California Arts Council

State of California

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December 08, 2015NEA: Victoria Hutter

National Endowment for the Arts Awards $4.1 million to California Arts Projects

A total of 178 California grants were announced by the NEA today, including eight awards for arts projects taking place in National Parks located in California

Pictured: Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble in Oakland will receive a grant for the creation of a new work exploring female empowerment and disempowerment; confinement and mobility; and youth and age.

SACRAMENTO - Today the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced their first round of fiscal year 2016 funding. The federal arts agency will award 178 grants totaling $4,107,000 to support arts projects in California.

The NEA awards support a broad range of arts, including the Young Artist Diploma Program at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond and the tour and production of an interactive and immersive production portraying the Native people of the Los Angeles basin from Cornerstone Theatre Company.

Click here to view the complete announcement from the National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "The arts are part of our everyday lives - no matter who you are or where you live - they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like those in California offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day."

Follow the conversation about these projects on Twitter at #NEAFall15.

Announcement Highlight: Imagine Your Parks

New this funding round are eight California awards made through Imagine Your Parks, an initiative celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NEA, which coincides with the centennial of the National Park Service. To celebrate both milestones, Imagine Your Parks is supporting arts projects taking place in national parks. The initiative acknowledges what the NEA has observed and funded for some time - that national parks host an array of arts activities.

"The California Arts Council is proud of our state's strong partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "The NEA supports model arts projects taking place in communities all across our great state. This year, we are particularly excited about the new Imagine Your Parks grants, which will highlight the natural beauty of California through artistry and creative expression. Congratulations to the eight organizations whose creativity will celebrate our National Parks, and to all of the 178 California grant recipients."  

The eight Imagine Your Parks grants for California projects include:

Regents of the University of California at Berkeley (On behalf of Cal Performances)
$35,000 | Berkeley, CA
To support the Cal Performances' Saint Louis Symphony residency and a collaboration with the Trust for Public Land, an Imagine Your Parks project. Cal Performances will present the Saint Louis Symphony with Music Director David Robertson in a multi-day residency on the Berkeley, California campus, which will be anchored by a performance of French composer Olivier Messiaen's "Des canyons aux etoiles... (From the canyons to the stars...)," a work commissioned by Alice Tully in 1971 for the bicentennial celebration of the United States of America. The performance will be accompanied by a visual installation by landscape photographer Deborah O'Grady designed to capture the grandeur of Utah's desert landscapes.

Machine Project
$20,000 | Los Angeles, CA
To support a series of multidisciplinary events inspired by Imagine Your Parks. Machine Project will work with national and international emerging artists to create new works located within public spaces throughout Los Angeles. Artists will create performances, installations, and other artworks that explore the legacy and identity of National Parks, and their role relative to community-building, as well as cultural and natural history.

Project Bandaloop (aka BANDALOOP)
$30,000 | Oakland, CA
To support the creation and presentation of a dance work to commemorate the National Park Service's centennial, an Imagine Your Parks project. Coyote Waltzes by Artistic Director Amelia Rudolph will explore the Native American myth of the trickster coyote through dances. The work will be performed on mountains in Yosemite National Park. Young performers from Oakland's Destiny Arts will be involved in the execution of the work. The company also will work with Yosemite staff to connect the next generation of park stewards to its mission, introducing them to environmental responsibility and conservation through the project. The work will be presented to the public through social media platforms and livestreaming. BANDALOOP also plans to share the work through interactive projections of the performance on city buildings. "Coyote Waltzes" will culminate in a performance on the Great Wall in Oakland.

Point Reyes National Seashore Association
$10,000 | Point Reyes Station, CA
To support environmental artist residencies and related activities, an Imagine Your Parks project. Artist residencies will be held at the Mesa Refuge, a writers' retreat located in Point Reyes National Seashore, a part of the National Park Service. Each residency will include gatherings that bring artists and park staff together to share perspectives on climate questions, especially about how they relate to parks.

Fort Mason Center
$20,000 | San Francisco, CA
To support "The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms," an Imagine Your Parks project. The Fort Mason Center will project a dense waterwall created by installation artist Michael Jones McKean at timed intervals to reveal a rainbow over the center's three piers that extend into the San Francisco Bay. An accompanying exhibition created by McKean will include historical objects from the area. Fort Mason Center is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service.

inkBoat, Inc. (aka inkBoat)
$15,000 | San Francisco, CA
To support the creation and presentation of "The Monster and the Hero" an Imagine Your Parks project. inkBoat will collaborate with the theater company We Players and the Rova Saxophone Quartet to create a new multidisciplinary work inspired by "Beowulf." Working in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and adjacent Fort Mason, the artists will draw inspiration from the National Park Service sites, including Coast Miwok people settlements, U.S. military history, and historic ships. Workshop performances will be open to the public leading up to the premiere of the site-specific work.

Headlands Center for the Arts
$35,000 | Sausalito, CA
To support artist residencies, an alumni new works program, and an artist commissioning program. Residencies will focus on emerging and mid-career artists. The alumni new works and commissioning programs will offer support for special projects created by past participating artists and local artists. The commissioning program's goals include supporting and investing in artists whose work will impact the cultural landscape; providing artists with the support to produce a project which might not otherwise happen; and encouraging artists to make work inspired by the Marin Headlands, part of the National Park Service.

Twentynine Palms Artists' Guild (aka 29 Palms Art Gallery)
$20,000 | Twentynine Palms, CA
To support a multidisciplinary series in Joshua Tree National Park. An Imagine Your Parks project, the series will focus on contemporary Native American artists, and will center on the Oasis of Mara, an area of cultural significance to the tribes that are affiliated with the Joshua Tree National Park Service site. Activities will include an art exhibition, outdoor performances, a site-specific installation, and an artist residency, as well as free or low-cost education and outreach programs.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016. Go to to enjoy art stories from around the nation, peruse Facts & Figures, and check out the anniversary timeline.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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