West indian culture

Oakland to fund new cultural festivals with grant program

The city opens the application process for its “Neighborhood Voices for Festivals” grant program starting May 16. Now in its second year, the program will provide approximately $420,000 in funding to nonprofits and community groups interested in hosting festival events. in their neighborhood.

“This opportunity is grounded in the understanding that our neighborhoods are unique and that comes through through festivals, so we want to reinforce that festival culture,” said Roberto Bedoya, Oakland’s cultural affairs manager.

Applicants can apply for a maximum grant of $20,000. Organizations must be nonprofits based in Oakland and all festival activities must take place in the city between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. The program is supported by funds appropriated from the general budget of the city. Last year, Oakland set aside $316,250 for the first round of grants.

Emphasis is placed on festivals that showcase cultural heritage practices and public art exhibits that represent communities in Oakland impacted by racial disparities.

“The festival culture in Oakland is very diverse and can range from a Dia de los Muertos celebration to a Laotion community block party,” Bedoya said.

Last year’s grant recipients included the Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historic Park, the Eastside Arts Alliance and the American Indian Child Resource Center. The three organizations are using the funds for upcoming festivals, which will take place in May and June.

The Cultural Affairs Committee also organizes informational webinars to help organizations with the application process. These webinars are scheduled for May 24 and June 2. All grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the free webinars.

Bedoya said the Cultural Affairs Committee intends to keep the program going as long as it gets the necessary funding.

“I’m pretty determined to maintain that going forward,” Bedoya said, “and I never see it going away.”

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