Celebrate the Sounds of California in San Francisco's Bayview on Sunday, April. 29

Please join us for a lively afternoon of music and conversations at the historic Bayview Opera House. The event is hosted by Rhodessa Jones , co-artistic director of Cultural Odyssey theater company in San Francisco.

(L) The Omnira Institute will share West African musical traditions at Sounds of California. Photo: L. Kharrazi/ACTA. (R) 
Özden Öztoprak passes along Kurdish Alevi musical traditions to her daughter Isik Berfin. Photo Credit: Kutay D. Kugay 
  • Omnira Institute creates connections between the African-American experience and African spirituality through their sacred drumming and chants. 
  • Özden Öztoprak and Isik Berfin are a mother-daughter duo from Turkey's ethnic minority Kurdish-Alevi community, which has historically suffered persecution. 
  • La Familia Peña-Govea is a family of musicians who perform traditional Mexican songs with an activist Chicano perspective. 
Wilfried Souly (L) and Aaron Kwesi Mason (R) at the Djanjoba drumming & dance festival in Los Angeles. Photo: Sonia Narang/ACTA.
Congratulations to ACTA-supported Wilfried Souly, Aaron Kwesi Mason, and Souly Dance Arts!

Wilfried Souly is a dancer/choreographer originally from the West African nation of Burkina Faso. As a master artist in African dance, Souly will mentor his apprentice Aaron Kwesi Mason in the traditional dance forms of West Africa's Mandé region. Souly also received ACTA's Living Cultures grant this year to support the Djanjoba drum and dance festival in Los Angeles.

At the festival, we caught up with both master and apprentice, and here's what they had to say:

Wilfried Souly We are thinking of using African dancing as a way of healing people. Aaron is a therapist for people with trauma, and we will find healing ways in which dance and music can support others. This form of art is a way of living, and it teaches a lot about ourselves and about people around us. It teaches us a lot about life.

Aaron Kwesi Mason I've always wanted to delve deeper into the tradition of West African dance, and I've always wanted a close mentorship with someone. It means a lot to be able to work really closely with somebody I admire so much. This will definitely increase my knowledge and understanding of the drum and the dance, but also the culture. This [apprenticeship] is how the tradition is passed down on the Continent. That's how you really absorb something.

Congress Rejects Trump Administration's Proposal to Eliminate NEA

In a victory for arts advocates, congressional leaders rejected the Trump administration's proposal to terminate funding for federal arts programs. Instead, the new budget released on March 21 allocates $152.8 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and the same amount for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). That's a $2 million increase for both, and this spending bill is expected to pass. 
Last month, the White House released its proposed 2019 budget to Congress, officially calling for the elimination of all federal funds for the NEA and the NEH. This is the second year in a row that President Trump has called on Congress to terminate the budgets of these agencies.  For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans. In California, the NEA has awarded more than $9 million annually to arts groups across the state. A newly-released report explains that the arts contribute more than $760 billion to the U.S. economy, and employ almost 5 million workers across the United States.

Stay up to date on the state of federal funding for the arts and humanities via Americans for the Arts.
CA$H Grants for Bay Area Dance Artists Due April 9
This provides grants of $3,000 for projects by San Francisco Bay Area's individual dance artists and organizations with budgets under $100,000. Applications are due by April 9, 2018.  Click here to learn more and apply to this grant. 

CERF+ Disaster Relief Grants for Artists
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund  ( CERF+) provides a safety net for artists who are impacted in natural disasters. Grants up to $6,000 and no-interest loans are available for eligible artists working in craft disciplines who have faced a career-threatening emergency. CERF+ also offers emergency preparedness grants. Click here to apply. 

Hewlett Grants Due April 20
Applications for this year's Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions are now open. Bay Area nonprofits can apply for grants of $150,000 to commission new works of theater, musical theater, and spoken word from world-class artists and premiere them in local communities. Applications are due by April 20, 2018. Click here for full details. 

Native Cultures Fund Grants Due May 1
The Native Cultures Fund supports the cultural revitalization of California's Native people through grants from $1,000 to $10,000. Preference will be given to proposals that include art projects by Native artists, cultural mentorship between generations, and/or creation of California Indian cultural models. Individuals, organizations, or community partnerships may apply by May 1. Click here for the application. 
Dance/USA Annual Conference in Los Angeles June 6-9
The Dance/USA 2018 Conference takes place in Los Angeles from June 6-9, 2018. The conference includes discussions and practical breakout sessions, and programming is shaped around issues of equity and justice, community and collaboration, audience development, and preservation and legacy. Click here to learn about scholarships.   
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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