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California Humanities Awards $74,805 to 15 Humanities Projects

Pictured left to right, Indigenous leaders Chef Crystal Wahpepah (photo by Jean Melesaine), Burrell Jones, and Corrina Gould will be featured in Real Food Real Stories' Fall season, Celebrating Indigenous Foodways

Projects Supported by the Humanities for All Quick Grant

PDF Press Release

September 24, 2020
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Cherie Hill, Communications Manager, chill@calhum.org 
Image / Courtesy of Earth Island Institute Inc, Berkeley

(Oakland & Los Angeles, CA) — California Humanities is proud to announce that fifteen public humanities grantees will receive a total of $74,805 in funding through the Humanities for All Quick Grant program for this Summer 2020 round. Awarded projects show a range of diversity in topics; communities served, and geographical location. From Write Now SF Bay!’s creative writing workshops and panels exploring police violence and systemic racism in the San Francisco Bay Area to the project “From the Ground Up: How Tongva Traditions Utilize California Native Plants” engaging teens in Rancho Cucamonga to interview Native American elders, each awarded project is immensely significant to the sustenance and development of the humanities in our state.

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.

“The recent projects awarded by the Humanities for All Quick Grants are timely and relevant,” remarks California Humanities President and CEO Julie Fry. “From Indigenous stories, explorations on immigration and race, and understandings of queer visual culture, these projects speak to the cultural diversity, movements, and oral histories that make up California’s unique identity.”

Projects Awarded Summer 2020

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 “*”).

Celebrating and Supporting Indigenous Foodways
Earth Island Institute Inc, Berkeley

Celebrating Indigenous Foodways organized by Real Food Real Stories will consist of a series of three live gatherings in the Bay Area, each highlighting an Indigenous changemaker’s personal story of reclaiming their ancestral traditions. The series brings together curious eaters from the Bay Area and beyond and will serve as resistance to the dehumanizing industrialization of food. This project seeks to spark both deeper respect for and connection with the practices of Indigenous communities.

Mervyn M. Dymally Bridgebuilder and History Maker, Public Events and Exhibition, California State University Los Angeles Auxiliary Services Inc, Los Angeles

California State University Los Angeles will present Mervyn M. Dymally Bridgebuilder and History Maker, Public Events and Exhibition, which will consist of a three-part series of public events and an online exhibition. The project features the work of civil rights pioneer Mervyn M. Dymally (1926 -2012), the first black Lt. Governor of California after serving in both the California State Assembly and State Senate. A Trinidadian immigrant at age 20, Dymally is known for breaking racial barriers in California and advancing civil rights and equality for people of color throughout the nation. The series will consist of an online exhibition, Community Speaker Panel, Virtual Gallery Tour, and Co-hosted Public Event with Educators and Curators from the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, featuring selected documents from the Dymally Papers.

Youth Resilience‡
Media Arts Center, San Diego

Media Arts Center in San Diego (MACSD) will present Youth Resilience, a virtual humanities storytelling series that will spotlight San Diego’s youth in the wake of COVID-19. Youth Resilience will engage participants in MACSD’s Teen Producers Project, who will gather digital oral histories from local youth, community organizations, educators, and youth advocates. Youth Resilience will highlight the innovative and creative ways youth are thriving during the lockdown and social upheaval seen recently in the many youth-led Black Lives Matter protests.

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED People of Color Writing Against Racism+
Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, organized by Write Now! SF Bay will consist of a series of public events at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the San Francisco Main Library (onsite or virtually) supporting the generation and presentation of new creative writing by 40+ writers. Participants include health care workers, educators, service workers, and small business owners. This project supports creative writing workshops and panels that will explore the police violence and systemic racism that disproportionately impacts people of color. Programming will run from October 2020 through May 2021.

Processing Sugar Notes+
Ma Series Art, Sacramento

Processing Sugar Notes, organized by Ma Series Art, will consist of a dance theater work and public dialogues that will examine the lasting effects of colonialism on global communities of color through the prism of sugar, the most important harvest crop to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Through athletic and lush physicality, dancers of color will utilize the choreography to queer and reimagine the racialized (de)value system entrenched in Western society, to explore the depths of addiction, diabetes, and systemic racism ravaging communities. This project hopes to serve as an intervention leading to awareness, dialogue, and advocacy surrounding health. Programming will run from March through October 2021.

Foster Youth Speaker’s Panel & Podcast Series‡
Voices for Children, San Diego

Foster Youth Speaker’s Panel & Podcast Series organized by Voices for Children (VFC) in San Diego will consist of multimedia production and speakers’ panel. Six foster youth will participate in a four-week-long multimedia production class to create a 6-episode podcast to share with the broader community through iTunes, Spotify, and social media. This project will culminate with a speaker’s panel event that will be open to the public. Through these platforms, the foster youth featured will help form a diverse community dialogue, which aims to understand better the common issues affecting our most vulnerable youth and increase community understanding, tolerance, and civic engagement. Programming will run throughout October 2020.

SAVING STORIES: A Connection Toolkit in the Age of COVID-19
New Village Arts Inc, San Diego

SAVING STORIES: A Connection Toolkit in the Age of COVID-19 will create a toolkit and public performances to connect individuals in assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities in San Diego County with a diverse group of interviewers and dramatists. The project seeks to create a collection of saved stories that will be delivered virtually to the San Diego community through New Village Arts Theatre’s online theatre program, followed by a virtual workshop held in collaboration with the Dramatists Guild of America. Programming will begin in November 2020.

I Hear You: Stories, Dreams, and Ambitions of Oakland Youth and Youth Adults‡
Story For All, San Mateo

I Hear You: Stories, Dreams, and Ambitions of Oakland Youth and Youth Adults, organized by Story For All, will consist of an oral history collection, film, and website production project that seeks to promote the stories and ambitions of a diverse group of Oakland youth responding to this historic moment in our collective history. Led by two African American brothers from Oakland, this project will collect, share, and provoke contemplation and discussion around Oakland’s post-protest environment and how we can use this momentum to make progress on social, economic, and racial justice issues that historically and continually oppress youth of color. Programming will begin in October 2020.

New Voices: Celebrating Diversity Through the Works of Thee U.S. Poet Laureates, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks

New Voices: Celebrating Diversity Through the Works of Three U.S. Poet Laureates, is a three-part virtual series that will bring community members together to explore the works of poets Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, and Juan Felipe Herrera. At each program event, faculty and students will read the poet’s work and guide a discussion to help participants understand these individuals’ stories, traditions, and cultural experiences. Programming will begin in February 2021.

From the Ground Up: How Tongva Traditions Utilize California Native Plants ‡
Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, Rancho Cucamonga

In From the Ground Up: How Tongva Traditions Utilize California Native Plants, organized by the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts in Rancho Cucamonga, participating teens will interview Native American elders and others on subjects of history, culture, and environmental sustainability, resulting in a short video offered free to all via social media. The video will be used in support of the Maloof Teen’s teaching of local elementary school students. Teens will learn and practice basic humanities research techniques, interviewing Tongya elders and documenting their memories of traditions in the use of native plants for food, medicine, and basketry. Programming will run from September 2020 through May 2021.

Voces del Teatro: An Oral History of Latinx Theatre in Modern Los Angeles+
Grupo De Teatro Sinergia, Los Angeles

Voces del Teatro: An Oral History of Latinx Theatre in Modern Los Angeles, organized by Latinx Theatre Alliance/Los Angeles (LTA/LA), will compile an oral history archive of Latinx theatre from the late 1960s to the present. Voces del Teatro will interview the artistic directors of some of the city’s oldest Latinx theatre companies to capture and share the stories of veteran performers. Through the collection of oral histories and public discussions, Voces del Teatro seeks to preserve and share the rich history of Los Angeles’ legacy of Latinx theatre to educate and engage the Los Angeles public in a shared dialogue regarding the rich cultural contribution of Latinx theatre to this city. Programming will begin in April 2021.

Stories from the Sea: An Oral History Project+
Newport Beach Public Library Foundation, Newport Beach

Stories from the Sea: An Oral History Project organized by the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation in Newport Beach in collaboration with the UC Irvine Humanities Center will compile community elders’ oral histories to record their personal histories and important encounters with the sea. UCI students collect these histories. The final research product will be posted on Newport Beach Public Library Foundation website and incorporated into the archives of community partners Newport Beach Public Library, Newport Beach Historical Society, and other appropriate related repositories. Programming will run from Fall 2020 through Spring 2021.

Cultivando Voz / Cultivating Voices‡
California State University San Marcos Corporation, San Diego

California State University San Marcos will present Cultivando Voz (Cultivating Voice), a Latinx youth project in North County San Diego. Cultivando Voz (Cultivating Voice will create and produce videos documenting participating youth’s everyday lives during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Youth participants will work alongside Humanities faculty, community researchers, and professional videographers. The films created through this project will be featured in a public film screening and discussion programs in San Diego area libraries and community centers. Programming will begin in Fall 2020.

Queer Reads Library at WOMEN我們+
Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, San Francisco

Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco will present Queer Reads Library in conjunction with the exhibition WOMEN我們: From Her to Here, an art exhibition that centers around Asian Pacific Islanders’ perspectives on belonging and justice. This project will feature a reading station and public panel discussion in collaboration with Hong Kong-based Queer Reads Library and Oakland-based Mixed Rice Zine to present a library of queer zines, banned Chinese publications, and a special queer Cantonese lexicon zine to explore Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) zine movements to promote more in-depth understanding of on queer visual culture. Programming will run from February through August 2021.

Mas Puentes y Meno Muros / More Bridges and Less Walls‡
Pasadena Educational Foundation, Los Angeles

Blair High School and the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena will present Mas Puentes y Meno Muros / More Bridges and Less Walls, which will consist of a research project and exhibition exploring immigrant history in communities and race issues in the Pasadena area. This project will engage students at Blair High School in Pasadena to collaborate with the writer and visual artist Sehba Sarwar to create original visual art and language-based work related to students’ personal experiences as immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and members of a diverse yet fractured community. The project will culminate in an interactive public exhibition, workshop, and readings in collaboration with the Armory Center for the Arts. Programming will run from January through May 2021.

Applications for the next round of Humanities for All Quick Grants are due on October 19, 2020. Interested applicants can attend a webinar on October 2 to learn more about the grant application process.

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 calhum.org, or like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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