The California Arts Council has announced two grant awards of $47,500, totaling $95,000, to the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation as part of its Council Art in Reentry & Jump Start Youth programs in its first round of funding for 2022.
The Reentry Through the Arts program supports arts and culture programs for adults who have been incarcerated within correctional institutions. The program reinforces the direct impact that arts and culture have on the health, welfare, and economic well-being of all Californians and their communities.
“Fresno Metro Black Chamber Foundation is proud to be a part of the CAC community. We understand the importance of art as a healing force as we encourage our Business community to build, scale and thrive,” states Cassandra D. Little Ph.D., Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, CEO. “Through our Arts in Reentry program in partnership with B AWESUM Art Groove Gallery program, we will provide our participants an opportunity to write and own their own story. This program will promote and encourage expression and creativity. It will help our participants develop necessary soft skills to network and prepare for their future in society today. The Art in Reentry program will also lead to healthy and thoughtful cultural discussions around equity and Social Justice. We will have a Red-Carpet performance followed by a discussion session. The program will provide members in the community an opportunity to become proximate with the lives of systems impacted community members. For me Art has historically kept me whole, sane and alive through the entirety of my life. I know firsthand the healing power of artistic expression, and I am thankful to CAC for supporting our efforts to bring Art to our community.”
The JUMP Starts program supports arts and culture education, apprenticeship and/or mentorship via artists-in-residence programs for system-engaged, system-impacted, and/or at-promise youth and young people through the age of 24.
“We understand the importance of art as a healing force as we encourage our youth to thrive and dream in today’s environment. Through our Jump Starts youth program, we will provide our participants an opportunity to experience various forms of artistic expressions. In partnership with B AWESUM Art Groove Gallery, youth will have the opportunity to learn drumming, painting, poetry/storytelling and dance. The Jump Starts Youth Art program will lead to healthy and thoughtful cultural gatherings. The program will also provide the young members in the community an opportunity to express themselves creatively in a healing space. Our goal is to develop a FMBCF Art Troupe that will regularly perform in the community and address social justice issues through art.” Cassandra D. Little Ph.D., Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, CEO.
Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, with grant awards for its Cycle A programming totaling more than $31 million across more than 1,100 grants supporting nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state. The dollar amount already marks the largest annual investment in the California Arts Council’s 46-year history.
“We are elated today to be able to say that, with this first round of funds, we are placing a historic amount of money into the very worthy hands of California’s arts and cultural workforce—and with more yet to come,” said California Arts Council Chair Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez. “We have long since understood the value of our artists in this state, and we are incredibly grateful to our Governor and our Legislature for their support and sharing in a like-minded vision for a California where all people flourish with access to and participation in the arts.”
Organizations were awarded grants across seven different program areas within Cycle A, focused on the CAC’s efforts to address geographic equity, enable autonomy and sustainability for smaller organizations, and grow the strength of local arts agencies and their partnerships.