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California Humanities Awards Nearly $160,000 in Community Stories Grants

California Humanities is pleased to announce nearly $160,000 in funding to 16 pivotal humanities-based public programming projects through our Community Stories program. This competitive grantmaking program supports community-centered, story-based projects that contribute to our evolving understanding of California, both past and present.

Through exhibits, theater performances, oral histories, photography, and more, these new projects aim to amplify the voices of refugees, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, youth, seniors, and LGTBQ that live and work here in California.

All of these engaging public projects – from a theater performance based on the oral histories of refugees that suffered torture in their home states, to short video interviews with farmworkers in Fresno County affected by the current drought, to a four-part video documentary about the Yurok people’s fight for fishing rights on the Klamath River during the 1970’s – creatively explore underlying humanities themes that encourage us to reflect upon our own experiences, as well as those of over 38 million others living across the state.

Humanities experts – sociologists, historians, anthropologists, native culture bearers, and others – will advise project directors on interview methods, oral history approaches, and existing scholarly research that can be used to help frame the questions that these projects propose, such as:

  • What is the meaning of “community”?  How does it differ between Western and non- Western cultures? How do asylum refugees find a way to integrate themselves into a new community, like Los Angeles, that places a different emphasis on the individual than the culture they were born into?
  • What are the cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of the illegal marijuana industry on Hayfork’s community? What are the evolving ethics with respect to marijuana, the perception of legitimate and illegitimate work, and the people’s relationship to their land and community?
  • Why did Southern California, and Culver City specifically, become a focal point for the aerospace industries? How did the Cold War security clearances and secrecy about proprietary information affect family life, friends, and colleagues?

The culminating works will appear in theaters, arts centers, community centers, film festivals, &  traveling exhibits throughout the state, as well as on public radio and television stations. Each project will also provide web-based materials for greater visibility and access. Stay tuned for more!

Please join us in congratulating the following recipients of this round’s Community Stories awards:

Opening the Door: Personal Stories of Groundbreaking Los Angeles Lawyers and Judges
LA Law Library, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Linda Heichman
$9,897

Big Sur Oral History Project
Henry Miller Memorial Library (HMML), Big Sur (Monterey County)
Project Director: Michael Scutari
$10,000

Cold War Culver City
The Wende Museum, Culver City (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Donna Stein
$10,000

Digital Histories – Making a Home: The Power of Place in Asian Pacific American California Neighborhoods
Visual Communications, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Janet Chen
$10,000

It’s a Krip-Hop Nation
Watts Village Theater Company, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Lynn Manning
$10,000

Jews and the Development of Los Angeles
KCRW-89.9 FM, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Avishay Artsy
$10,000

Pursuing Dreams: Stories of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in California
Refugee Transitions, San Francisco (San Francisco County)
Project Director: Jane Pak
$10,000

Q&A Space Coming Out Stories
API Equality-LA, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Shelly Chen
$10,000

Reflections of a Drought
Fresno County Library Jurisdiction, Fresno (Fresno County)
Project Director: Jonathan Waltmire
$8,960

Salmon Wars of the Klamath River Project
Yurok Tribe, Klamath (Del Norte County)
Project Director: Isaac Kinney
$10,000

Second Chances
ImaginAction, Sierra Madre (Los Angeles County)
Project Director: Hector Aristizabal
$10,000

SF Stories: A Shared Experience
Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco (San Francisco County)
Project Director: Jason Jakaitis
$10,000

The Briefing Room
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito (Marin County)
Project Director: Carrie Hott
$10,000

The Growing Divide: A portrait of the Marijuana farming boom in a rural community
The Watershed Research and Training Center, Hayfork (Trinity County)
Project Director: Piper McDaniel
$10,000

The Kumeyaay Nation: Stories of Change
Imperial Valley Desert Museum, El Centro (Imperial County)
Project Director: Frank Salazar
$10,000

We Are SF
Active Voice (fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives), San Francisco (San Francisco County)
Project Director: Shaady Salehi
$10,000

Do you have a California story that you would like to share? Our next application round begins Friday, January 2nd, 2015 and ends at 5pm Monday, February 2nd, 2015. You can access forms, guidelines, FAQ’s,  and a recording of our latest  info session webinar HERE.

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