News & Insights

This is some blog description about this site

Our New Arts Strategy's First Grants

BY Josephine Ramirez
Josephine Ramirez
As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grant
User is currently offline
| Jun 22, 2012
Nearly a year to the date that we announced a new Arts strategy that recognizes how the arts should be a vibrant force for strengthening communities, we are pleased to announce our first set of grants under this new direction. The Irvine board recently approved 20 grants as part of our Exploring Engagement Fund, which was designed to offer risk capital to encourage and fuel arts engagement.

Our new Arts strategy seeks to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians and we will support arts nonprofits that want to explore this engagement concept with us. Engaging more Californians in the arts will ultimately help organizations expand their reach and support-base and thereby contribute to their viability and relevance. Moreover, the more deeply we demonstrate the value of the arts by making them accessible and integral to community life, the more essential the arts will be in the lives of all Californians.

Here are just a few examples of the projects being supported under our Exploring Engagement Fund:

  • The Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center will launch as many as 30 pop-up museums in the Santa Cruz region for underserved audiences to actively engage as collectors, curators and creators of mini-museums dedicated to issues and ideas that matter to them.
  • The San Diego Asian Film Foundation will experiment with "drive-out" cinema: using a van equipped with a portable screen, projector and PA system to create film venues in parking lots, parks and public squares.
  • And in Los Angeles, Diavolo Dance Theater, an internationally renowned dance company known for touring will expand its work in its hometown by establishing a new series of free, ongoing dance and movement workshops in the neighborhoods near its studio.

The group of 20 inventive arts nonprofits funded in this first round of the Exploring Engagement Fund are linked together in that they: represent a new or expanded engagement for the organization toward underserved audiences and participants; investigate active engagement as a way of involving audiences in the artistic process; and/or that explore nontraditional kinds of venues for arts presentations and activities.

These concepts follow one or more of the three "who, how, where" engagement models we created as part of our new strategy:

  • WHO engages: Expanding opportunities for all Californians to experience the arts in their lives.
  • HOW they engage: Providing ways for Californians to experience the arts as active participants that can contribute to the vitality of their communities.
  • WHERE engagement happens: Reaching beyond the walls of traditional arts spaces so the arts live where communities live.
We're encouraging arts organizations to take bold risks like these because we're eager to learn along with our grantees about how some of these risks will lead to breakthroughs and new thinking for the field. We're committed to supporting promising ideas that may become catalysts for change, both for the individual organization and potentially change that builds sustainable models to transform the field as a whole.

As a result of the commitment our strategy represents, many California arts nonprofits will be supported in the years to come with this fund and its two companion funds:

  • The Exploring Engagement Fund for Priority Regions, which is supporting nonprofit arts organizations based in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire; and the
  • The Exploring Engagement Fund for Large Organizations, an invitation-only fund that supports California-based nonprofit arts organizations with operating budgets greater than $5 million.

We received applications from a wide assortment of organizations, representing different sizes, disciplines and geographic settings. What might be a common project type for one group could be an innovative experiment for another. Yet, each in their distinct way contributes to promoting arts engagement for Californians by trying something new or taking previous experimentation to the next level. We are thrilled to begin our journey under the new strategy with these and other inventive, bold and curious arts organizations that you will read about later this year!

0 votes


As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the implementation of a new grantmaking strategy to “promote engagement in the arts for all Californians.” View full bio »


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment.
The opinions expressed in the Comments section are those of the commenters and not necessarily those of the Foundation.

Submit a comment

Guest Friday, 19 December 2014


Irvine Publications


Aaron Pick
2 post(s)
"As Senior Program Officer of the Youth program, Aa..."
Alex Barnum
57 post(s)
"Alex Barnum was a Communications Officer at The Ja..."
Amy Dominguez-Arms
16 post(s)
"As Director of the California Democracy program, A..."
Angela Glover Blackwell
"Angela Glover Blackwell is the founder and CEO of ..."
Anne Stanton
12 post(s)
"As Director of the Youth program, Anne Stanton lea..."
Anne Vally
7 post(s)
"Anne Vally was with The James Irvine Foundation fr..."
Catherine Hazelton
14 post(s)
"As a Senior Program Officer for the California Dem..."
Chris Henrikson
1 post(s)
"Chris Henrikson is the Founder and Executive Direc..."
Connie Malloy
2 post(s)
"Connie Galambos Malloy is Senior Program Officer f..."
Daniel Silverman
58 post(s)
"A native Californian, Daniel Silverman leads the F..."
Don Howard
7 post(s)
"Don Howard was appointed President and Chief Execu..."
Doug Chapin
3 post(s)
"Doug Chapin directs the Future of California Elect..."
Ekta Chopra
1 post(s)
"Ekta Chopra is Irvine's Director of Technology, le..."
Greg Avis
5 post(s)
"Greg Avis is chair of the board of The James Irvin..."
Hilary McLean
1 post(s)
"Hilary McLean serves as deputy director of the Lin..."
Jeanne Sakamoto
4 post(s)
"Jeanne Sakamoto has worked at Irvine since 2004 an..."
Jennifer Ortega
1 post(s)
"As the California director for the national busine..."
Jim Canales
56 post(s)
"Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executiv..."
John Jenks
3 post(s)
"As Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer, John di..."
Josephine Ramirez
18 post(s)
"As Arts Program Director, Josephine is leading the..."
Joyce Sood
10 post(s)
"As Digital Communications Officer, Joyce Sood lead..."
Karthick Ramakrishnan
"Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of po..."
Kenji Treanor
4 post(s)
"Kenji Treanor has worked at Irvine since 2004 and ..."
Kevin Rafter
7 post(s)
"As Manager of Impact Assessment and Learning, Kevi..."
Lisa García Bedolla
"Lisa García Bedolla is Associate Professor in the ..."
Manuel Pastor
1 post(s)
"Manuel Pastor directs the Program for Environmenta..."
Mark Baldassare
1 post(s)
"Mark Baldassare is the president and CEO of the Pu..."
Ralph Lewin
1 post(s)
"Ralph Lewin is President and CEO of Cal Humanities..."
Raphael J. Sonenshein
"Raphael J. Sonenshein is the Executive Director of..."
Ray Delgado
55 post(s)
"Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation f..."
Reshma Shamasunder
"Reshma Shamasunder has served as Executive Directo..."
Rick Noguchi
4 post(s)
"Rick Noguchi has been with Irvine since 2008 and h..."
Stephen Levy
1 post(s)
"Stephen Levy is director of the Center for Continu..."
Ted Russell
3 post(s)
"Ted Russell has been with Irvine since 2005 and he..."
Thuy Nguyen Kumar
79 post(s)
"As Communications Project Manager, Thuy provides p..."
Vince Stewart
2 post(s)
"Vince Stewart was a Senior Program Officer for the..."