VOLUME 9, NO. 4
August 31, 2011 
About Us:
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts promotes and supports ways for cultural traditions to thrive now and into the future by providing advocacy, resources, and connections for folk and traditional artists and their communities.

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Recent Blog Posts

Listening to Recording
Beatriz Muniz
July 20, 2011  

It's a Wrap!!!
Virada Chatikul
July 16, 2011

Now What? 

Reaksmey Lath
July 12, 2011


First Quilt titled "Recalling the Journey" January - April, 2011 Design size 65" x 75" 

Patricia A. Montgomery
July 12, 2011

Upcoming Events

A Kawaiisu Language & Cultural Center Event: GO NATIVE  

Sep 3, 2011



How to Start and Run a Nonprofit 

Sep 8 - Sep 8, 2011



Beginning Djembe/Dunun Technique Workshops 

Sep 10 - Sep 10, 2011

Los Angeles 


California Traditional Music Society's Fall Equinox Festival 

Sep 10 - Sep 11, 2011


Stellar Appalachian Old-Time & Bluegrass Music at the Equinox Festival! 

Sep 10 - Sep 10, 2011
Lincoln Heights

Call for Artists from the Mexican Museum in San Francisco
Sep 16, 2011
San Francisco

Language is Life Conference 

Sep 16 - Sep 18, 2011


Congolese Dance & Drum Classes 

Jan 18 - Dec 31, 2011


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Current Exhibits

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article1 ACTA to Showcase Chicano Music in Washington D.C.

Augustin Lira (left), Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores (right).


Join us as we travel to the Nation's Capitol to feature Agustin Lira & Alma and Quetzal in two free concerts: Cantos de mi Cant�n / Songs of my home. Share the special music that maps out a social history of the Chicano experience in the United States, music that illuminates the life, struggle, resilience, and joy of the Chicano community, which has contributed greatly to our grand nation. The concert is curated by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and presented by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The concerts will be webcast by the presenting organizations and broadcast by Radio Biling�e-the National Spanish-language radio network.

Concert Information: Sept 14, 2011


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article4 Dressing with Style: Carnival Traditions

Jasmine McClain working on her dress. Photo: Russell C. Rodriguez 


By Russell C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.,  

Interim Apprenticeship Program Manager


The tradition of carnival, though within the United States is not celebrated much, is a fascinating web of practice, performance, and meaning. The popular imaginary known in the United States is much more informed by the carnival performativity from Brazil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans-all night parties, hyper sexuality, chaotic order, and music, music, music. What is even less understood is the work that goes into producing lines of dancers that parade with beautifully decorated floats, and tight batteries of drummers and musicians. Fortunately, ACTA is blessed with the knowledgeable, spiritual kin, Gloria Toolsie, who has been a foundation to the carnival celebrations in San Francisco since its inception in the late 1970s.




article2Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum: Pasifika Living Arts Festival      


Samoan fire knife dancing employs skill, agility and grace.  The fire element was added as a result of master Samoan practitioner, Letuli, found that he could get work in Hollywood by adding this element to his display.  Photo: K. Kugay

By Lily Kharrazi, Living Cultures Grants Program Manager    


The first Pasifika Living Arts Festival was held on May 7-8, 2011 in Long Beach, hosted by the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PieAM) and supported by a grant from the Living Cultures Program. Planned as a yearly signature event, this occasion showcased art forms from delicate weavings and medicinal tinctures of the Marshall Islands, to the enormous Sakman canoe by the Chamoru builders of San Diego, recreated from old drawings; it will sail for Guam this year. Samoan fire knife champions demonstrated their agility and skill and taught eager attendees the fine art of using the stick as a potential martial arts weapon. Bone carving was demonstrated, and while power tools have replaced hand tools, the skill required to use shell and stone to create Polynesian motifs for adornment remain a learned and complex skill. Dance and song were enjoyed by the attendees. Notable performers were the Kuttaran Chamoru Foundation of Long Beach, which through lecture-demonstration presented the variety of dance and dress of the Chamoru, the indigenous people of Guam.      


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article3Traditional Arts Development:
Kahlil Cummings

Workshop and performance at Motherland Music in Los Angeles, July 9, 2011.  

Photo: LaFonda Jones


In July 2011, Los Angeles-based artist Kahlil Cummings received a mentorship from ACTA's Traditional Arts Development Program to masters Mamady Keita and Famoudou Konate, allowing for travel to Los Angeles to teach a series of Master Djembe/Dunun Workshops. The workshops were presented for Cummings' drum and dance group Balandugu Kan and open to the community. On July 9, Balandugu Kan presented a performance at Motherland Music as a gift for the masters and the community. Nearly 100 people experienced this incredible event.   


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Block5NEA National Heritage Fellowships Nominations Sought
To honor and preserve our nation's diverse cultural heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts annually awards up to seven NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists. These fellowships recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the fellowship.

The guidelines for making nominations for the NEA National Heritage Fellowships have been posted online at Nominations for 2012 are due by October 3, 2011 and can now be made electronically. 

Your advocacy works!

Many readers will remember last winter when the NEA announced it would eliminate the program. The advocacy efforts of past fellows and a robust field of cultural workers turned the tide fostering discussions with legislators and senior agency officials leading to the reinstatement of this vital flagship program for the country's traditional arts. ACTA thanks NEA for reconsidering the vital impact of this program and maintaining it in challenging economic times-now and in the future.


Act Now!


The NEA faces a challenging course in securing its budget this year-ACTA urges you to take a few minutes and contact your Members of Congress and Senators to support the NEA in the budget and to tell them that the arts means jobs!  Please visit: The Arts Action Center at 


Contact ACTA
[email protected]

   The Alliance for California Traditional Arts is the California Arts
   Council's official partner in serving the state's folk & traditional
   arts field.