A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of serving on a grant panel review for ACTA, the Alliance of California Traditional Arts. It was really nice to get out of the Texas mindset and learn from distinguished colleagues all that is going on in California. Let me tell you - they've got lots going on!
Their director, Amy Kitchner, is a leader in the national folk arts scene who is spearheading research in the impact of the folk and traditional arts, particularly community arts, on health. Program Manager Russel Rodriguez was a great host leading us through the apprenticeship panel process we were reviewing, and he's the lucky guy who gets to work closely with all the awardees - documenting their traditions, their lives, and their progress as they learn and present a new craft. Russel is a mariachi expert who knows a good number of musicians I work with in Texas, so it was great chatting with him. Operations Manager Amy Lawrence took good care of us logistically, and Program Manager Nayamin Martinez Cossio got us the most amazing Oaxacan breakfast that I really regret not taking a picture of! Many thanks to ACTA staff for their wonderful hospitality.
Another great privilege was serving with this distinguished group of panelists - Francis Wong, Anna Scott, Robert Garfias, and Jennifer Bates. These knowledgeable group of artists, arts administrators, scholars really enlightened me with the breath of their knowledge and depth of their insights.
This was all good preparation for the reinstating of Texas Folklife's apprenticeship program on a grand scale. Stay tuned for that, coming in 2015!