By Meg Upton
COVID19 hit the arts in Plumas County along with other businesses, and the California Arts Council recognizes the impact that has had on Plumas-based artists. With Plumas Arts working as the local partner to distribute funding, groups were awarded CARES Act relief fund grants through the National Endowment for the Arts.
The purpose of these grants is to aid formally, or informally, organized groups serving socially vulnerable populations within Plumas County communities of color that are not eligible for the direct CARES Act stimulus grants. Each of these groups had particular projects in mind to serve community needs.
Plumas Arts has worked diligently to serve and partner with communities of color in the egion. In addition to providing monetary support, Plumas Arts has seen this re-granting of CARES funds as an opportunity to aid in the development of emerging arts-based groups within local communities of color and assist in the delivery of art-based programs to serve these communities and individuals.
Plumas Arts is pleased to have issued grants in December for the following organizations and project:
A mural project at the Greenville Roundhouse Council to be created by both students enrolled in their after school support programs and two Maidu artitsts. Murals will depict native Maidu themes, cultural motifs and design. Maidu teaching artists for the project are Harvey Merino who has taught students at the center for the last five years and emerging Maidu artist Levi Mullen.
Las Pachucas Films/Pachuca Productions documentary film Why Are YOU Here? explores the themes of being a person of color in a 92 percent white rural county. Pachucas is the region’s only Latina run/socially conscious based theatrical troupe. The documentary already underway is collecting interviews of people of color and LGBTQ peoples living in the county and their families as well as historians. Some interviews are conducted with people born in Plumas County, some with immigrant families, some with residents from more urban populations with better diversity. Interviewees provide firsthand accounts of their experiences of living in rural California while black or brown and touch on issues including inequities in schools, medical facilities and policing—as well as job opportunities, housing, and Feather River College programs which have brought in students from all over the United States and the world.
Interviewees are multi-generational and include, Maidu and other Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans and other Latinx ethnic groups (Salvadoran and Columbian), and Asian Americans. Adults are interviewed by Pachuca members, and high school students of color are interviewing and arranging peer-to-peer interviews.
A Mexican community group organized through the local Catholic Church and Plumas County Public Health outreach coordinators will bring art workshops and lessons to LatinX youth in Portola and East County. Because of language, cultural, low-income and poor Internet connectivity barriers, students in these groups and their families have been particularly ill-affected by the loss of in-class learning opportunities with school closures and distanced learning. Subject areas will be determined by the interests of the youth involved. Initial requests are for Hip Hop and Folkorico dance and iPhone photography and video production.
Mountain Passages will work with Latina artists to develop a multi-piece moveable art installation of photographs, words, drawings/ paintings and videos developed by BIPOC community members that will travel to population centers in the county.
Participants will be engaged, and work will be created through, in-person and virtual art lessons and spoken word lessons and workshops bringing individual stories that express their challenges and responses. The project will involve Feather River College and school district educators and students.
Plumas Arts looks forward to seeing these projects come to fruition in the coming year.