Humboldt County Special Issue

Karuk artist and ceremonial leader Brian D. Tripp.
Karuk Master Artist Brian D. Tripp Receives the California Living Heritage Award

This month we had the honor of recognizing one of Native California's most prolific and beloved artists: Brian D. Tripp (Karuk). Brian is a visual artist, a poet, a ceremonial singer and dancer, a regalia maker, and a pillar in the indigenous community of Humboldt County. He has committed decades of his life to revitalizing ceremonial life in the Klamath River region, helping usher in a new era of artistic engagement in local indigenous culture.  As the recipient of the third-ever California Living Heritage Award, Brian represents the dedication, vision, and courage that allows California's cultural traditions to thrive for generations.

"The transformative cultural and artistic leadership of Brian D. Tripp and many of his peers have created new norms and opportunities for the next generation," said ACTA Executive Director Amy Kitchener. "This place, and the culture-bearers working here, for ACTA have been a guiding force, a north star of traditional arts and living cultural heritage where we can witness the power of community knowledge, aesthetics, and meaning in action."

The depth of Brian's impact was   palpable at the award ceremony, where a huge number of indigenous artists, elders, a nd community members joined in thanking and celebrating Brian. As part of the award, ACTA purchased one of Brian's works, featuring a Karuk creation story . It will hang proudly in our headquarters in Fresno as a reminder of California's robust native heritage.

Click  for more stories, photos, and videos about Brian, his work, and his life in Humboldt County.

Master artist Margaret Peters (left) and apprentice Nelia Marshall dig up spruce roots in a forest along the coast of Humboldt County.

Finding Roots: Traditional Basketry in Humboldt County

This year ACTA is supporting two Master-Apprentice pairs in Humboldt County in their practice of Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa baby basket weaving through our Apprenticeship Program. Baby baskets are supple, sturdy carriers that are meant to support a swaddled child. Master artist Dixie Rogers (Karuk) is working with her cousin and apprentice Julia McCovey (Yurok, Karuk), while master artist Margaret Peters (Yurok) is training her apprentice Nelia Marshall (Hupa). Both master artists are former ACTA apprentices themselves, exemplifying how the apprenticeship system allows artists to grow into expert practitioners poised to continue the transmission of traditional knowledge.

Master artist Dixie Rogers (left) holding the first baby basket she ever made, with apprentice Julia McCovey; tools of the trade; master artist Margaret Peters (left) holds freshly foraged spruce roots with her apprentice Nelia Marshall.

Creating a baby basket from scratch is a highly detailed and labor-intensive process, beginning with the gathering of materials. We had the opportunity to go into the field with both apprenticeship pairs to document them as they foraged for spruce roots along the coast. The places we visited are traditional foraging sites that have been passed down along family lines for generations. Keep an eye our social media channels (Instagram Facebook, and Twitter ) to see more photos and videos of these artists at work in the forest.
 ACTA staff, board members, and community partners gathered at the historic Requa Inn on the banks of the Klamath River in Humboldt County, CA.
Exploring the Klamath River Region

As part of our time in northern California, we were able to learn about the history, challenges, and reaffirming traditions of local tribal communities. ACTA's board and staff were joined by California Arts Council Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford for a day on the Klamath River.  Tradition-bearers Alme Allen (Karuk, Yurok), Willard Carlson Jr. (Yurok) and NEA National Heritage Fellow Loren Bommelyn (Tolowa) shared stories of how the Klamath River region has been undergoing a renaissance of native culture in recent decades. In the face of destruction following settler colonialism, tribal people in Humboldt County have been revitalizing key traditions such as ceremonial dances, song, basketry, and regalia-making. ACTA is proud to have supported the inspiring growth and regeneration of this part of Native California. We are grateful to the tribal community members who took the time to share their life histories with our staff, board, and partners!
California Arts Council Grants:  Applications are now available for 15 grant programs in the new season of California Arts Council grants, with two additional opportunities opening later this year. The council is awarding $21.3 million to arts and culture projects supporting access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning. Click to learn about the available opportunities and to see a schedule of free  informational webinars.

California Arts Council Seeks Panelists to Evaluate Grant Applications:  Apply now to serve as part of a California Arts Council peer-review panel for the 2018-19 grant season! Candidates must be CA residents with in-depth experience in various art practices and disciplines, including arts learning for youth, creative placemaking and cultural development, juvenile and social justice, nonprofit management, working with veteran populations and people with disabilities, and related fields. Young professionals and experienced cultural workers, artists, and arts policy makers are encouraged to apply. Panelists will receive an honorarium for their service--$100 for each meeting day in Sacramento. Apply online. Deadline: 11/15/18 (second deadline on 01/15/19)

Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists:   These fellowships of $33,000 are available to dance artists who have substantive practice of working through dance to address social change within one or more communities. Artists funded must have dedicated their practice to directly and meaningfully addressing the needs of one or more community(s). Fellowship funds would be used at the artist's discretion to support costs related their practice, which may include the creation of work. Deadline for letter of inquiry: 11/16/18
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts is the California Arts Council's official partner in serving the state's folk and traditional arts field.
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