Community Soundscapes:
The Women Documenting Neighborhood Life in Boyle Heights during COVID-19

As part of our Sounds of California program, ACTA commissioned three long-time residents of Boyle Heights leaders who have strong connections to community work in their neighborhoods to document the expressive sights, sounds and stories that they felt reflected the heart of belonging in their neighborhood—Martha Escudero, Margarita Gonzalez, and Eva Garcia. ACTA Media and Archives Intern Nestor Guerrero takes us inside the work of these three women as they build a community archive of Boyle Heights:

"While familiarizing myself with the content these women collected, I noticed how they exist in multitudes—simultaneously taking on the roles of mothers, compañeras, community activists, organizers, health advocates, and now, documentarians. Although I’ve never met them in person, Eva, Martha, and Margarita radiated the kind of warmth that I could only recognize in my tías. In a way, as an archivist it was my job to live vicariously through their lives while assigning digital tags to the intimate snippets of sounds, images, and footage that made up the lifeblood of their work. There was an innate familiarity that I could sense in the footage they stood behind—a mutual sense of recognition existed in every conversation they had and the connection they made with their fellow neighbors."

Paisajes Sonoros Comunitarios:
Las mujeres que documentan la vida del vecindario en Boyle Heights durante COVID

Como parte de nuestro programa ‘Sonidos de California,’ ACTA comisionó a tres líderes de Boyle Heights que tienen fuertes conexiones con el trabajo comunitario en sus vecindarios para documentar las vistas, sonidos e historias expresivas que para ellas reflejan el corazón de la pertenencia en su comunidad—Martha Escudero, Margarita González y Eva García. El pasante de Archivos y Medios de ACTA, Nestor Guerrero, nos lleva dentro del trabajo de las tres mujeres mientras construyen un archivo comunitario de Boyle Heights: 

“Mientras me familiarizaba con el contenido que estas mujeres recolectaban, noté cómo ellas existen en multitudes —asumiendo simultáneamente el papel de madres, compañeras, activistas de la comunidad, organizadoras, defensoras de la salud, y ahora documentalistas. Aunque nunca las he conocido en persona, Eva, Martha y Margarita irradiaron la calidez que sólo podía reconocer en mis tías. De cierto modo, como archivista, mi trabajo era vivir de manera indirecta a través de sus vidas mientras asignaba etiquetas digitales a los íntimos fragmentos de sonidos, imágenes y filmaciones que conformaban el alma de su trabajo. Había una familiaridad innata que podía sentir en las imágenes que tenían detrás —existía un sentido mutuo de reconocimiento en cada conversación que tenían y la conexión que hacían con sus compañerxs vecinxs.”
Three Boyle Heights residents documenting local life and issues as Sounds of California community documentarians. From left to right: Margarita Gonzalez, Martha Escudero, and Eva Garcia.
Tres residentes de Boyle Heights que documentan la vida y los problemas locales como documentalistas comunitarios para los Sonidos de California. De izquierda a derecha: Margarita González, Martha Escudero y Eva García.
California Relief Grant: DEADLINE MARCH 23

Round 4 of the CA Relief Grant is now open, and it focuses on arts and culture!

Governor Newsom recently signed into law a comprehensive $2 billion package providing urgent relief for the small businesses of CA. A portion of the package has been allocated for non-profit cultural institutions. This is a new program and will have a separate application process from previous rounds of the California Relief Grant.

Here are some quick FAQs to help you navigate through the Arts & Cultural Program:

What are the key dates for Round 4 (The Arts & Cultural Program)?
Open: March 16th, 2021
Close: March 23rd, 2021
Start of Selection Notification: March 26th, 2021

Who qualifies for the Arts & Cultural Program (Round 4)?
The Arts & Cultural program is only available for certain eligible nonprofit cultural institutions. “Eligible nonprofit cultural institution” means a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity that satisfies the criteria for a qualified small business (click HERE for definition in the Program and Application Guide) but with no limitation on annual gross revenue, and that is in one of the following North American Industry Classification System codes:

453920 - Art Dealers
711110 - Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters
711120 - Dance Companies
711130 - Musical Groups and Artists
711190 - Other Performing Arts Companies
711310 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities
711320 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without Facilities
711410 - Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures
711510 - Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
712110 - Museums
712130 - Zoos and Botanical Gardens
712190 - Nature Parks & Other Similar Institutions

I am an eligible nonprofit cultural institution and have applied in earlier rounds. Do I need to submit a new application?
YES. Nonprofit cultural institutions for the Arts & Cultural Program will be required to complete a new application even if you already applied for the COVID-19 Relief Grant Program; however, you will not be awarded a grant if you have already received one.
What is the grant size?
Lendistry will make available three award sizes based on gross annual revenue: (i) $5,000 awards for eligible applicants with gross annual revenue of at least $1,000 up to $100,000 in the 2019 taxable year; (ii) $15,000 awards for eligible applicants with gross annual revenue greater than $100,000 up to $1,000,000 in the 2019 taxable year; and (iii) $25,000 awards for eligible applicants with gross annual revenue greater than $1,000,000 in the 2019 taxable year.

More Resources
Check out this recording of an informational webinar by Californians for the Arts for a walk-through of the application process and commonly asked questions.

DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
2021-22 Second Supervisorial District Arts and Culture Recovery Grant Program

The 2021-22 Second Supervisorial District Arts and Culture Recovery Grant Program is administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. The one-time program will award funds to support nonprofit and fiscally sponsored organizations located in the Second Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County. Grant awards will be based on eligibility and available funding. Awards will range based on the number of applications received, organizational budget size, and planned programming during the grant period.

This program will support the rich diversity of artistic and cultural expression in the Second Supervisorial District through critical funding for established and emerging organizations that have made a significant impact on LA’s cultural landscape and the cultural fabric of the District through one-time general operating grants to be awarded by October 1, 2021 for a term of one year. To promote cultural and racial equity, the program will give priority to organizations that contribute to LA County’s cultural diversity and those rooted in and serving underserved and communities of color, including Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous communities.

DEADLINE: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
11pm PST

Learn more about this opportunity here.
California Arts Council: Individual Artist Fellowships Program

The Individual Artist Fellowships will support artists from a broad spectrum of artistic practices, backgrounds, geographies and communities, whose work addresses themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

The Individual Artist Fellowships will support artists, 18 years of age and older, at key moments in their careers, elevating their capacity for continued contribution to the field and our state. The grant identifies three career tiers at which artists may benefit from this support:
  • CAC Emerging Artist Fellows – $5,000 per award (approximately 70 artists to be supported)
  • Artists with between two and four years of artistic practice.  
  • CAC Established Artist Fellows – $10,000 per award (approximately 50 artists to be supported)
  • Artists with between four and 10 years of artistic practice.
  • CAC Legacy Artist Fellows – $50,000 per award (approximately 10 artists to be supported)
  • Well-established artists with 10 or more years of artistic practice.

DEADLINE: Thursday April 1, 202
11:59 pm PST
Rolas Con Requintó
ACTA Apprenticeship Public Sharing
Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional artists that were part of ACTA’s 2020 Apprenticeship Program have persevered against all odds to carry on with their lessons, maintaining their relationships with their students and carrying on with their practice in dynamic new ways. Mary Alfaro Velasco, one ACTA's 2020 apprentice artists who participated with the mentorship of Pepe Carlos in the traditional Mexican musical form of requinto romántico, shares a bit about her experience in this original video. Although they couldn’t share their culminating event in person, the pair were able to weave together a beautiful compilation of a few songs they worked on throughout the apprenticeship: “La Cama de Piedra,” “Cuando Llora Mi Guitarra,” and “Ojitos Verdes.”
“We had a couple lessons before the lockdowns, worked over Zoom, and then had socially-distanced lessons. Pepe taught me several songs throughout the year and guided me on my first professional recording. We had great music pláticas and talked through the craziness that was 2020. We are so thankful to ACTA for this opportunity!”
— Mary Alfaro Velasco

Video filmed and edited by Adan Alonso.
Archival image of 2020 NEA National Heritage Fellow Naomi Diouf. Screenshot from an NEA video.
ICYMI: Celebrating 2020 National Heritage Fellows
"We walk in the footsteps of giants.
We never forget the ancestors."
-Naomi Diouf, 2020 National Heritage Fellow

The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts, presented “The Culture of America: A Cross-Country Visit with the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows,” on March 4, taking viewers on a virtual trip into the homes and communities where the 2020 National Heritage Fellows live and create. Check out the full video to hear more from 2020 Heritage Fellows and California cultural treasures Zakarya and Naomi Diouf (of Oakland-based Diamano Coura West African Dance Company) and Hugo N. Morales (of Fresno's Radio Bilingüe radio network).

You can also learn more about all the all awardees in the 2020 National Heritage Fellowship program book.
What music would you like to see on the next Golden Record?

The Brandenburg Concerto 300th Anniversary Project asks: What music would you like to have heard on the Voyager Golden Record that they did not include? Or put another way, what list of music would you want to represent all of humanity and human history that might be launched on a future Golden Record that would travel through space for the next 5 billion years?

What is the Golden Record? Read about the original Golden Record from the Voyager spacecraft here.
Want to learn how you can support the work of ACTA?
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts is the California Arts Council's official partner in serving the state's folk and traditional arts field.