California Arts Council Awards $2 Million in Grants for Innovations + Intersections Pilot Program

Funded projects offer arts-based strategies for community needs in wellness and technology sectors

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council announced today six recipients of its pilot grant program Innovations + Intersections, aimed at providing groundbreaking approaches to address society’s most pressing issues and opportunities. The grants will serve as a resource for the awarded nonprofit arts organizations to implement their creative strategies for urgent community needs crossing the technology and wellness sectors-two areas identified by the Council body as having the greatest potential for demonstrable impact and community value when connected with arts and culture.

Innovations + Intersections projects were funded up to $500,000, the largest possible award amount in the agency’s history, made possible by a one-time 2018 state funding increase. Awarded project designs consider the areas of artificial intelligence and digital literacy, Native and Indigenous community wellness, disability innovation, and wildfire management.

“The Innovations + Intersections program stemmed from our desire as Council members to bring together the areas of technology and wellness in order to generate the greatest impact for our state’s communities. We wanted to allow California’s arts and cultural organizations the freedom to dream big and define those projects as they saw fit-to determine what was needed in their communities, and to imagine a new approach to best address those needs,” said California Arts Council Chair Nashormeh Lindo. “The bold thinking and groundbreaking ideas from these six awarded organizations are exceptional. We are honored to support their projects creatively taking on such relevant issues for our state.”


The AjA Project
San Diego County
With support from the California Arts Council, The AjA Project will design and implement a program that teaches a new generation of youth to reclaim the narrative of digital images that have been collected without consent, build an asset-based classification system and apply it to existing photographs created by young people in City Heights, learn to expose the harms and biases of AI, and share this project and its findings with policy makers.

Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations
San Francisco County
With support from the California Arts Council, Dancing Earth will launch an online multitribal and multidisciplinary wellness initiative to improve the physical, mental, and behavioral outcomes of California Native communities, with intersectional alliance-building with Black, LGBTQ, disabled, and XicanX communities and organizations. This initiative seamlessly integrates Native-centric arts and culture, wellness, and both ancient and modern technology.

International Society for Arts Sciences and Technology, Inc.
Alameda County
CripTech Incubator is an art-and-technology fellowship centered on disability innovation. Encompassing residencies, rapid-prototyping workshops, presentations, publication and education, this innovation incubator creates a platform for artists with disabilities to engage and remake creative technologies through the lens of accessibility.

Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc.
Mariposa County
With support from the California Arts Council, the Mariposa County Arts Council will develop, create and install four to seven major site-specific artistic interventions along the Mariposa Creek Parkway. These installations will address wildfire prevention strategies and representation of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation-two deeply linked issues currently reframing Mariposa’s community dialogue about fire management practices, historical narratives, and the connection between place and public health.

Meztli Projects
Los Angeles County
With support from the California Arts Council, Meztli Projects will provide IndigenARTS & Wellness, a project blending Indigenous practices with mental health and wellness support, a partnership with Indigenous Circle of Wellness using beading circles and printmaking as art forms to generate dialogue around intergenerational trauma and resiliency, sexual and gendered violence, systemic violence, and art as medicine and a healing tool to process, reflect and work toward individual and collective wellness.

Urban Jazz Dance Company
San Francisco County
With support from the California Arts Council, Urban Jazz Dance Company will create a virtual platform promoting health, wellness, and access to the arts in Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations. Launching in November 2021, established by October 2023, the platform will provide free and subscription-based videos and workshops with captioning, ASL interpretation and serve as the first Deaf performing arts virtual archive. Funds will be used for UJDC staff, Deaf consultants and access services.

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The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Jaime Galli, Larry Baza, Lilia Gonzales Chavez, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit

Kimberly Brown

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