For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kerri Young, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2023—(Oakland, CA)—California Humanities is proud to announce that 20 new public humanities grantees will receive $99,018 in funding through the Humanities for All Quick Grant program. Their projects and public programming, from artist talks and history workshops to a literary festival and immersive digital programming, will provide rich humanities-centered learning experiences for Californians up and down the state.
Many of the awarded projects will create arts and humanities-focused programming to explore California’s diverse communities, such as The Autry Museum’s Sharing the Stories of Gay Rodeo, which will engage, educate, and inspire inquiry about California gay rodeo history. Another awarded project, Memorias en Movimiento: The Forgotten Revolutionaries of the 1990s San Diego Chicana/o Student Movement, will center on collective memory. Focusing on San Diego, this project will host an intergenerational symposium to bring together Chicano/a students from the 1990s who organized around issues of the time: state legislation that impacted communities of color, the struggle for representation in the educational system, and a fight to reveal the legacies of colonialism in the region. Alongside the panel of speakers will be an exhibit of photos and other memorabilia of this generation’s movement work and contributions. Programming will run October through December 2023.
Other projects will use the public humanities to explore important community issues, such as America’s Newest Cities. The story of housing in the California’s Central Valley has been one of exclusion, isolation, and destruction, and this project will explore the history and development of “red-lining” and housing discrimination in California’s Southern Central Valley, specifically in Bakersfield and Kern County. This project will involve youth voices (high school and college students) who will participate in the planning, research, interpretation, design, and installation of the project. Programming will begin September 2023.
“California Humanities is excited to welcome our newest round of Quick Grant awards,” said the organization’s new President & CEO Rick Noguchi. “In addition to using a variety of mediums to creatively engage new and long-standing audiences, these projects are also providing a unique humanities lens for discussing California histories and cultures, and important community issues.”
The Humanities for All Quick Grant program is a competitive application that provides up to $5,000 to support small-scale locally initiated public humanities projects. See the complete description of awarded projects below.
Projects Awarded Summer 2023
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 “*”), Arts & Humanities (denoted by “+”).
Native Sons – Soundtrack of the Chicano Movement
Fox Riverside Theater Foundation, Riverside
Project Director: Cynthia Wright
The Fox Riverside Theater Foundation, in coordination with the City of Riverside and other partners, will host an education outreach program presenting an extended preview of the documentary film, LOS LOBOS NATIVE SONS. The panelists will include Latinx artists and the award-winning production team of the film. This program will engage higher education institutions and local school districts will send students (middle school through college) to hear from those who have already changed, and continue to change, the landscape for young Latinx community members and artists. Programming will begin November 2023.
America’s Newest Cities: Housing and “Red Lining” in California’s Central Valley *
CSU Bakersfield Auxiliary for Sponsored Programs Administration, Bakersfield
Project Director: Chris Livingston
The story of housing in the California’s Central Valley has been one of exclusion, isolation, and destruction. America’s Newest Cities is a public humanities project that examines the history and development of “red-lining” and housing discrimination in California’s Southern Central Valley, more specifically in Bakersfield and Kern County. This project will involve youth voices (high school and college students) who will participate in the planning, research, interpretation, design, and installation of the project. Programming will begin September 2023.
Presenting AfroClassical Composers for California Audiences +
Fulcrum Arts, Pasadena / Presenting AfroClassical Composers
Project Director: Michael Ligon
Presenting AfroClassical Composers for California Audiences, will provide enrichment opportunities for all ages by featuring live performances of works by AfroClassical composers at the Los Angeles Central Library on November 17, 2023. Programming activities will pair history, dance, literature, and visual art (photography, film, painting, etc.) with live music, giving cultural context to the music and lives of creators. After live performances, a host will moderate discussions between panelists and performers, with audience questions, and comments. We offer opportunities for participants to create social connections while expanding cultural awareness, via hands-on interactions and use of our social media Digital Pen Pal Initiative. Programming will begin in November 2023.
Sharing the Stories of Gay Rodeo
Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles
Project Director: Ben Fitzsimmons
Sharing the Stories of Gay Rodeo aims to engage, educate, and inspire inquiry about California gay rodeo history. This four-part program includes an Archives Workshop and Clinic, a tour of the Autry’s Imagined Wests exhibition and the case featuring California gay rodeo archival materials, a staged reading of the verbatim play, “That Damn Horse: Stories of the Gay Rodeo,” and a discussion about the experiences and roles of the panelists in capturing the histories embodied in The Gay Rodeo Oral History Project. The program will take place on November 2, 2023 at the Autry Museum of the American West.
Nor Cal Outreach Project: The history of the LGBTQIA+ community in Northern California +
NorCal OUTreach Project, Redding
Project Director: Brad Hart
NorCal Outreach Project will develop a slide show presentation that exploring the LGBTQIA+ history of the greater Northern California area. This program will include the counties of Tehama, Shasta, Trinity, Siskiyou, and Lassen counties. This historical presentation will include events, persons, physical locations, public and private entities, media reports and more. This slide show will be presented to local ally agencies as well as our local historical society. This program will run from October 2023 through August 2024.
Indigenous Wisdom: Celebrating Our Central Valley Indigenous Elders +
California State University Fresno Foundation, Fresno / CSU Fresno Library
Project Director: Ginny Barnes
For National American Indian Heritage Month, November 2023, Fresno State Library will host a community dinner and film screening showcasing the life and work of three Central Valley Indigenous elders providing a space for Indigenous youth, students, and the larger Central Valley community to strengthen community bonds through art, shared experience, and storytelling. The evening will begin with a community dinner welcoming the three elders, their immediate family, and guests from allied community organizations. A public screening of short films will follow the dinner each featuring the elders on topics such as environmental stewardship and Native language preservation.
La Biblioteca del Maíz de los oaxaqueños indígenas de Los Ángeles, California
Organización Regional de Oaxaca, Los Angeles
Project Directors: Daniela Soleri and Isai Pazos
La Biblioteca del Maíz de los oaxaqueños indígenas de Los Ángeles, California will explore the memories and current significance of maize and traditional maize foods within this community. La Biblioteca del Maíz will document, celebrate and communicate these memories, innovations and practices and their role in Oaxacan identity and culture. This is a project of the Organización Regional de Oaxaca (ORO), and will be a collaboration between members of the Oaxacan community in LA, and researchers. Documentation (written, audio, photographic) will occur through oral histories, commentaries, recipes, and images gathered in individual interviews and through participation solicited at existing events for the Oaxacan community. Programming will begin September 2023.
Los Braceros – A Mariachi Opera +
ÁNIMO Theatre Company, Camarillo
Project Director: Miguel Orozco
ÁNIMO Theatre Company will launch a revival of Los Braceros – A Mariachi Opera in Fillmore on September 1, 2023 at the historic Fillmore Town Theater and three community colleges. The story of the Braceros is an important chapter in the history of Ventura County, whose fields and orchards received more of the laborers than in any other county in the US. Thousands of families trace their roots to a Bracero. Ventura County was home to the Buena Vista Bracero camp, the largest in the nation, which at its peak housed 5,000 workers.
Imperial Geographies: How Pollution, Labor, and Border Policy Create the Modern Salton Sea and Imperial Valley
LA Artcore Center, Los Angeles
Project Director: Carly Creley
Imperial Geographies: How Border Policy, Pollution, and Labor Create the Modern Salton Sea and Imperial Valley, will engage communities in discussions of how environmental justice issues affect our lives, and what we can do about it. Sessions will take place at Imperial Valley Desert Museum in October 2023, LA Artcore in December 2023, Steppling Art Gallery at San Diego State University – Imperial Valley in February 2024, and Nervous Ghost Press’s Community Workspace in March 2024. Each will include a talk with the artist, then engage audience members in art and discussion to create a more just environment for all Californians.
Telling the Stories of our Elders’ Service
Community Partners, Los Angeles / Mindful Veteran Project
Project Director: Gail Soffer
Southern California students will interview US veterans about their service and compose poems or prose pieces, telling those veterans’ stories. Pairing students and veterans based on ethnic, orientation, religious, minority backgrounds will provide a more personalized exploration and re-telling of the military experience of various communities’ elders, along with a comparison to the non-military battles that their people continue to fight now. Free public readings and storytelling events will take place around the Greater Los Angeles Area between May and July 2024.
Shifting Possessions: Queer(y)ing Spiritualities & Sexualities +
The 500 Capp Street Foundation, San Francisco
Project Director: Rebecca Kaufman
Shifting Possessions: Queer(y)ing Spiritualities & Sexualities, is a four-part salon series of talks and workshops. This program will highlight artist-scholar-activists whose humanities-based work transmute traumas (e.g., wars in SE Asia and on our streets; intersectional, institutional violence; displacement) towards joyous healing. By questioning binaries beyond spirituality/sexuality and illness/cure, the three interlinked events will focus on music and movement: 1) dance performance + workshop, 2) experimental film screening and Q&A 3) artist talk and workshop 4) art/research/healing workshop. These events will connect BIPOC, particularly queer Southeast Asian and African diasporic communities in the SF Bay Area and nationally through cross-cultural dialogue, ritual, and movement, both physical and metaphysical. Programming will run September 2023 through December 2024.
Hunters Point Shipyard Community History Project +
Shipyard Trust for the Arts, San Francisco
Project Director: Barbara Ockel
Shipyard Trust for the Arts will host four history workshops for local seniors and community members, focusing on the Hunters Point Shipyard. These engaging workshops aim to elicit participants’ memories, emotions, and family stories related to the shipyard, shedding light on a rich history that caused 10’s of thousands of African Americans to migrate to San Francisco. Despite the lingering effects of poverty, environmental concerns, and a sense of isolation resulting from restricted access to the Shipyard over the past five decades, this program seeks to reveal the importance of this hidden past for the community. Programming will run from October 2023 through January 2024.
Sounds of Pomona, 1955-1975 *
dA Center for the Arts, Pomona
Project Director: Tomás Summers Sandoval Jr.
Sounds of Pomona, 1955-1975, will consist of a mixed media, participatory exhibit and accompanying program of community events centered on the history of popular music performance in Pomona, California while promoting the continuing role of music in all our lives. Collaborators to this project will include a group of local students from the Pomona Unified music program, as well as teachers and other professionals seeking to provide an impactful humanities experience for other local youth, using music and history as a foundation. Programming will run November 2023 through February 2024.
First Friday: Community Stories +
San Jose Museum of Art Association, San Jose
Project Director: Robin Treen
The San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) will launch a free three-part series from 6–9 pm on October 6, February 2 and May 3, in partnership with Francis Experience—an Eastside San Jose-based performing group that blends rap, poetry, and storytelling — SJ Storyboard, an organization that bridges diverse communities through digitally immersive storytelling events, and local poets. Offered on popular free “First Friday” nights with open galleries, the three-part residency will offer students and diverse audiences new ways to engage with exhibition themes of migration, identity, self-love, and inclusion through written and spoken word.
Compton Mural Project: Empowering and exposing Compton youth to civic engagement & social justice through mural design and conversation *
Unearth and Empower Communities, Compton
Project Director: Sara Bomani
The Compton Mural Project (CMP), in partnership with Compton District 2 Councilmember Andre Spicer, takes 20 BIPOC youth, grades 6-12, through two months (October and November 2023) of mural design and conversations learning Compton history, the importance of civic engagement, and what social justice can look like. Students will work directly with local artists and community leaders to plan, design, and paint murals, to activate youth voices, narratives and perspectives. CMP is intentionally designed to work with and empower local community members to get involved in social justice and civic engagement through the lens of art, culminating in a community mural unveiling celebration.
Memorias en Movimiento: The Forgotten Revolutionaries of the 1990s San Diego Chicana/o Student Movement +
Media Arts Center San Diego, San Diego
Project Director: Maria Figueroa
In the 1990s Chicana/o students across California organized around issues of the time: state legislation that impacted communities of color, the struggle for representation in the educational system and a fight to reveal the legacies of colonialism in the region. Focusing on San Diego, Memorias en Movimiento: The Forgotten Revolutionaries of the 1990s San Diego Chicana/o Student Movement, will host an intergenerational symposium to bring together the young people from that time. Alongside the panel of speakers will be an exhibit of photos and other memorabilia of this generation’s movement work and contributions. The exhibit and symposium hosted at the historic Centro Cultural de la Raza, will add to San Diego’s collective memory. Programming will run October through December 2023.
LitHop Fresno 2023
Fresno Arts Council, Fresno / LitHop Fresno
Project Director: Andrea Mele
LitHop Fresno, is an annual, all-day literary festival in venues across Fresno’s Tower District founded in 2016 by California’s Poet Laureate, Lee Herrick, during his tenure as Fresno’s Poet Laureate, and co-founded by Lisa Lee Herrick. LitHop is scheduled for Saturday, October 14, 2023, beginning at 12 pm with a series of 45-minute readings at the top of each hour, until 5 pm. Each reading will feature four writers. Audiences will have their choice of reading topics ranging in theme and genre. This event is free, all-ages, and open to the public. A full list of events will be posted on lithopfresno.org.
For Us, By Us: Our Beloved Communities +
Filmmakers Collaborative SF, San Francisco / Re-Present Media
Project Director: Jennifer Crystal Chien
For Us, By Us: Our Beloved Communities, is a multicultural film screening and discussion event highlighting six documentary film excerpts made by a diverse group of local filmmakers who are telling personal stories of Bay Area community heroes. Each film is paired with a key discussion question to engage audiences in cross-cultural dialogue to better understand and to be inspired by role models from different cultural communities. The event will take place in September 2023 in San Francisco.
Queering Cultural Forms
Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center (SADC), Berkeley
Project Director: Snowflake Calvert
SADC’s Queering Dance Festival presents Queering Cultural Forms, a free public movement class and discussion series February 17–March 9, 2024 at BANDALOOP Studios in West Oakland. Four Queer and Trans practitioners of traditional dance forms, including Mexican Folkloric and Armenian Line Dance, will teach cultural dances through a Queer lens and facilitate discussion of the cultural history of queer and gender-expansive people in their dance communities. The series will culminate in a showing by class participants and a discussion with the four teachers about the ways in which LBGTQ2IA+ folks from all backgrounds are deepening traditional dance practices.
Love for Liberation
Film Independent Inc, Los Angeles
Project Director: Robin J. Hayes
During February 2024, the Love for Liberation Project will present a series of public readings and discussions of the critically acclaimed history book, Love for Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground. The text chronicles the experiences of activists—including Malcolm X, Kathleen Neal Cleaver, and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)—as they developed connections with African leaders fighting colonialism. Project activities will occur at public libraries situated in underserved, historically African American communities: Watts, Compton, Inglewood, and Baldwin Hills—and be led by the author, Robin J. Hayes, PhD, a renowned NEH-funded scholar and Los Angeles resident.
California Humanities, a statewide 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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