Innovations in Government Workshop Series
The California Arts Council is partnering with PUSH Dance and Dancing Around Race to offer a racial equity learning workshop series.
Innovations in Government is a workshop series that centers local artists / cultural practitioners as leaders who advance racial equity. Three workshops to be offered this November will center local artists and cultural practitioners to advance racial equity in California’s creative field.
El Consejo de las Artes de California se compromete a aumentar la accesibilidad de sus contenidos en línea. Para leer este información en español, utilice la herramienta Google Translate del sitio web haciendo clic en el enlace “Traducir” situado en la esquina superior derecha de esta página.
About the workshop series
Thank you to all of the attendees for their thoughtful participation at each of our workshops! Stay tuned — and Sign up for our ArtBeat e-newsletter to be alerted as soon as archived videos and workbook content become available on our website.
Our free online public workshops intended to advance racial equity within the state’s arts and cultural field. The three-part series was co-created through a partnership with the Bay Area’s PUSH Dance Company and Dancing Around Race, as part of a pilot project supported by the Government Alliance on Race & Equity’s Innovation and Implementation Fund.
Themes explored will be relevant to arts organizations, artists, nonprofits, and government agencies interested in advancing racial equity practices in their institutions.
Each workshop features standalone curriculum; registrants may attend as many as they see fit to the relevance and goals of their work. To allow for a level of interaction and depth for all participants each workshop is limited to 100 participants. Please register today to hold your place; there will be a waitlist and we will be in touch to confirm your spot in the workshop.
Workshops will include closed captioning and live ASL and Spanish interpretation. Archived video recordings of each workshop will be published to this page during the week of November 28, 2022.
About PUSH Dance Company
Raissa Simpson’s PUSH Dance Company builds vibrant contemporary dances to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges attributed to mixed heritage. This vision includes BΛSE, a BIPOC artists sanctuary for reparative and restorative dance practices through classes, workshops, residencies, and performances.
For more information, visit the PUSH Dance Company website.
About Dancing Around Race
The work of liberation requires collaborative decolonial approaches through the body. Dancing Around Race is led by South Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, Latinx, Black, and multiracial facilitators, and proposes a workshop that leads us toward building coalitional solidarity. Seeking to disrupt hierarchical structures, this workshop will lead participants through the concentric circles of liberation work related to self, institutions we belong to, and communities we serve and represent. We ask: How can we connect personal practice directly to institutional and community work with which we engage? How do we remain in the messy work of ongoing collaboration with one another?
We invite folks to be exquisitely present in their bodies and minds. This includes coming ready to challenge oneself and the institutions they are associated with to move towards systemic change and equity for all. In this invitation we want to share some basic assumptions that the workshop content will build up from. We will share a resource page for further information on these topics. Additionally, each workshop will include a set of follow-up resources.
- That White Supremacy exists as a system that hurts us all and disproportionately hurts people of color.
- That White people have a responsibility to dismantle White Supremacy.
- That Racism + Colonialism are linked, and so Racial Justice + Decolonization are also linked.
- It’s not IF Racism, Colonialism, and White Supremacy exist in our community and nation, it’s HOW we intend to address and fix it.
- That systems of oppression exist as one overarching matrix of domination. Oppressions intersect and are interlocking.
- People experience and resist oppression on a personal, communal, and institutional level.
For more information, visit the Dancing Around Race website.
About the Artist / Cultural Practitioner Presenters
Gerald Casel (he/they/siya) is a Bay Area-based dance artist, equity activator, and antiracist educator. As director of GERALDCASELDANCE, his choreographic work complicates and provokes questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power.
Yayoi Kambara (she/her) has been commissioned by the San Jose Japanese American Citizens League to choreograph IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage, an immersive dance about those illegally incarcerated during WWII who dared to dream of a collective future. Kambara is the lead artist for this project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Hewlett 50 Award. IKKAI premiers in 2023.
David Herrera (he/him) is a Latinx choreographer and community leader. He has also launched two community impact programs: LatinXtensions mentorship and Latinx Hispanic Dancers United. Both programs provide community, resources, and opportunity to the greater national Latinx dance community. The LHDU National Conference (pilot) launches in the fall of 2023.
Bhumi B Patel (she/they) directs pateldanceworks and is a queer, desi, home-seeker, movement artist and writer. In its purest form, her performance work is a love letter to her ancestors. She has presented at Dance Studies Association, Popular Culture Association, and Asia Pacific Dance Festival Conference, and has published writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Life as a Modern Dancer, Contact Quarterly, and InDance.
Raissa Simpson (she/her) is a Black woman of mixed Filipino/Pilipina heritage, scholar/artist and artistic director of the San Francisco-based PUSH Dance Company. Her award-winning choreography is at the intersection of racial and cultural identities and centers around discourse on the complex experiences of racialized bodies.
Peer-Review Panelists for Innovations in Government
Like the other CAC grant programs, the CAC convened a peer-review panel to adjudicate and rank the submitted applications for this program. We offer deep appreciation to our panelists.
Lauren Benetua (Oakland, Folk/Traditional Arts) is an experienced community organizer and cultural leader and the founding Community Catalyst at OF/BY/FOR ALL. Lauren coached members of the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network program and facilitated workshops and trainings before stepping into the new Community Datalyst role. She has worked with organizations across California and the globe focusing on cultural equity and social responsibility, including San Francisco/Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals, The American Arts Incubator, the Western States Arts Federation Emerging Leaders of Color, Betti Ono, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. She holds a Master’s in Museum Studies from a joint international program from Marist College and the Istituto Internazionale Lorenzo de’ Medici, and a Bachelor’s degree in History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of California Santa Cruz. In her own time, Lauren is a dedicated cultural practitioner who has been recognized by the Alliance for Traditional Arts for her studies as an apprentice weaver with Kalingafornia Laga with master artist Jenny Bawer Young (2014), and also for her studies in traditional kulintang ensemble music with master artist, Titania Buccholdt (2017).
Shelly Covert (Grass Valley, Multidisciplinary) is the Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe and sits on the Tribal Council. She is also the Executive Director of the Tribally guided non-profit, CHIRP (CA Heritage: Indigenous Research Project). Recently, with efforts to restore federal recognition, her work has taken on a wider scope that includes social, environmental, and racial justice topics that impact the Tribal community and their wellbeing. It is imperative that this education reaches the State Capital and that those making decisions regarding legislation, policies and budgeting for the state of California know the history of genocide and its continuing ramifications that impact the Nisenan today. Undoing the erasure of Nisenan history has been at the forefront of Tribal efforts and a focus for CHIRP. Raising the visibility of the Nisenan through community outreach, public events, and education has been of great importance as the Tribe struggles with the reintroduction of its culture and identity in 2022. As Tribal liaison, Shelly works closely with the Elders, Tribal Council, and Tribal members, to identify the areas of greatest need, and then guides CHIRP, to develop and implement projects that have found funding.
Laili Gohartaj (Oakland, Music) is passionate about equity and access to arts opportunities for people who have been excluded or marginalized. As a fundraiser, Laili has worked for individual artists and organizations throughout California while using her voice to push funders to acknowledge and dismantle white supremacy in philanthropy. She has also supported the arts community as a grants panelist for the California Arts Council and the City of Oakland, and board member for the Berkeley Arts Center and Mahealani Uchiyama Center for International Dance. Laili is a 2022 Periplus Fellow, was a Western States Arts Federation Emerging Leader of color in 2018 and advisor through 2020, and was a San Francisco Emerging Arts Professionals Fellow in 2017.
Sean Greene (San Francisco, Music) is a program innovator, and advocate for transgender and queer people in San Francisco. He is the Deputy Director of The Transgender District, where he spearheads resource generation for the organization’s innovative Arts & Culture and Economic Development programs to cultivate transgender exceptionalism in the arts, business ownership and safety in the Tenderloin. He is the former Development Director of the GLBT Historical Society and has led development and volunteer efforts at Positive Resource Center (PRC) and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. Sean spent four years on the Board of Directors of the world renowned Folsom Street Fair, overseeing the Entertainment and Volunteer departments and was an underground DJ in San Francisco and Chicago for 10 years during the 2000s, before returning to life in the non-profit sector to lead projects that create opportunities and economic stability for people making their livelihood in the arts.
Terria Smith (Thermal, Literary Arts) is a proud tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. She is also a one-time resident of a dozen different California municipalities and has used this versatile experience to carry on the tradition of storytelling. Since becoming affiliated with the Native American Journalist Association in 2005, the biggest joy she has had in her field has been traveling across the country, meeting native people from a number of tribes, and sharing their stories. Today, she has dedicated the focus of her career to focusing on sharing the stories California’s tribal people, her people. Smith received her undergraduate degrees from College of the Desert and Humboldt State University. She is a 2008 Chips Quinn Scholar who interned with the Ventura County Star newspaper under the direction of the health and science editor. She spent close to two years working as a reporter for The Desert Sun newspaper covering the community of Palm Springs, and now serves on the editorial board. She earned her master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where she focused on radio and multimedia reporting. Today, she works full time as the Berkeley Roundhouse Director for Heyday Books. Among her responsibilities is being the editor for News From Native California magazine – a quarterly publication “devoted to the vibrant cultures, arts, languages, histories, social justice movements, and stories of California’s diverse Indian peoples” and serving as the Director of California Indian Publishing.
Looking Back to Move Forward: How to Begin Addressing the Impacts of Systemic Racism
What consent and permission is needed to talk about systemic racism and address its impacts? This interactive, artist-led workshop will invite participants in looking back, to call on the past to move forward towards systems of racial equity.
Decentering Whiteness in Education
To what extent can we disrupt how white aesthetics and formalism are introduced in academia as the basis for learning? We will contrast how Eurocentrism is introduced to people of colors’ bodies versus how decentering whiteness holds power for discovery and new approaches to learning.
Economics of Race: Intention, Impact, and Consequences
Can we create an economy of abundance through cultural practice? Participants will examine and discuss policies / practices that create space for collective abundance, in contrast with scenarios that perpetuate a false sense of scarcity. We will review the differences between intention, impact, and the consequences of such decisions.