support for Measures 30 & 38

Propositions 30 and 38 provide urgently needed funding for California's schools.  Without the funding they provide, the results for education as a whole and arts education will be dire.

Please help ACTA spread the word about these important propositions by sharing a post on Facebook, writing an email to colleagues, or recording and sharing a short video about why you support these measures.  Below you'll find all the materials you need to support these campaigns and get the word out to your colleagues and community.

Help ACTA shine a light on California's traditional arts organizations!

The NEA is celebrating Arts and Humanities month by inviting the public to nominate an arts/culture organization in their community to be highlighted on the NEA Facebook page between October 1-31.  Each day's featured organization will be selected by members of the NEA Public Affairs staff.

SB 789 Would Include Creativity in Assessment of Students and Schools

Last month, the California State Sentae approved a bill that would create an index to measure student opportunities for creativity and innovation in schools.  If passed, SB 789 would provide a tangible way to measure and inspire learning opportunities that nurture creativity and innovation in California's public schools.

ACTA encourages you to learn more about SB 789 by visiting California Alliance for Arts Education's website and reading a recent article from the Huffington Post.

Act Now! Contact Your Legislators to Keep Arts in the Budget

Act Now!

The NEA faces a challenging course in securing its budget this year–ACTA urges you to take a few minutes and contact your Members of Congress and Senators to support the NEA in the budget and to tell them that the arts means jobs!  Please visit: The Arts Action Center at

ACTA Hosts NEA Chairman: Highlighting the San Joaquin Valley on a National Level

By Eric Cesar Morales, Intern, Alliance for California Traditional Arts

Downtown cultural arts tour group posed in front of Renoir's La Grand Laveuse.On May 24-25, 2011, the Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), Rocco Landesman, visited the San Joaquin Valley in response to a formal invitation extended by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.  Accompanying him were Jamie Bennett, the Director of Public Affairs for the NEA, and Anita Decker, Chief of Staff and White House Liaison for the NEA.  For the arts organizations and artists in the valley, this was a momentous occasion as it marked the first time in history that any Chair of the NEA has come to the area, giving the valley the opportunity to showcase local arts and culture, potentially ushering in a time where the Central Valley would gain greater visibility, no longer neglected as attention and resources are channeled largely to the Bay Area and Southern California.

Tell Us Your Story About a National Heritage Fellow and Read What Others Are Saying

JMaster Filipino kulintang musician and 1995 National Heritage Fellow Danongan Kalanduyan.oin us in sharing your stories about National Heritage Fellows as we continue to document the far-reaching meaning and impact of this vital National Endowment for the Arts program.  Please take this quick 5-minute survey to tell us about an experience you’ve had with a fellow or by participating in a traditional arts experience.  Follow this link to share your story:

ACTA will continue to compile and share the results with you, the field, and policy-makers in an effort to articulate the value that the National Heritage Fellowships and the folk & traditional arts field bring to our communities – locally, nationally, and globally.

Del McCoury Protests the NEA Plan to abolish the National Heritage Fellowships

Last week, the Washington Post arts and culture blog ran a story about National Heritage Fellow and Bluegrass legend Del McCoury who is against the National Endowment for the Arts plans to abolish the popular National Heritage Fellowships beginning in 2012.  In this budget cycle, the NEA has proposed taking the Jazz Master Fellowships, the National Heritage Fellowships and the NEA Opera Honors and creating a new honorific called NEA American Artists of the Year.

McCoury sent out a letter to the hundreds of recipients of the Heritage awards, who include basketmakers, boatmakers, quilters, fiddlers and stonemasons. “It’s now particularly disturbing to hear,” about the plans, he wrote. “All of us must take immediate action to keep this from happening.”   To read more go to: Del McCoury protests the NEA plan to merge its honorary awards.

Thank Governor -Elect Jerry Brown for His Support of the Arts

Join ACTA and the Arts in the California Governor's Race campaign in thanking Governor-Elect Jerry Brown for his support of the arts.  Not only did Governor-Elect Brown give his victory speech at the Oakland School for the Arts, he also mentioned the importance of creativity!  Please take a moment to send an email to thank Jerry Brown for his support of the arts.

ACTA Participates in the National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities

More than 70% of people with disabilities are not in the labor force, and those who wish to pursue a career in the arts face difficult challenges.  On July 22-24, 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented a National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities.  The first such gathering since 1998, this National Summit was initiated to review progress over the past decade concerning education, arts training, and job opportunities for people with disabilities who are pursuing arts careers; and develop recommendations and best practices for advancing arts careers for people with disabilities.  Other federal agencies participating included the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

ACTA’s Executive Director Amy Kitchener was invited to participate at the National Summit, to make a presentation about her experiences in working with traditional artists who are unintentionally prevented from participating as grantees and recipients of cash awards due to their government assistance requirements limiting income.

Petition for a Secretary of the Arts

Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts.  While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, the United States has never created such a position.  We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts – now more than ever.  Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

Berkeley’s Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai Buddhist Temple Faces Zoning Board

Save the Thai Temple graphicBerkeley Thai Temple Makes a Final Push for Public Support Before Zoning Board Hearing on January 22, 2009

The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) members will hold a final hearing on January 22, 2009, where a vote to grant or deny the permit to continue the Sunday Food Offering Tradition will be determined.

By Debbie Sheen, Veena Dubal, Siwaraya Rochanahusdin,