Why we’re thankful for the arts – 4 benefits, many blogs

Without a doubt, the California Arts Council has plenty to be thankful for. We’re thankful to Gov. Brown and our state Legislature for valuing the arts. We’re thankful to our Council members, our staff, and our grantees for their tireless work. We’re thankful to arts advocates and donors to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund for their indelible contributions.

The list goes on … but without the arts themselves, we wouldn’t be here.

With that in mind this Thanksgiving season, we took a trip down memory lane, browsing this year’s previous blog entries, and found a cornucopia of examples of the power of the arts. Here are just a few of the reasons why we’re thankful:

1. The arts boost our economy.

2. The arts promote cultural awareness and understanding.

3. The arts teach.

4. The arts help to heal.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, from the California Arts Council family to you and yours.

(Photo credit: Center for World Music)

Grant season is here!

We’re less than two weeks away from the start of California Arts Council’s grant season—our grant opening, if you willand you’re all invited!

On December 5, eight of our grant programs will open for applications — with seven more to follow by the end of the month. Details and links to program offerings opening December 5 are below.

State arts funding saw a significant permanent increase this year. Greater investment equals greater opportunity to meet the demand for arts and cultural experiences across California. This grant season stands a good chance of beating the number of grants awarded for the 2016-17 fiscal year—already more than we’ve awarded in more than a decade!

The California Arts Council invests in California nonprofit organizations and units of government via competitive grant programs, administered through a multistep public process. Program details including availability, application deadlines, guidelines, and more can be found at http://www.arts.ca.gov/programs.

Mark your calendars! The countdown begins…

Does your organization want to make a difference through culture and creative expression? The California Arts Council can help — it’s grant season!

Sign up for our Informational Webinar

To kick off the grant season in style, we’ll be hosting an informational webinar on opening day, Tuesday, December 5, at 1 p.m. Program staff will provide an overview of the grant application process and highlight some changes and new additions to our grant offerings. Join us for tips for grant writing success and answers to your questions. Register now!

Open Programs

Discover all of the CAC’s grant opportunities at www.arts.ca.gov/programs. The following grant programs will begin accepting applications on 12/5/2017. 

ARTISTS IN COMMUNITIES: Up to $18,000 for artist residencies in community settings.

ARTS EDUCATION – ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS: Up to $18,000 for collaborative arts education projects for students from infancy through Grade 12 taking place on school sites during the school day.

ARTS EDUCATION – EXTENSION: Up to $18,000 for arts education projects for students from infancy through Grade 12 taking place after school or during the summer, either on school sites or in community settings.

ARTS EDUCATION – EXPOSURE: Up to $18,000 for field trip and assembly support to expose students from infancy through Grade 12 to performances and exhibits.

ARTS EDUCATION – PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: $2,500 to support arts integration training for classroom teachers facilitated by teaching artists.

CULTURAL PATHWAYS: Up to $20,000 over two years to strengthen the capacity of small organizations rooted in communities of color, recent immigrant and refugee communities, and tribal or indigenous groups.

JUMP STARTS: Up to $50,000 for collaborative arts education projects for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Up to $1,000 for access to professional development resources and networks to strengthen the business acumen of individuals employed by arts organizations.

Get the Word Out

The more, the merrier: We want to continue to grow our grantee family! We’re asking for your help to spread the news to would-be first-time applicants about the California Arts Council’s many opportunities for state arts funding. Share this flyer and encourage all to apply! Complete details on open programs and upcoming deadlines can be found on our website at www.arts.ca.gov/programs.

Honoring our veterans through arts programming

With Veterans Day just around the corner — a day dedicated to acknowledging as a nation the hard work, commitment, and sacrifices of our service men and women — we felt it appropriate that our latest blog be dedicated to our country’s veterans as well.

At the California Arts Council, we honor the veteran experience year-round, through our Veterans Initiative in the Arts (VIA) program. VIA is centered upon developing veterans’ creative expression by providing opportunities to be a part of arts programming tailored to their unique experiences. Veterans gain personal insight through the making of art, and help to cultivate a greater public understanding of those experiences through sharing their work.

We asked three of our VIA grantees to give us a glimpse into their projects and, in their own words, tell us what the experience has meant for them:

The PGK Dance Project

The PGK Dance Project aims to change society’s preconceived notions of who a veteran is. The contemporary dance company collaborated with veterans and working artists accomplished in painting, music, and spoken word to perform before live audiences. Military and family received free admission to the public performances.cac_blog_PGKProject

“Vets are not just the images and ideas we perceive but also people who, beyond their service, are artistic assets,” says artistic director Peter G. Kalivas. “These veterans protected our quality of life, and through the Veterans in the Arts program, they now help create the landscape and elevate the quality of arts and culture.”

Resounding Joy

Resounding Joy believes firmly in the power of music as medicine for those in all walks of life, veterans included. The organization’s Semper Sound program assists veterans with physical and psychological rehabilitation by enlisting music as a strategy for overcoming their obstacles.cac_blog_ResoundingJoy

“Music therapy isn’t only musicianship or music instruction,” says founder Barbara Reuer. “Therapists are trained on evidence-based techniques that help participants achieve their goals.”

VetArt 

“VetArt believes our Veterans have an important role to play in our communities,” says program developer and instructor Mark Jesinoski. “We use art-making to honor their service, to connect them with each other and to share their perspective and stories to the broader community.”

CAC’s support helps VetArt employ three veterans as sculpting artists, teaching introductory bronze casting courses to other active duty or retired military.

“When Veterans leave the military, they lose the sense of camaraderie that was part of their daily lives,” Jesinoski adds. “This project is designed to build peer support … it’s about connecting veterans with each other and their communities through art.”

Stay tuned: Guidelines and applications for next year’s VIA grant program will be available December 5.

P.S. Mark your calendar! These three grantees will be just a few of the organizations participating in an all-day arts and military event coming up on December 7. The Creative Forces Summit will explore the connection between creative arts therapies in patient-centered care at military clinical sites and community-based arts programs that allow patients to continue exploring art practices as part of their healing process.

If you’re in the San Diego region, join us and our national and local partners for this free event.

 

Arts Council Vice Chair shares poem on wildfires at NASAA Leadership Institute

At the California Arts Council, Council members and staff certainly aren’t limited to wearing only one hat when it comes to their relationship with the arts. Whether it’s dance, music, film, literature, visual or performing arts—creativity thrives here.

A recent moving example comes from our Council Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo. Last month, while attending the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Leadership Institute in Portland, Lindo took the opportunity to represent our state by sharing a heartfelt poem she penned about the recent wildfires in Northern California. The text of the poem is below.

California Wildfires.17

They came, 
crept up on us,
in the middle of the night.
In darkness, CAWildfires17_byNashormehLindo
the Diablo Devil winds
fanned flames,
Sending spooky sparks
Ember imps, flying over hilltops and trees,
and skittering across roads, highways and boulevards.
Spreading mischief, conjuring up evil and
creating a haze of dry orange
smoky, choking air.
California dreams turned nightmarish.
It is unrelenting.
Everything is burning.
Words like, apocalyptic,
devastation, scary,
other worldly
Moonscape
come to mind.
It is the scorched Earth.
Come back to haunt us.
A desolate landscape is all that is left.
People, trees, homes, vineyards,
Gone.

Days later while
Escaping
Fleeing, in search of cleaner air
One can still see plumes of
terrifying toxic smoke
From the air.
The fires rage on.
It’s hard to breathe
particulate.

I think of
Kingsolver’s words:

“The fire ran ahead at times, and sometimes flagged, as if growing tired like the rest of us. The heat was unspeakable.
I imagined the taste of water.”

California Arts Council Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo
California Arts Council Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo.

Dazed people gaze at each other;
and at their charred and ruined things,
after fleeing terror in the middle of the night,
and tracing the tracks of sooty tears,
Days, spent in evacuation despair.
Loss, exhaustion, raw grief and disbelief
makes us all equals.
Makes us care,

What will rise from these ashes?
Belief in Healing Hope.
The Courage to Create
To rebuild with the innate tools of
Music, Poetry, Dance,
Theater, Painting, Photography.
Mapping the path back,
to see beyond the seeming
Abyss.

Nashormeh Lindo
10/12/17
Portland, Oregon

(Excerpt from the Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver)

Blog bite: JUMP StArts gets a boost

The California Arts Council received a welcome mention last week in a piece on the power of arts participation for at-risk youth.

Online media outlet Youth Today tackled the topic of youth access to the arts, specifically those involved in the juvenile justice system. The article, “Arts Seen As Crucial to Healing Youth, Changing the Juvenile Justice System,” published on October 27, discusses the emergence of JUMP StArts, our grant program supporting arts programming for youth engaged in the juvenile justice system, in 2013, as a response to the growing belief in arts integration as an agent of change.

JUMP StArts received a recent budget increase of $750,000, testament to its value for youth in the system. Grant availability for the 2017-18 program will be announced shortly, so stay tuned! Get the story here—with a special nod to L.A.-based grantee Street Poets Inc.!