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 $73,700 in Humanities for All Quick Grants for Responsive & Creative Programming

HFAQG-Del Sol String Quartet Charlton Lee on Angel Island Photo by Andi Wong

Projects Supported by the Humanities for All Quick Grant

January 28, 2021
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Cherie Hill, Communications Manager, 
Image / Del Sol String Quartet Charlton Lee on Angel Island; Photo by Andi Wong

(Oakland & Los Angeles, CA) — California Humanities is proud to announce that fifteen public humanities grantees will receive a total of $73,700 in funding through the Humanities for All Quick Grant program during the winter 2021 round. Awarded projects provide responsive and creative methods to deliver programming to community members when traditional in-person programming is not possible.

Across the state, this cohort of grantees ranges from projects serving youth such as “Being Seen: Native Youth on Identity, Culture, and Justice” in Redding and “Distanced, Together: Youth Voices of West Hollywood in Quarantine” in Los Angeles to programs focusing on building intergenerational relationships among youth and elders, like the “Koreatown Storytelling Program” in Los Angeles to the “Central Coast Queer Archive Project” in San Luis Obispo. Awarded programs will help reduce some of the isolation elders and youth are experiencing during this period of pandemic shutdowns and help build human connection.

“We are impressed by the ways this round of grantees will be able to serve sensitive communities such as youth and elders, who need relevant and enriching humanities learning experiences–since many schools and community centers are closed,” remarks California Humanities President & CEO, Julie Fry.

The California Humanities’ Quick Grant program, a branch of our Humanities for All grant line, offers funding (between $1,000 and $5,000) for small-scale local public humanities activities that take place within a year, offering these grants three times annually.

Projects Awarded Winter 2021:
Note: 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 three specific funding focus areas for Humanities for All Quick Grants: Youth Voices (denoted by “‡”) and Arts & Humanities (marked by “+”).

Angel Island Insight
Del Sol Performing Arts Organization, San Francisco
Project Director: Andrea Wong, $5,000

The Del Sol Performing Arts Organization will present “Angel Island Insight.” This project explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. Also, a mini-course of Angel Island’s poetic history in collaboration with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University; and a community online art exhibit “Angel Island: In Sight 2021”. These presentations will also expand public engagement with the premiere of composer Huang Ruo’s “Your Wall is Our Canvas: The Angel Island Project” in October 2021.

After Life: sharing stories of re-joining community after a life sentence
Voices of Monterey Bay, Salinas
Project Director: Julie Reynolds Martinez, $5,000

“After Life: sharing stories of re-joining community after a life sentence” organized by Voices of Monterey Bay will consist of a narrative audio documentary series and public discussions bringing together offenders, victims, community and family members, law enforcement, prosecutors, and lawmakers who will explore the journey and challenges faced by returning citizens transitioning out of incarceration. “After Life” seeks to inspire discussions about the fundamental functions, purpose, and value of our criminal justice system, to shed light on the people impacted for better and worse by these systems. Programming will begin in February 2021.

Art of the State Symposium, Chicanx/Latinx Art in California+
Monterey Museum of Art
Project Director: Chris Cohoon, $5,000

The Monterey Museum of Art will present “Art of the State Symposium: Chicanx/Latinx Art in California,” which will include series of virtual lectures and Q&A sessions, poetry and drama performances, followed by a panel discussion. Speakers include Chicanx/Latinx artists, scholars, activists, arts professionals, philanthropists, and collectors who have contributed to Chicanx/Latinx art and activism in California. The Symposium will connect the public with these culture bearers to encourage dialogues about Chicanx/Latinx art, culture, and activism—focusing on how art was/is employed as a vehicle for activism (the 1960s to the present). Programming will begin in January 2021.

Being Seen: Native Youth on Identity, Culture, and Justice‡
Shasta County Arts Council, Redding
Project Director: Sharon Brisolara, $5,000

“Being Seen: Native Youth on Identity, Culture, and Justice” is a program designed to provide Shasta County Native youth with an opportunity to create and perform poetry exploring the intersection of identity, culture, and justice. Youth will participate in workshops, hear Native poets, receive support in preparing poems for filmed performances, and participation in a poetry radio program. Audiences include other teens, community members, and government officials who will participate in guided discussions exploring these critical topics from the perspective of Native youth. Programming will occur between February and April of 2021.

Virtual Encounters with World Music and Dance
Center for World Music, San Diego
Project Director: Monica Emery, $5,000

“Virtual Encounters with World Music and Dance,” organized by the Center for World Music, is a five-part presentation of traditional music by California-based world musicians. These virtual events will include live artist interviews highlighting the robust human experiences expressed through world music. This series will feature traditionally trained musicians of India, Vietnam, Mexico, Iran, and the Philippines now living and working in California. Interspersed between carefully curated musical pieces, a live conversation between artist and ethnomusicologist will explore the origins of the musical tradition, consider how it provides meaning today, and discuss how it may influence the future. Virtual attendees are invited to ask questions of the musicians as the program live streams. Programming will run from January through June 2021.

California Adelante: Diverse Perspectives from California Latinx Composers of Classical Music
Latino Music Education Network, Menlo Park
Project Director: Armando Castellano, $5,000

“California Adelante: Diverse Perspectives from California Latinx Composers of Classical Music,” organized by Latino Music Education Network, will consist of oral history and discussion series focused on telling the stories of Latinx composers hailing from California. Composers will describe their own experience building a career as a classical musician of color, explore why Latinx visibility in the arts is so critical at this time, and why a lack of Latinx representation in the classical arts is harmful to Latinx youth, and more. These conversations are a critical starting point for disrupting racial and economic disparities within the classical music field and engaging in culturally competent music education. Programming will be presented from February through March 2021.

Central Coast Queer Archive Project
International Documentary Association, Los Angeles
Project Director: David Weisman, $5,000

The “Central Coast Queer Archive Project” is a collaborative and community-based oral history project that will document the lives of elderly LGBTQ+ residents on the California Central Coast. This project seeks to recover and restore pre-existing vintage videos and provide mentorship for queer students to conduct oral video histories. This intergenerational experience between youth and elders will document the complex experiences of rural, queer life. The videos will be publicly available through a curated website and include a virtual public forum moderated by local experts in LGBTQ+ culture and history. “Central Coast Queer Archive Project” seeks to bring awareness to these often ignored and geographically marginalized communities. Programming will occur from June 2021 through October 2021.

Distanced, Together: Youth Voices of West Hollywood in Quarantine‡
Get Lit-Words Ignite Inc., Los Angeles
Project Director: Brian Sonia-Wallace, $5,000

“Distanced, Together: Youth Voices of West Hollywood in Quarantine,” organized by Get Let-Words Ignite, will include storytelling and poetry writing workshops and public events. During quarantine, the experiences of youth engaged in distance learning became a black box of lives hidden behind mute buttons and turned-off cameras, “Distanced, Together” seeks to empower youth to record and share their experiences through public speaking and self-expression. Programming will run from March through December 2021.

Koreatown Storytelling Program‡
Koreatown Youth & Community Center, Los Angeles
Project Director: Katherine Kim, $5,000

“Koreatown Storytelling Program” organized by the Koreatown Youth & Community Center will consist of an intergenerational, multilingual, and multiethnic oral history and digital media program. The program teaches photojournalism, storytelling, and social justice to high school students and elders. Participants will investigate the racial, economic, and health inequities in Koreatown to promote greater understanding and respect between generations. “Koreatown Storytelling Program” will include two six-month cohorts focused on youth activities, conducting oral histories with elders and creating audio, photographic, web content and a printed publication examining the Garment District and Skilled Nursing Facilities, culminating in three public programs. Programming will run from January through December 2021.

NewGround Narrative-Building Project
Community Partners, Los Angeles
Project Director: Aziza Hasan, $5,000

“NewGround Narrative-Building Project, “organized by NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, will consist of a three-part series of public convenings exploring the role of storytelling as a central and effective tool to fight racism, bigotry, and division. Each event in this series will build on transformative storytelling themes and include a discussion of the book Apeirogon, a storytelling showcase demonstrating the practice of and direct engagement with personal storytelling and community dialogue. The workshop explores how to implement storytelling to build a more just and inclusive society. Programming will run from January through May 2021.

Reframing Sacramento: A Dialogue between Artists, Humanists,
and Community Advocates +

Regents of the University of California, Davis
Project Director: Katharine Wallerstein, $5,000

“Reframing Sacramento: A Dialogue between Artists, Humanists, and Community Advocates,” organized by UC Davis Humanities Institute and the Center for Sacramento History, will consist of a series of public conversations that will engage academics, artists, community groups, and the public with the goal of imagining a Sacramento whose cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious diversity is celebrated and values of racial and economic justice and equality upheld; that is ecologically sustainable; that is economically vibrant and a locale for innovations in the arts, culture, technology, and medicine in ways that enrich communities rather than displace them. “Reframing Sacramento” seeks to enable cross-disciplinary and cross-community conversations about the past, present, and future of Sacramento across themes of arts and humanities. Programming will run from March through May 2021.

Stories on the Sidewalk+
Arts Council of Kern, Bakersfield
Project Director: David Gordon, $4,000

“Stories on the Sidewalk” organized by the Arts Council of Kern will consist of an educational walking tour, where characters from Kern County’s past come to life on the streets of Bakersfield. Participants will travel a performance path stopping at ten staged sites to engage with actors performing in period attire. Each performance is designed to educate and entertain audiences using true stories, researched, and scripted by local writers. Featured characters will include Fred Maddox, Avelino Martinez, William Hood, Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Donaho, and Rafer Johnson, among other subjects explored in this program. Programming will be presented in February 2021.

TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narrative
Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
Project Director: Lyzette Wanzer, $5,000

“TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narrative” will consist of a two-day virtual conference examining the politics, policing, and perception of African American and Afro Latina women’s natural hair in American society. In addition to readings, attendees will choose from 75-minute panels and workshops exploring topics that will include Race, Stigma, and the Politics of Black Hair; Natural Hair and the Cultural Violence of Identity Erasure; When Children’s Hair Breaks School Rules; History of The Tignon Hair Laws: A Historical Perspective; Is Hair Discrimination Race Discrimination?; How Natural Black Hair Became A Civil Rights Issue; Getting to the Root of Afrolatina Hair; The CROWN Act: An Overview of Governor Newsom’s Senate Bill 188; and Pelo Malo Y Pelo Bueno: Afro Latinas Who Rose Above. The conference will also include at least one beauty-themed session on styling natural hair, tying a dashiki, or the myriad ways to don decorative headscarves. This conference will be presented in August 2021.

Untold Perspectives: A Marin County Community Oral History Project‡
Mill Valley Public Library
Project Director: Natalie Snoyman, $4700

Organized by the Mill Valley Public Library in conjunction with the Marin City Library, “Untold Perspectives: A Marin County Community Oral History Project” will guide high school students in conducting, collecting, and preserving oral history interviews. The project will connect students with BIPOC individuals living in Marin County with the goal of amplifying the voices and stories of underrepresented folks in our city while forging stronger relationships within the community. The final projects will be posted on the libraries’ websites and incorporated into their archives. Programming will run from September 2021 through December 2021.

Youspeak Radio‡
ONE Archives Foundation, Los Angeles
Project Director: Umi Hsu, $5000

“Youspeak Radio” is a sound-based exploration of intergenerational dialogs led by LGBTQ youth presented in participation with the ONE Archives Foundation’s Youth Ambassadors of Queer History program. In this project, youth participants will produce audio stories through their voice and viewpoint, addressing their past, present, and future concerns. For four months, participants will acquire knowledge in storytelling, audio documentary, and oral history, in addition to researching archival collections at our partner institution, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Final audio stories will be released at a community listening event featuring a guest speaker, along with invited family, friends, and community members, in June 2021.

To learn more about the Humanities for All grant programs, click here. Applications for the next round of Humanities for All Quick Grants are due February 15, 2021.

About California Humanities:
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 people 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 like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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