The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) supports the work of California traditional artists spanning hundreds of art forms, from cowboy poetry and African American quilting, to Hmong qeej music and queer voguing dance competitions.
In 2017, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts marks 20 amazing years of serving California’s folk and traditional artists. Over our 20 year history, ACTA has
- invested $5.2 million into the folk and traditional arts field
- awarded grants to 590 traditional arts organizations
- supported 314 master artists and their apprentices
- worked in 50 of California’s 58 counties
- served 17 state prisons with our Arts in Corrections traditional arts workshops
ACTA’s programs are dedicated to sustaining and fostering the growth of cultural traditions, pluralism, and respect. Here are three of ACTA’s arts engagement programs that shone in 2017, providing a powerful counterpoint to the difficult political changes felt across the United States.
Arts in Corrections
ACTA offers traditional artist residencies in half of California’s prison system, facilitating workshops for inmates that are based in musical forms like Afro-Colombian percussion, Mexican folk guitar, storytelling, and visual art forms like Native American beadwork, Chicano murals, and altar building.
Watch a new video on this year’s workshops at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.
Read more about the Arts in Corrections program.
Community Leadership Project
The Community Leadership Project is a 7-year initiative to provide resources and technical support to bolster the capacity of San Joaquin Valley traditional arts organizations run by people of color, immigrants, and refugees working in low-income communities.
This unique opportunity provided multi-year general operating support grants, peer learning, coaching, and customized training. The work with 11 San Joaquin Valley organizations distributed close to 1 million dollars in support and technical assistance making a change in people’s lives.
Read more about the Community Leadership Project.
Building Healthy Communities in Boyle Heights
Since 2011, in partnership with the California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities - Boyle Heights has invested in arts and culture as an essential resource in the struggle for health impacts and systems change in abandoned communities. The Alliance for California Traditional Arts has served as a key protagonist in lifting up traditional artists and their cultural convening methods as important vehicles for exercising and sustaining opposition to injustice and proposition for a collective future.
Read more about this work in our new report, Building Healthy Communities: Approaching Community Health Through Heritage and Culture in Boyle Heights.
This holiday season, make a gift that will impact and help California’s cultural communities thrive.
Our goal for the 2017 Donor Campaign is to raise $10,000. ACTA’s role has always been to support our artists and to learn from their communities. Would you consider making a gift—perhaps $20 or $200 or (goodness!) $2,000 for ACTA’s 20th anniversary—and help us continue our work? Or better yet, give a little once a month in the form of a recurring gift throughout the year.
We are standing at a critical point for American arts and culture, as the public and country debates the nature of citizenship, culture, and community.
ACTA believes that traditional arts can inspire innovative thought and that passionate investment has the potential to build cultural bridges and ignite artistic, social, and civic change. You too, can be part of that change.
Karuk youth at coming of age ceremony. Photo: Sarah Liz Photography, 2017.