November 6, 2010

Mexican folklorico dancers at Centro de Unidad Popular Benito Juarez, Inc.'s 2009 Guelagetza celebration.ACTA announces the launch of its Traditional Arts Sustainability Grants program.  This program aims to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations serving low-income communities and communities of color in the Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley.  This initiative is supported by a joint partnership between the David & Lucile Packard, James Irvine and William & Flora Hewlett Foundations as part of their Community Leadership Project.

ACTA is awarding $210,000 in grants to eight nonprofit organizations in Monterey, Merced, Fresno, Kings and Kern Counties.  These grants will provide core operating support and capacity building training and coaching.  These organizations focus their work in a wide array of ethnic communities and cultural expressions, including traditional Mexican dance, mariachi music, Hmong traditional music, Chicano theatre, and the preservation of native Kawaiisu languages and knowledge.

Executive Director Amy Kitchener expressed, “We are honored to be the only arts organization chosen to regrant funds through the statewide Community Leadership Project cohort of 27 intermediaries.  The TAS grants will not only provide operational support for these often undercapitalized exemplary organizations working in the folk & traditional arts, but the program will also enhance their staff’s ability to sustain their vital artistic programs in their communities for years to come.”

The eight grant recipients and their awards are:

An altar by local altarista Maria Ortiz at Arte Américas' 2006 Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit.Arte Américas (Fresno County) is a Latino-focused arts center with a broad range of programs including presentations of folk musicians and dance groups, as well as exhibitions of folk arts such as Oaxacan textiles, Altares de Muerto (altars for Day of the Dead) and traditional Mexican nacimientos (nativity scenes).  Grant amount: $30,000.

Caminos del Arte (Monterey County) is a community-based organization with over 12-years of experience working with low-income youth teaching them mariachi music and a variety of Latino-folkloric dances (e.g. Aztec dances, salsa and merengue).  Grant amount: $23,750.

Centro de Unidad Popular Benito Juarez, Inc. (Kern County) is grassroots organization focused on disseminating and maintaining the culture and traditions of the Oaxacan indigenous communities, through the organization of events such as the annual Guelaguetza, Dia de Muertos and Mixtec Festival.  Grant amount: $23,750.

Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center (Kern County) supports indigenous Kawaiisu traditional arts and culture since 2002 by providing workshops in Kawaiisu language, traditional stories, basketmaking, foodways, and medicine.  Grant amount: $30,000.

Members of Mariachi Los Reyes, Kings County Regional Traditional Folk Arts' youth mariachi.Kings County Regional Traditional Folks Arts (Kings County) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering traditional music, dance and visual arts by providing children and youth a wide array of classes including mariachi music, Mexican folkloric dance, and hip hop.  Grant amount: $30,000.

Merced Lao Family Community, Inc. (Merced County) primarily serves the Southeast Asian American community. It promotes Hmong folk arts by teaching low-income children and youth traditional dances and music, and the meaning of traditional clothing, language and stories.  Grant amount: $30,000.

Teatro de la Tierra (Fresno County) Teatro de la Tierra is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Mexican and Latin American art and culture. Since 1971 it has produced high-quality performance of theater and music that represent the cultural heritage of Mexicans, Chicanos, and Latinos, specifically Chicano theater, a descendant of the popular carpa style of theater that developed in Mexico in the late 1800’s.  Grant amount: $30,000.

The Way Ministries (Fresno County) is a faith-based organization that teaches African-American culture to children of all ethnic backgrounds. The Saturday School program focus in teaching Nigerian Igbo language, dances and music to youth in southwest Fresno.  Grant amount: $2,500.