ACTAvando Contra COVID
Activating Public Health Through Traditional Arts
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) is is excited to announce five new works in Spanish and Mixtec language in music, poetry and theater by four beloved Latinx artists and ensembles in the San Joaquin Valley! These new pieces all animate public health messaging for the prevention of COVID-19 in the valley, a region which has experienced both a high level of infection and low vaccination rates during the pandemic. Through regional music, multilingual poetry, and even a radio drama, these artists are encouraging San Joaquin Valley residents to get vaccinated and protect their communities and families from COVID-19.

ACTA's program is one of 14 public art projects organized by the CA Governor's Office and the Sierra Health Foundation.

Featured works:
Photo: Lizzeth Mendoza.
Valona pal Covid
by Los Originarios del Plan

A traditional Harpa Grande group playing music from the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacan, Mexico.
Photo courtesy the artists.
Chilena Covid 19
by Grupo Recreación Musical

An indigenous Mixtec Chilena band singing in both Spanish and Mixteco.
Photo: J. Emerling/ACTA.
Tantos Años Juntos
by Juan Felipe Herrera

A new poem by Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus, interpreted in Mixtec by Miguel Villegas Ventura (aka Una Isu).
Photo: Alan Govenar.
La Canción del Covid
by Carmencristina Moreno

The 2003 NEA National Heritage Fellow sings on the importance of masking and vaccination.
Photo: J. Emerling/ACTA.
'¡Vacúnate, Prudencio!'
Written and directed by Juan Felipe Herrera
Performed by Teatro Familia Feliz

The group presents a traditional radio carpa, or radio drama.
And be sure to check out the lyric videos for the songs, also viewable on our YouTube page!
ACTAvando on the Ground
Last week ACTA was in Arvin, CA, at La Fiesta Patronal de San Juan, the annual sacred celebration of the patron saint of San Juan Mixtepec in the Juxtlahuaca District of the Mixteca Region, Oaxaca, Mexico. Before that we had the pleasure of presenting ACTAvando songs at the weekly flea market or remate in Madera, CA. Despite the heat wave, our artists offered engaging pop-up performances throughout the day, encouraging local residents to get vaccinated and tested for COVID-19.

Read more about ACTAvando on the ground in this news article from Vida en el Valle!
The ACTAvando team at a public event at the Madera Fairgrounds on June 13, 2021. Photo: J. Emerling/ACTA.
Grupo Recreación Musical plays their Chilena COVID-19 at La Fiesta de San Juan in Arvin. Photo: H. Morales/ACTA.
COVID-19 testing at the remate in Madera. Photo: J. Emerling/ACTA.
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L: Tagumpay de Leon, photo by Steve Walag. R: Los Lobos, photo by Piero F. Giunti.
California Artists Awarded 2021 NEA National Heritage Fellowships
Congratulations to the beloved California artists honored this year with the 2021 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts: Philippine Rondalla master and ACTA mentor artist Tagumpay de Leon of Burbank and Mexican-American rock band Los Lobos of Los Angeles!

The NEA’s National Heritage Fellowship is our nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. These lifetime honor awards highlight the “breadth and excellence of the artistic traditions found in communities all across the United States.” We are excited to see cultural leaders of California honored this year.

“We are thrilled to see the unique legacies of Tagumpay Mendoza De Leon and Los Lobos recognized as National Heritage Fellows by the NEA. These California awardees have made seminal contributions in their musical genres of Filipinx Rondalla and Chicanx Rock—to interpret, innovate and expand the traditional musical heritage of California and the nation."
-Amy Kitchener, Executive Director
Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Queering Tradition, the Playlist!
To celebrate Pride this year, we put together a community-sourced Spotify playlist that highlights music inspired by (but not exclusive to) California’s many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Non-Binary, Queer and Two-Spirit traditional artists rooted in a traditional cultural expression. Check it out to hear work by legends like Chavela Vargas to our very own ACTA artist fellows like Vaneza Calderón of Los Angeles.

Have a suggestion for this playlist?
We'd love to hear your recommendations!
New Video: Restorative Quilting with Juana Mena
Learn how ACTA helps seed restorative justice practices in the community of Boyle Heights through the transformative work of Building Healthy Communities Artist Fellow and quilter, Juana Mena, with mothers and educators at Roosevelt High School.

Aprendan como la Alianza para las Artes Tradicionales en California (ACTA por sus siglas en inglés) ayuda a iniciar prácticas de justicia restaurativa en la comunidad de Boyle Heights por medio del trabajo transformativo de la artista becaria y creadora de cobijas de parches (quilts), Juana Mena, con mamás de la Prepa Roosevelt.

Afro-Peruvian Fest
June 26-27, 2021
ACTA is pleased to support the 2021 Afro-Peruvian Fest through our Living Cultures Grant Program! This year the Oakland-based festival will have FREE workshops and concerts online to celebrate Afro-Peruvian culture month. Spread the word!

Grants for Arts Projects is the National Endowment for the Arts’ principal grants program for organizations based in the United States. Through project-based funding, the program supports public engagement with, and access to, various forms of art across the nation, the creation of excellent art, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. The Arts Endowment encourages applications from a variety of eligible organizations, e.g., with small, medium, or large budgets, and from rural to urban communities. Similarly, projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

DEADLINE: 7/08/2021

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 closures on the local arts community, the Small Arts Grants program is accepting applications for general operating support during the fall 2021 review cycle from 501(c)(3) nonprofit and fiscally sponsored organizations. In addition, post-production support for film projects directed by Bay Area filmmakers with budgets under $750,000 will be considered in this program, if applying with an eligible fiscal sponsor or nonprofit production company. All other project-specific support, however, remains suspended for this cycle. The Foundation seeks to fund a broad range of arts groups that produce and present innovative new work by Bay Area artists. It strives to make grants that support a diverse array of artistic disciplines, aesthetic sensibilities, and forms of cultural expression. They prioritize grant requests that best support working artists and place particular emphasis on funding groups that represent and engage marginalized artists and communities. Grants in this program range from $1,000 to $10,000 and are usually between $2,000 and $5,000.

DEADLINE: 07/15/2021
The National Endowment for the Arts has released guidelines and application materials for two programs to distribute American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. These programs are open to nonprofit arts and culture organizations and local arts agencies, regardless of whether they have received NEA funding in the past. This is a change from previous emergency funding requirements at the NEA and significantly expands access to federal funds for the arts and culture sector.

The NEA encourages applications from first-time applicants, and will offer workshops, question-and-answer sessions, and other resources for those new to federal funding.

DEADLINE: 08/12/2021
Applying for a federal grant for the first time? Prior to applying for an NEA grant, you must first obtain a DUNS number and register at and More information and resources that can assist you in the registration process can be found here.
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