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

Seven New Humanities for All Project Grants Receive $174,405 To Support Community Storytelling in California

Conceptual drawing of the Eureka Chinatown Monument. Elements include a “tile” river timeline with concrete “stone markers” symbolizing the changing population of Chinese residents, markers that will be inscribed with Chinese characters (see below), a moon gate, a ginkgo tree (symbolizes remembrance), a poem by a local Chinese American Poet, and an interpretive panel (providing an overview of Eureka’s Chinatown history). Courtesy of spring 2024 grantee Recovering Eureka Chinatown's Past.

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact:  Kerri Young, Communications Manager, 

June 20, 2024—(Oakland, CA)—California Humanities is proud to announce its latest Humanities for All Project Grant awards totaling $174,405 to seven nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the state.   

Over the next two years, these grants will support ambitious and innovative projects that will use the humanities to provide insights on a diverse array of topics, including the history and cultural traditions of immigrants from many parts of the world who have come to the Central Valley, how a city in northern California is grappling with the legacy of discrimination against people of Chinese ancestry, and an interpretive exhibit and public programming series in the Inland Empire that will explore the world of zines, comics, and graphic novels.   

Organized by public and private partner organizations of many types, these projects will engage Californians of all ages and backgrounds and contribute to building more inclusive communities across the state.  

A man wearing a black longsleeve top stands facing a seated audience in an outdoor courtyard.
Spring 2024 grantee Litquake Foundation will present Lit Crawl San Francisco 2024. In this scene from Lit Crawl 2018, Alan Saint Clark reads his story during Beyond Wakanda, an event where six black writers dove into the surreal, reading from futuristic and Wakanda-inspired works in San Francisco’s Mission District. In 2024, Lit Crawl return to San Francisco to host roughly 50 community-built literary events around the Mission on the evening of October 26.

“This was an extremely competitive round, with our seven new Project Grant recipients representing only 6% of the applications we received,” said California Humanities’ President and CEO Rick Noguchi. “These projects rose to the top, and collectively represent what the humanities are about in California: providing creative ways to tell stories that haven’t been told, contributing to the mosaic that is California’s identity.” 

Projects Awarded Spring 2024 

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 one specific funding focus areas for Humanities for All Project Grants: Youth Voices (denoted by “*”). 

Harlem Voices 
EcoArts of Lake County dba Middletown Art Center, Middletown 
Project Director: Lisa Kaplan 

Using the performing arts to spark community conversations, this project aims to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of the African American experience in this rural Northern California community. A series of live performances of music and spoken word selections will provide context for discussions that will be facilitated by Rev. Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., a local minister, scholar, and community leader who also composed the musicals. Through a series of events beginning in fall 2024, the organizers aim to raise awareness of the history and persistence of inequities and discrimination in American society, foster empathy, and promote a more inclusive community environment.    

Betty Rodriguez Regional Library: Communities Read Together 
Fresno County Library Jurisdiction, Fresno / Betty Rodriguez Regional Library 
Project Director: Jamie Kurumaji 

Efrén Divided, a young adult novel by Ernesto Cisneros, which explores the themes of immigration, social justice, and identity through the lens of the Mexican American experience, will anchor a six-month journey of literacy beginning in November 2024 for residents of this Central Valley community. In collaboration with local partners, the library will offer a wide variety of accessible family-oriented programs including presentations and panels, visual and performing arts performances and activities, community-led book discussions, and an author talk. Project goals are to increase literacy, promote critical thinking, promote empathy, strengthen community connections, and expand opportunities for lifelong learning.   

Recovering Eureka Chinatown’s Past 
Ink People Center for the Arts / Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity 
Project Director: Amy Uyeki 

This multifaceted project will help raise awareness of the history of racism and discrimination faced by people of Chinese ancestry in the region and contribute to current efforts to make Eureka a more inclusive community. Groundbreaking for a permanent memorial in the city’s historic Chinatown that will commemorate the expulsion of Eureka’s Chinese population in 1885 and honor their persistence and perseverance will coincide with the opening of “Chinese Pioneers,” a photo exhibit developed by the California Historical Society, and a public symposium in fall 2024. Ongoing self-guiding and docent-led tours and related educational programs will be developed by HAPI and partners, including the City of Eureka, Humboldt County Historical Society, the Clarke Historical Museum, and Cal Poly Humboldt. 

Taste of Dance: A Delectable and Rhythmic Exploration of Culture in California’s Central Valley * 
Kern Dance Alliance, Bakersfield 
Project Director: Andrea Hansen 

Beginning in fall 2024, a series of free events will take place at local culinary institutions, parks, and festivals that will cultivate awareness, preserve heritage, and celebrate the contributions that four immigrant communities— Basque, Filipino, Punjabi, and Italian —have made to the rich cultural diversity of Kern County. Immersive and engaging activities developed by community partners, including food tastings, dance and music performances, workshops, lectures, and discussions, will enable them to share their histories, cultures, values and stories. By providing accessible and inclusive experiences and making special efforts to engage local high school youth and people with disabilities, the project will help to create a welcoming community for all Bakersfield residents.   

Reading Room: Zines, Comix, & Other Radical Texts exhibition, public programs, and festivals* 
Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga 
Project Director: Rebecca Trawick 

Zines and comics are accessible and approachable art forms that are particularly appealing to young people, members of many marginalized and underserved communities, and others who feel a sense of “otherness.” Organized by the museum with the support of campus and community partners, this multidimensional project will launch in fall 2024 with the opening of an interpretive exhibition focusing on artists and authors whose works examine a range of topics of special interest to youth, including identity, community, and social change. Accompanying public programs will include film screenings, panel discussions, hands-on art-making workshops, and other community engagement opportunities featuring local and regional creatives. 

Koreatown Storytelling Program: Traditional Healing Arts in Koreatown (KSP)* 
Koreatown Youth & Community Center, Los Angeles 
Project Director: Katherine Kim 

This intergenerational, multilingual and multiethnic participatory humanities project will enable local high school students and elders to explore the culture of health and healing practices in Los Angeles’s multicultural Koreatown neighborhood. In collaboration with UCLA faculty and students, KSP will conduct trainings in oral history and ethnographic techniques, traditional arts, traditional foodmaking, and hold community engagement events in fall 2024 that will encourage sharing of cultural traditions and raise awareness of available resources for community members. A culminating celebration in May 2025 will coincide with the launch of a book, video, and website that will house the oral history interviews and other knowledge products. Key project goals are to strengthen intergenerational connections, document and share the experiences of immigrants and youth, and increase community health and well-being. 

Lit Crawl San Francisco 2024 
Litquake Foundation, San Francisco 
Project Director: Sophia Cross 

Lit Crawl San Francisco will offer over 50 live, in-person, community-led public reading, storytelling, and multidisciplinary events culminating in communal celebration on Saturday, October 25, 2024. Sourced via a public submission process and highlighting the work of local BIPOC/LGBTQ+ authors, the project will also draw on the contributions of critics, scholars, and other literary professionals (more than 250 in total) to activate locally organized events hosted by collaborating institutions, both public and private, across the city compressed into six hours. The project will make use of many types and genres of literature as a means to catalyze discussions about current issues, promote cross-cultural exchange, and build community among a diverse, intergenerational audience of 5,000 from the greater Bay Area. 

The California Humanities’ Project Grant program, a branch of our Humanities for All competitive grant program, provides funding twice a year for public humanities projects of up to two years duration from the award date. Launched in 2016, the program has made 170 awards, totaling $3.2 million. Learn more about the Humanities for All Grant Program here.  

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, or like and follow on Instagram, Facebook, X, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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