Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Awards $70,643 to 15 Projects for Latest Humanities for All Quick Grants


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Claudia Leung,, 415.391.1474 x303

January 3, 2019

(Oakland, CA) — California Humanities is pleased to announce $70,643 in awards to 15 new projects in the second year of the new Humanities for All Quick Grant program.

The Humanities for All Quick Grants offer meaningful insights into the diverse ways Californians share, reflect, and celebrate the humanities in their daily lives. Grants will support programs such as Voices of Wisdom: Writing Classes for Seniors 55-plus organized by the Manzanita Writers Press, in Angels Camp, California, located in the Sierras. Voices of Wisdom will engage seniors in Calaveras and neighboring counties through weekly free writing classes to develop skills such as memoir and story preservation and will culminate in a public presentation and community anthology showcase.

In Watsonville, California on the central coast, Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz organized by the Pajaro Valley Arts Council also received a Humanities for All Quick Grant. Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz will draw connections between the history of voting rights activism in Watsonville with the broader history of national civil rights and voting rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s. The project will feature a visual art and interpretive history exhibition as well as related public programs. These projects, and the others supported by Humanities for All Quick Grants exemplify significant statewide geographic diversity and will offer a range of program types and subject matter.

The Humanities for All grant program from California Humanities, the state-wide humanities nonprofit that helps connect Californians to ideas and to one another, supports locally-initiated public humanities projects that respond to the needs and interests of Californians, encourage greater public participation in humanities programming, particularly by new and/or underserved audiences, and promote understanding and empathy among all our state’s peoples in order to cultivate a thriving democracy.

“As a statewide organization, we are committed to reaching all corners of California. We are delighted with this latest round of Humanities for All Quick Grants with projects from all around the state. These projects will engage with the people of California through programming that is unique to their communities,” said Julie Fry, President and CEO of California Humanities. “We congratulate the 15 grantees whose projects will promote understanding and provide insight into a wide range of stories, issues and experiences.”


Note: In this round of Humanities for All Quick Grant Awards, in addition to continuing consideration of all eligible project applications on any topic, using any mode or format and reaching any public audience, California Humanities designated two specific funding focus areas, Arts & Humanities (denoted by “+”) and Youth Voices (denoted by “*”).

Accoutrements: A Public Literary Series
Avenue 50 Studio Inc., Highland Park, CA
Project Director: Jessica Ceballos y Campbell
Grant Amount: $5,000

Accoutrements will engage the community of Northeast Los Angeles in a year-long series of 16 poetry readings featuring bilingual (Spanish/English) chapbook publications, accompanying visual art exhibits and interdisciplinary events presented at Avenue 50 Studio and in collaboration with the Poetry Reading Series La Palabra. Art exhibits and poetry readings organized around the themes of the environment, mental health, displacement and technology and having an emphasis on the perspectives of communities of color will culminate in an event at the Audubon Center at Deb’s Park in 2019.

Black Joy: Poetry with Young Black Men*
Chapter 510 Ink, Oakland, CA
Project Director: Janet Heller
Grant Amount: $4,790

Black Joy will engage young black men in Oakland, California in a ten-week poetry workshop facilitated by poet Daniel Summerhill in the winter of 2019. The poetry workshop is designed to be a safe space for young people to explore their voices and use poetry to express their perspectives. Readings will include selections from the canon of African American poetry and literature, and the workshop will also have a focus on the meaning of belonging and not belonging as experienced through microagressions. The participants will present their work at a reading in June 2019 and produce an anthology through a partnership with Nomadic Press.

Contemporary Chumash Culture Speaker Series
Oakbrook Park Chumash Indian Corporation, Thousand Oaks, CA
Project Director: Barbara Tejada
Grant Amount: $3,378

The project is a nine-program speaker series highlighting a variety of contemporary Chumash tribal humanities practitioners discussing cultural revitalization, persistence and scholarship. Topics include: language revitalization, living maritime traditions, continuing effects of missionization on the California Indian community, traditional craftsmanship (e.g. basketweaving, stone carving), contemporary approaches to storytelling, indigenous archaeology, environmental stewardship from a native perspective and American Indian legal issues. The free evening programs will be held at the Chumash Indian Museum monthly in 2019.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson+
Intrepid Shakespeare Company dba Intrepid Theatre Company, Encinitas, CA
Project Director: Tiffany Tang
Grant Amount: $5,000

Intrepid Theatre Company will create three post-show discussions in February and March 2019 surrounding the production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone to address themes central to the play such as race relations, social justice and how these issues resonate in current society. Three community panel discussions and pop-up performances from the play at libraries and community centers will catalyze community conversations. These discussions will lead to greater depth of understanding of the relevance of August Wilson’s plays and the enduring humanities work of this significant American playwright.

Mǝǝmento: Before and ‘Aksum Belle: Afterwards+
CSU Chico Research Foundation, Chico, CA
Project Director: Kelly Lindner
Grant Amount: $4,950

The Jacki Headley University Art Gallery and Janet Turner Print Museum at California State University, Chico have partnered to present the exhibitions Mǝǝmento: Before and ‘Aksum Belle: Afterwards with indigenous artist Jacob Meders, a member of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California. The coordinated exhibitions and related public programs will explore Native American identity and colonial and post-colonial mindsets through the print collection of the Turner Print Museum in conjunction with a site-specific work created by the artist. A curator walk and talk event and an artist talk in February 2019 will engage the public.

Our Community Reads
Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries Inc., Santa Cruz, CA
Project Director: Denise Ward
Grant Amount: $4,700

Our Community Reads launched in January 2018 by the Aptos Chapter of the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and aims to promote the cultural, intellectual and emotional enrichment that comes from reading by hosting in-depth discussions around important and universal topics. In 2019, Our Community Reads will examine book The Death & Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival by Stephen R. Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka. Associated programming will include a speaker series, documentary screenings, mobile library events, a trivia night, poetry event and two book discussion groups around the topic of the history of Monterey Bay and the future of water and land stewardship.

Portraits of Courage+
Veterans Memorial Court Alliance, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Robert Horsting
Grant Amount: $5,000

Portraits of Courage is an exhibition and oral history project bringing to life the stories of three generations of Japanese American veterans and those of their fallen comrades. The Veterans Memorial Court Alliance, photographer Shane Sato, and oral historian Robert Horsting will present an exhibition at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in downtown Los Angeles in Fall 2019. New portraits and interviews of Japanese American Korean and Vietnam War veterans will be presented as well as a short video documentary developed by high school and community college students addressing themes of the immigrant experience, wartime history, service to country and parallels to present day immigrants. The exhibit will also discuss the historical connection between the perception of ethnic minority groups’ loyalty to country, the rights of citizenship and military service. Programming will also consider contemporary immigrants serving in the military and their relationships to these issues.

REEL JAPAN: Stories From East and West
El Dorado Arts Council, Placerville, CA
Project Director: Terry LeMoncheck
Grant Amount: $5,000

June 7, 2019 is the 150th anniversary of the founding of Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, the first Japanese colony in the US. El Dorado Arts Council and American River Conservancy will partner on REEL Japan, a festival aimed at understanding the Farm’s legacy which will include a three-day film discussion program. The series in June 2019 will focus on a Japanese American agricultural icon, aspects of the Japanese experience in rural California, and conclude with a lively screening of samurai films. Each film will include a conversation between the series curator and a principal connected to the film and audience Q&A.

Returned Citizens Theatre Troupe*
Marin Shakespeare Company, San Rafael, CA
Project Director: Lesley Currier
Grant Amount: $5,000

The Returned Citizens Theatre Troupe is a group of formerly incarcerated actors who tell autobiographical stories through theater. Actors work with Marin Shakespeare Company staff to craft moving performances and are compensated for their participation in this program. The Troupe will develop and present two to three public performances, with discussions following in May 2019, and will also tour the performance and Q&A in four youth correctional facilities in Marin, Sonoma and Stockton to engage with the incarcerated youth population and the broader public. Past autobiographical vignettes have explored what it’s like to spend a year in solitary, getting clean and sober in prison, reuniting with family and the bus ride from the youth facility to the “big house” at San Quentin.

Spanish Language & Linguistics Speaker Series at CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield Auxiliary for Sponsored Programs Administration, Bakersfield, CA
Project Director: Maryann Parada
Grant Amount: $5,000

Spanish Language & Linguistics Speaker Series will engage the Bakersfield community in discussing and reflecting upon the social, education and economic importance of Spanish and bilingualism in local context presented in a series of four lectures from March to November 2018. Speakers will include researchers, scholars and practitioners and will highlight the vital functions of Spanish in areas such as the courts, community health and K-12 dual immersion bilingual education. This project seeks to increase public awareness of Spanish language social services and educational programs, build connections between employers and potential employees in these areas and facilitate dialogue on these topics following the lectures.

Stories on the Sidewalk
Arts Council of Kern, Bakersfield, CA
Project Director: David Gordon
Grant Amount: $3,000

Stories on the Sidewalk is an educational and entertaining walk through history. The guided walk will lead groups on a stroll through downtown Bakersfield in February 2019, stopping at eleven sidewalk stages featuring actors portraying Kern’s famous and infamous residents who shaped the history of the county. Employing scripts written by Kern authors based on research support from journalists and historians, local thespians will portray significant local historical figures from Larry Itliong, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, to Alfred Harrell, founder of the Bakersfield Californian newspaper.

The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat+
Museum of Performance & Design, San Francisco, CA
Project Director: Kirsten Tanaka
Grant Amount: $5,000

The Museum of Performance + Design will present The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat, which will include an audience Q&A immediately following the performance. The performance will take place at 8 pm on April 25, 2019 at the Brava Theater located in San Francisco’s Mission District. Written by San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus Alejandro Murguía and based upon archival research of personal papers, periodicals and oral history interviews, the play will take the audience on a tour through the Latino community and nightclub scene of San Francisco’s North Beach district during the 1940s-1950s and explore the life of Mexican-born, North Beach-raised dancer, Maclovia Ruiz.

Voices of Wisdom: Writing Classes for Seniors 55-plus*
Manzanita Writers Press, Angels Camp, CA
Project Director: Monika Rose
Grant Amount: $4,825

Voices of Wisdom will engage seniors in Calaveras and neighboring counties through weekly free writing classes for seniors in memoir and story preservation from May to November 2019 which will culminate in a public presentation and community anthology showcase at Central Library in San Andreas in December 2019. Workshops will be facilitated by expert writing and editing coaches assisted by student interns to support participating seniors in recording their memories and community-based history and to connect people across generations.

Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz
Pajaro Valley Arts Council, Watsonville, CA
Project Director: Judy Stabile|
Grant Amount: $5,000

Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice is visual art and history exhibit which seeks to educate, inspire, and develop greater interest in the democratic process. Art and stories featured in the exhibit will detail the involvement of Monterey Bay residents in historic and current voting rights efforts including the voting rights issues of the 1960s and the 1970s struggles in Watsonville culminating in the Gomez v. City of Watsonville Supreme Court case.  The exhibit will also feature contemporary art addressing the theme of participatory democracy. Educational panels, a book reading, and viewings of documentary films will complement the exhibit.

Working Together: Aircraft Manufacturing in Southern California 1939–1945
Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, CA
Project Director: Brian Finnegan
Grant Amount: $5,000

The Working Together exhibit will tell the story of the people who worked at manufacturing plants in Southern California to design and build more than 40% of the aircrafts used by Allied nations during World War II. Visitors will learn about centers of production in Southern California during the war years and the labor forces hired to perform the work. The public will discover how this labor force changed throughout the war with respect to the wider role of women in the workforce and increased opportunities for people of color in manufacturing and reflect on the impacts these changes had on the region, the country and the world. Working Together will open June 2019 at the Planes of Fame Air Museum.


California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect us to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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