News Releases

Fresno Regional Foundation Grants $217,434 for Valley Arts and Culture


May 14, 2015

Media Contacts:

Hugh J. Ralston, President & CEO; [email protected]; 559-226-5600 x101

Kelvin F. Alfaro, Program Officer; [email protected]; 559-226-5600 x 105

Fresno Regional Foundation Grants $217,434 for Valley Arts and Culture

The Fresno Regional Foundation (FRF) will be awarding $217,434 in grants to support 17 Arts and Culture organizations serving the San Joaquin Valley.

Grantees will be recognized and receive their awards at a reception at Arte Americas, 1630 Van Ness Ave in Fresno on Tuesday, May 19 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This event is open to the public.

“The Fresno Regional Foundation serves a valley that is rich in culture and diversity. Grants awarded this year under this priority capture the rich history of our region, advance the ways in which communities engage and practice the arts with consideration for under-served communities, and strengthen the life and academic skills of community members.” said FRF CEO Hugh J. Ralston. ”We are pleased to be able to extend these grants to so many organizations in our region.”

In partnership with the James Irvine Foundation, two of the 17 organizations are receiving Engagement Pathway grants that embrace and advance the diverse ways we experience the arts. Throughout 2015 and 2016, FRF will host a series of arts public presentations to promote engagement in the Arts in nontraditional places and increase the accessibility of the arts for all.

The funding for the 2015 Arts and Culture grant cycle is made possible by the following funds at the Regional Foundation: FRF Arts and Cultural Advancement Fund, Lulu and Herbert Gundelfinger Memorial Fund for Arts, Hearst Endowment for Art and Science, and the Louis Gundelfinger Memorial Fund for Parks. Funding for the Engagement Pathways Pilot Grants is made possible through a partnership with The James Irvine Foundation,

The 17 organizations and the funded activities are listed below:

1.      Visalia Opera Company ($10,000) The Visalia Opera Company will present Bizet's, "Carmen" in an old lumberyard in Visalia.

2.      Bachrun LoMele ($10,000) Local artist, Bachrun LoMele presents a portable, interactive art installation called Hide Out that creates a festive and lively venue for the exploration of incomprehension as a common life experience.

3.      Fresno Historical Society ($7,000) The Fresno Historical Society lead restoration of the 19th century religious altar used in the city's Joss House – an important artifact of Fresno’s early Chinatown history.

4.      Shinzen Friendship Garden, Inc. ($7500) The grant will fund a technological infrastructure upgrade with a multi-media platform, accessible via smart phones and tablets to enhance the community engagement with the art, history and culture of the Central Valley's Shinzen Friendship Garden.

5.      Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc. ($7,500) The Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc. (MCACI) will expand the F/STOP Initiative, a photography-based program for Mariposa’s seniors focused on creating and sharing visual historical stories pertaining to Mariposa County.

6.      Arte Americas ($10,000) Arte Americas will expand the traditional celebrations of DIA DE LOS MUERTO into surrounding cities of Madera, Visalia, Sanger, and Hanford through partnerships in these communities to host con-current celebrations.

7.      United Way of Fresno County ($10,000) Hmongstory 40 will unveil an exhibit in Dec 2015 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Hmong migration out of Laos in 1975. The exhibit will showcase the Hmong journey to California and highlight the community’s significant political, social, and economic contributions over the last 40-years in California.

8.      JazzFresno, Inc. ($10,000) This grant will provide 28 students the opportunity to expand and develop their musical skills by attending Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop summer jazz camp where they will have the opportunity to work with Gilbert Castellanos, a Roosevelt School of the Arts graduate and one of the country's top jazz trumpeters.

9.      Center for Lao Studies ($10,000) Grant funds will support an interactive contemporary artistic exhibit entitled Between Two Worlds: Untold Stories of Refugees from Laos in California. The exhibit will begin in Fresno and travel to various cities in California that have significant Lao populations.

THE BEAT WITHIN ($10,000) Grant will fund writing, art and conversation workshops the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus.

11.  New Conservatory Theatre Center ($10,000) Grant will support NCTC’s delivery of Pride on Tour and YouthAware in Fresno County. Pride on Tour will present Katya: A One Night Stand on June 13, 2015, while YouthAware will bring anti-bullying and diversity education to middle and high school students during the 2015-16 school year.

12.  Teocalli Cultural Academy ($10,000) Grant will support cultural programming to the underserved Latino rural community in the Central Valley via dance and music classes, community workshops, and a culminate in a public community presentation.

13.  Break the Barriers, Inc. ($10,000) Grant will support ballroom dancing classes for veterans of the Central Valley and their family and will culminate in an end of the year Veteran Gala.

14.  Creative Fresno ($12,420) Grant will fund a Digital Mural Map documenting the murals of Fresno County that allows users to find and learn about the art and the muralist. A high-quality book will be produced and donated to educational libraries.

15.  Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County ($19,226.95) 50 youth in 6 clubs (both urban and rural) will engage in arts projects that target increased self-awareness and self-expression (both written and creative design) while creating sculptural of fantastical beings, Alebrijes, from a Latino folk tradition.

16.  Youth Orchestras of Fresno ($30,000) The project builds on the success of Youth Orchestras of Fresno Accent on Access program in the past four years. The program brings music training to youth and is able to demonstrate improvements in both life skills and academic success for program participants.

17.  SAM Academy ($33,787) The Sanger Young Artist Studio Maker Mentors will engage artistically motivated at-risk high school youth to explore their artistic interests, cultural roots, and career options through a community based art studio experience. Students will improve school outcomes, job-readiness, and communication skills, build social and cultural assets, and contribute to their community.

About the Fresno Regional Foundation

Founded in 1966, FRF improves the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley through philanthropy. It serves Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare and Kings Counties.

FRF is the trusted link between donors and organization’s stewarding to your legacies and investing in permanent, high-impact initiatives for the San Joaquin Valley. The Foundation holds assets of over $62 million and awarded $1.6 million in competitive grants, and over $9.3 million in total grants in 2014. Grant priorities for the foundation include Arts and Culture, Youth, Human Services, Strengthening children ages zero to eight and their families, reducing teen pregnancy, investing in nonprofit capacity, and helping veterans. 

For more information about the Fresno Regional Foundation, please visit or call 559-226-5600.


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