Building Justice from the Source: Traditional Artists Respond to this Moment

A National Online Panel

On July 23, 2020, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts co-hosted a national online panel titled Building Justice from the Source, bringing together five remarkable leaders representing various art forms and geographies to discuss how traditional expressions can contribute to building justice in a time of need.

View the full panel video below.

The economic and social structures that have held and sustained traditional artists for a long time, such as cultural tourism, marketplaces, and cultural institutions, have come to a sudden stop or slowed down significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does this impact tradition bearers’ ability to make a living? How do the current health, racial, and economic challenges affect communities’ ability to transmit culture, cultivate or harvest materials, teach others, learn from and care for elders?

During these convulsive times, traditional artists elevate their voices with clarity and purpose directly from the source of expressive community life and strength.

In the Building Justice from the Source panel, the presenters discuss how the embedded ways of knowing in traditional cultural expression can facilitate building justice, problem solving, and creating wellness. They draw from the depth of their work among communities highly impacted by the present crisis to speak to the unique ways that traditional arts practices contribute to resilient and sustainable strategies for long-term health and wellbeing.

Presented by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and Southwest Folklife Alliance.

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