Ektaa Center receives California Arts Council “Local Impact” Grant

August 26, 2015

The California Arts Council announced it plans to award $8700 to Ektaa Center as part of its Local Impact program that fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations reaching underserved communities. All projects must extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations that have limited access to the arts.

Ektaa Center will present DANCE CONVERSATIONS 3: DANCING COMMUNITIES, DANCING CITIES (DC3) at UC Irvine from November 5 - 7, 2015. It will examine the ways that Indian performance practices can enable us to rethink the city we live in and its relationship to the various communities that inhabit it. This includes the UCI campus community, the larger South Asian community and the diverse communities that make up Irvine.

Parts of this project are slated to bring together dancers and musicians from the South Asian community together with the UCI dance and music departments and culminate in a performance. It will also feature workshops and “conversations/lectures/ discussions” that will explore the idea of community and the city. DC 3 takes a look at the ways in which Indian dance and music makes meaning in the twenty first century. Rather than being relegated to the margins and/or dismissed as irrelevant “traditional” forms, one hopes that Indian dance and music will continue refreshing itself while keeping an eye on its past.

“Indian dance and music has been boxed into a ‘tradition’ that has sometimes prevented scholars, practitioners and the public from seeing its immense elasticity to adapt, thus limiting its access to a few connoisseurs and enthusiasts. Dance Conversations 3 is an effort to explore, educate and exchange ideas to expand the access by using newer technologies and the power of the idiom,” said Ramya Harishankar, co-convener and board member of Ektaa Center.  

“California Arts Council grants support a wide range of projects that are crafted by each community to reflect their values and needs,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. “It is always exciting to see what creative minds attempt to do when working collaboratively. With an increased state investment, we are able to further spark the powerful growth and prosperity that result from the deep arts engagement provided by our grant.”

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

The Ektaa Center is the first center in Southern California dedicated to the arts and culture of India. Based in Irvine, the Center serves the southland community with classes, events and activities that promote an awareness and understanding of India’s diverse and rich artistic and cultural traditions.