MENDOCINO CO., 7/6/23 – This past week, the Arts Council of Mendocino County announced that seven local arts organizations and artists received Upstate California Creative Corps grants. The grant program awarded over 80 grants to arts organizations, cultural programs, and artists from 19 Northern California counties. The grant program seeks to uplift the voices of underrepresented communities and places about public health, conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness and recovery.
The following Mendocino County organizations and artists received grants: the Acorn & Abalone Project, Jenn Procacci and Michelle Penaloza of Past Present Future, Daniel LoPilato, the Deep Valley Arts Collective, Corine Pearce, the Willits Center for the Arts and Ross Travis. While the exact amount of each award has not been announced,, grants across the nineteen counties range from $5,000 to $200,000.
One of those organizations, Ukiah-based Deep Valley Arts Collective, received $33,198 to pilot a new program called “Pieced Together: Recovery Through Art Therapy.” The program will offer guided art therapy workshops to people recovering from substance abuse. “We are honored to be chosen among our peers in the art community to provide this project to the residents of Mendocino County,” says Lillian Rubie, president of the Deep Valley Arts Collective, “Our project will focus on how art can help all people in recovery and those affected by substance abuse by using artistic tools to envision a different future as well as directly exploring the ramifications of substance abuse in a group art project.” According to Rubie, the project will partner with local organizations providing recovery services and art therapists to create a series of workshops culminating in an art exhibition and community art piece.
Two Covelo residents, interdisciplinary artist Jenn Procacci and writer Michelle Penaloza, also received a grant. The two creatives will use their grant award to produce Past Present Future, a weekly publication. “We can’t wait to engage with our community in Covelo to explore the past, report the present, and imagine our collective future,” Procacci shared on Facebook. Proacci and Penaloza will source ideas and news during their weekly visits to the Covelo Farmers Market, where they will also distribute Past Present Future.
Here’s the announcement from the Arts Council of Mendocino County:
The Arts Council of Mendocino County and peer agencies across California’s Upstate Region, led by Nevada County Arts Council, announce $3.38 million in grant awards across Northern California. The Arts Council of Mendocino County today celebrates seven grantees, all from Mendocino County, who will be working under the Upstate California Creative Corps program. Antoinette Ascencio, Corine Pearce, Jenn Procacci, Lillian Rubie, Ross Travis, Willits Center for the Arts, and Mendocino Dance Company are among 26 partner agencies, 54 lead creative partners, and a total of 1,007 artists and culture bearers supporting initiatives serving California’s least represented peoples, and most vulnerable communities and environments.
Grantees are collectively part of a media, outreach, and engagement campaign designed to increase awareness for issues such as public health, water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief and recovery. California Arts Council views the California Creative Corps program as a job creation and human infrastructure development opportunity. Region by region, the program is increasing the ways in which artists are engaged in public work, so that they can continue build upon intersectional public interest goals beyond its pilot funding timeline. A complete list of grantees can be found at https://www.upstatecreativecorps.org/grantees.
Announcing Upstate California Creative Corps grantees follows over seven months of outreach, listening and support before and during the program’s application window. Alyssum Wier, Executive Director at Arts Council of Mendocino County states, “We’ve never seen a funding opportunity like this before in our lifetimes. Artists, community organizations, and municipalities throughout Mendocino County responded with excitement and enthusiasm to the invitation to grapple with our collective long-standing challenges, and the funded projects represent just a fraction of the brilliant problem-solving and creative potential around us. I encourage any community-serving agencies with funding for outreach and public awareness to partner with artists to advance your objectives. Our directory of artists and the Upstate Creative Corps directory are good places to start, and I am always happy to help create introductions too.”
Katrina Schneider, a core member of Upstate California Creative Corps’ team, says: “A unique factor in the way we designed our program has been about building capacity for our smallest agencies, who successfully applied alongside much larger more established entities, with or without the support of a grantwriter, as well as a slew of individual artists and culture bearers, working solo and in tandem as serious changemakers without previous access to funds and resources.”
Funded projects serve Upstate’s most vulnerable communities, those identified via the California Healthy Places Index and other valuable local data sources. From place-based urban initiatives to multi-county regional projects that follow watersheds, tribal lands, forests, and some of California’s most remote mountain wilderness areas, projects engage diverse communities around solutions for some of society’s most fundamental challenges – through social practice and an array of artforms.
Within the Upstate Region, the Arts Council of Mendocino County is one of a network of agencies who serve as State-Local Partners with California Arts Council. While each serves distinct communities, State-Local Partner agencies are connected through a coalition that benchmark, consult, and gain from peer learning and support, with equity at their core. Upstate agency partners are Nevada County Arts Council, as administering organization for the California Creative Corps, Arts Council of Mendocino County, Arts Council of Placer County, Colusa County Arts Council, Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness, Friends of the Arts in Butte, Humboldt Arts Council (and Ink People, working in partnership with Humboldt Arts Council), Lake County Arts Council, Lassen County Arts Council, Modoc County Arts Council, Nevada County Arts Council, Plumas County Arts Council, Shasta County Arts Council, Sierra County Arts Council, Siskiyou County Arts Council, Tehama County Arts Council, Trinity County Arts Council, and Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture.