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In January 2023, 18th Street Arts Center made a call for 40 California artists and culture bearers (collectively known as ‘artists’) to develop impactful arts and culture projects that foster community wellbeing in regions throughout the state that are located in California Healthy Places Index (HPI) Quartile 1 ZIP codes. Over 375 artists and culture bearers already working to strengthen community wellbeing in California pitched their ideas, and an independent panel of reviewers selected 14 visionary projects from each region of the state (Northern, Central, Southern) resulting in 42 Round One finalists

The 42 Round One finalists participated in a month-long series of professional development workshops. Led by 18th Street Arts Center staff, and guests from partner organizations Clockshop, USC SLab, Healthy Places Index and Rand Corporation, workshops took grantees through the process of developing a complete proposal for their project and offered an introduction to and best practices for proposal creation; including budgeting, surveying and evaluation, outreach and communication strategies, documentation, culture mapping, community engagement, and partner development. 

Round Two culminated in a second round of review of the now complete and comprehensive project proposals for funding consideration. A total of 18 proposals were selected for funding, receiving a production budget of up to $50,000 and a year-long salary of $65,000, medical and dental insurance (at no cost to the artist) and the option to join 18th Street Art Center's SIMPLE IRA plan with employer match for one year. Artists will all receive a $1,000 stipend for completing Round Two and have full ownership of their proposal to seek funding elsewhere should their proposal not be selected. 

The 18 funded Community Engagement Art Project artists will form a year-long cohort whose projects will contribute to a statewide California Culture Map. 18th Street Arts Center believes culture mapping is essential infrastructure for successful collaboration between arts and culture producers and community leaders seeking to foster well-being among neighbors at the local level.  

The final cohort of 18 were announced in June 2023. 


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Anuradha Vikram
Northern California

Anuradha Vikram is a writer, curator, and educator born in New York and based in Los Angeles. They are co-curator of the 2024 Portland Biennial and guest curator of the Getty Pacific Standard Time Art and Science exhibition Atmosphere of Sound: Sonic Art in Times of Climate Disruption (2024–25) at UCLA Art Sci Center. Recent curatorial projects include Jaishri Abichandani: Flower-Headed Children at Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York (part two upcoming at Annenberg Beach House, Santa Monica, April 22-23), and eX-aMEN-ing Masculinities with LA Freewaves at Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2022.

Vikram’s book Decolonizing Culture (Sming Sming Books, 2017) helped initiate a global movement to decolonize arts institutions and monuments. They have written for art periodicals and publications from Paper Monument, Heyday Press, Routledge, and Oxford University Press. They are an Editorial Board member at X-TRA and an editor at X Artists’ Books.

Vikram is faculty at UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. They hold an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BS in Studio Art from NYU.

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Stephanie Barajas
Northern California

Stephanie Barajas (she/ella) is a San Jose-based Mexican actor, photographer, and arts administrator. She is currently a Program Associate at the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), where she supports a broad grants portfolio that serves individual artists across California. In 2022, Stephanie served as one of six City of San Jose’s Creative License Ambassadors, developing her project, I Am My Body, which seeks to explore our relationship with our bodies through creative expression. Raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, her family made the difficult decision to relocate to the Bay Area in 2006. Stephanie earned a BA in Theatre from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. She returned to the Bay Area in 2017 and has been carving a place for herself in the arts community. She is a proud alumnus of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI), the NALAC Leadership Institute, and the current Co-Chair of genARTS Silicon Valley. Stephanie continues pursuing her passion for acting and will perform in Silicon Valley Shakespeare's upcoming shot, The Twelfth Night. She is passionate about art, arts advocacy, fashion, fat justice, and storytelling as a tool for change.

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Betty Marín
Northern California

Betty Marín is a cultural worker from Wilmington, CA. Her work uses popular education and language justice to create spaces that encourage learning, dialogue, and solidarity between different communities. With the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, she manages a series of programs integrating the traditional arts into health equity campaigns, curates a roundtable series to share resources and create exchange between traditional artists, and is currently contributing to the design and launch of an expanded grants program for artists and organizations. She has coordinated the creation of field scan reports for the National Folklife Network and is thrilled to support in building greater connections and support for folk and traditional artists across the country. She has also contributed curriculum and taught with ACTA’s Arts in Corrections program featured in these publications. She graduated with an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. As a student, she edited a book titled Art and Education, centered on a conversation with artists and educators Pablo Helguera and Luis Camnitzer.

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Bill Kelley, Jr.
Central California

Bill Kelley, Jr. is an educator, curator and writer based in Los Angeles. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and a Masters in Art History from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM).  His current research focuses on collaborative and collective art practices in the Americas. Bill has written for such journals as Afterall, P.E.A.R., and Log Journal. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino art history at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB). Bill has co-edited an anthology with Grant Kester of collaborative art practices in the Americas entitled: Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010 (Duke University Press, 2017). Most recently he was Curator and Lead Researcher of Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas, a research, exhibition and publication platform examining community-based art practices for Otis College of Art as part of The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. Bill recently edited the bilingual volume Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas, published by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and distributed by the University of Chicago Press (2017).

Headshot_Candace Eros Diaz_CAC

Candace Eros Diaz
Central California

Candace Eros Diaz (she/they) is a queer Xicana writer, arts and culture administrator, and racial equity advocate. She has received fellowships and support from Emerging Arts Professionals, San Francisco Writers Grotto, VONA, The Steinbeck Fellows Program, and Lambda Literary where she edited Emerge: Lambda Literary Fellows Anthology. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Craft, Huizache, Arroyo Literary Review, Under the Gum Tree, and elsewhere. From 2018-2022 she was a grantmaker for the Community Investments program at the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC). At the SFAC she co-designed the infrastructure to administer over $12 million in grant investments annually. She imagined and developed unique grant opportunities and community engagement activities geared toward historically underinvested San Francisco artists and arts organizations with a focus on accessibility and decolonizing practices. Candace has over a decade of experience in program management for racial justice and is a fierce advocate for equity, changemaking, and belonging. Originally from Fresno in California’s Central Valley she is currently based in unceded Lisjan Ohlone territory also known as Oakland, CA. Find her on Twitter @CandaceErosDiaz.

Headshot_ Jennifer Kane_CAC

Jennifer Kane
Central California

Jennifer Kane is an artist, arts organizer, and teacher originally from Los Angeles, CA. She received a BFA from Mount St. Mary’s College, an MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design, and is a graduate of Arts for LA's ACTIVATE Cultural Policy Fellowship program. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County. In 2016 she coordinated the Volunteer Art Program for The Joshua Tree Art Innovation Laboratory (JT Lab), an NEA-grant funded arts initiative, hosted by Joshua Tree National Park and created the park art program - Artists’ Tea. In 2019, she helped launch San Bernardino County’s first local artist granting program and an artist-in-residency program with San Bernardino City Unified School District. In the past five years, she has supported arts and cultural institutions to apply for and receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, doubling creative culture support in the region. Teaching geology, human history, and ecology as a guide for over fourteen years in the Sierra Nevada continues to root her attention towards our deep connections to the land and each other. Her writing has been published in KCET Artbound and as part of the Mojave Project. She is a proud board member of Californians for the Arts, the California Arts Advocates, and the Board of Advocates for the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA).

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Karen Moss
Southern California

Karen Moss is a Los Angeles-based art historian, independent curator, educator and writer whose areas of expertise include conceptual and performance art since the 1960s, contemporary art and social practices, and experimental education.  Moss is retired Professor of Critical Studies and Director of the MA Curatorial Program at USC Roski School of Art and Design. She holds a BA in art history and studio art from UC Santa Cruz and received her MA and PhD degrees in art history from USC.

Moss has organized exhibitions, artist residencies, symposia and public art projects nationally and internationally for more than 30 years.  She held senior-level curatorial positions at Orange County Museum of Art; San Francisco Art Institute; Santa Monica Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center. Earlier in her career she worked as at MoCA, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum, after she was a curatorial fellow in the Whitney’s Independent Study Program. 


Anu Yadav
Southern California

Anu Yadav is an actress, playwright, and cultural worker who has been working at the intersection of theater, community organizing, and human rights for over 20 years. She performed at venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Safdar in Delhi, India and the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Beijing, China. She wrote and performed the solo plays 'CAPERS and MEENA'S DREAM, co-founded the community storytelling project CLASSLINES, and facilitates workshops across the country. She was featured in the documentaries CHOCOLATE CITY, WALK WITH ME, as well as The Washington Post, The Crisis, and MTV. She was the inaugural 2019-2020 Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, funded by the Department of Arts and Culture, where she produced “Healing Through Story”, a toolkit on arts-based methods for community-building. For the last two years, she co-designed and co-directed the community arts and cultural programming for WE RISE, a Countywide mental health awareness campaign funded by the LA County Department of Mental Health. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, Alternate ROOTS, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Dramatists Guild, Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds an M.F.A. in Performance from University of Maryland, College Park. She is a Senior Annenberg Innovation Lab Senior Civic Media Fellow. 

Photo by Lluvia Higuera

Karla Diaz
Southern California

Karla Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist, educator who engages in painting, social practice, and performance. Using narrative to question identity and explore memory. Her socially engaged practice generates exciting collaborations and provokes important dialogue among diverse communities. Notably, she is the co- founder of the socially engaged collective and community artist space Slanguage. In her painting introspection, splashes of color became figures and objects that transformed into scenes of domesticity and city life drawn from her upbringing in Mexico and Los Angeles. Personal memories, folklore, familiar iconography of her Mexican heritage, and American pop culture are intertwined in surreal compositions that consider family, loss, and the complexities of the Latinx experience in the United States. 


Renée Petropoulos
Round Two

Renée Petropoulos is an artist who has created projects and exhibited internationally for more than four decades.  Recently Petropoulos has been the 2019 recipient of the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship and a 2019 Iaspis Stockholm International Grant holder and was artist in residence at the Palm Springs Museum of Art in May 2019, as well as Artist in Residence at 18th Street Arts Center in October 2019 with Arturo Hernandez of Oaxaca Mexico.  In February 2020 she exhibited Balancing Trick, an installation at Local 1 in Mexico City.  During the Covid 19 lockdown, she co-organized Drive-By-Art, Los Angeles edition. In 2020 she had solo exhibition at As-Is Gallery in Los Angeles. Currently she is exhibiting work at the Wende Museum and at the MAK Centennial Exhibition, both 2022.  She has just installed a work, Just What Is Your Position, in the Delta international terminal at LAX.  In 2022, she staged Analog Among Nations/ WB: Sewing Circle, at the Broad Museum and the Wende Museums. And, in 2023 she curated with Anurada Vikram and Warren Neidich, Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate. Her work has been collected by numerous museums, including the Hammer Museum, the Berkely Art Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the MARTE Museum, San Salvador, MOCA Los Angeles, among others.


California Creative Corps is a pilot program funded by the California Arts Council as an engagement campaign designed to increase public awareness about issues of public health, water and energy conservation, civic engagement, social justice, and more. This activity is funded by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

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