MARIPOSA — The California Arts Council announced on Oct. 14 the Mariposa County Arts Council as one of six recipients of their pilot Innovations + Intersections grant program. This state grant supports arts-based strategies for community needs in wellness and technology sectors. Aimed at providing groundbreaking approaches to address society’s most pressing issues and opportunities, the Innovations + Intersections grant award will make it possible for the Mariposa County Arts Council to develop, create, and install a series of site-specific artistic interventions.
The grant will also allow them to produce cultural programming addressing wildfire risk reduction strategies and representation of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation. These are two deeply-linked issues that are currently reframing the Mariposa community’s dialogue regarding fire management practices, historical narratives, as well as the connection between place and public health.
The Mariposa County Arts Council is one of six funding recipients for the Innovations + Intersections program, designed to support creative strategies for urgent community needs crossing the technology and wellness sectors. These are two areas identified by the California Arts Council body as having the greatest potential for demonstrable impact and community value when connected with arts and culture.
The projects were awarded the largest amounts in the agency’s history, made possible by a one-time 2018 state funding increase. Awarded project designs will consider the areas of artificial intelligence and digital literacy, Native and Indigenous community wellness, disability innovation, and wildfire management.
In partnership with the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation/Miwumati Healing Center, the Mariposa County Planning and Public Health Departments, and Sierra Foothill Conservancy, the Mariposa County Arts Council will pair site-specific artistic interventions/cultural programs centering the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation with Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), a land management strategy utilizing traditional practices to respond to the unique relational composition of specific ecological sites.
The project will translate Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation narratives, practices, and experiences in a contemporary manner while simultaneously reducing the dangerous fuel loads created by invasive plants (wildfire mitigation), restore the natural riparian environment and indigenous first foods/medicine, and create space to develop extensive active transportation and recreation trails.
This project builds on several years of planning and capacity building on the part of the Mariposa County Arts Council, the Mariposa County Planning and Public Health Departments, Sierra Foothill Conservancy, and the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation and is leveraged by a competitive Smart Growth America workshop, the Mariposa County Creative Placemaking Master Plan (supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant), and the Mariposa Creek Parkway Master Plan.
Additionally, this award arrives on the heels of strategic acquisitions that will provide access to the lands for the implementation of the project, also completed by this partnership.
“On behalf of the Mariposa County Arts Council and our amazing partners, I want to express our deep gratitude to the California Arts Council for this opportunity to develop and deliver a significant, multifaceted creative placemaking project addressing some of the most critical social, environmental, and public health issues currently facing Mariposa County,” said Cara Goger, Mariposa County Arts Council Executive Director.
“The Innovations + Intersections program stemmed from our desire as Council members to bring together the areas of technology and wellness in order to generate the greatest impact for our state’s communities. We wanted to allow California’s arts and cultural organizations the freedom to dream big and define those projects as they saw fit — to determine what was needed in their communities, and to imagine a new approach to best address those needs,” said California Arts Council Chair Nashormeh Lindo. “The bold thinking and groundbreaking ideas from these six awarded organizations are exceptional. We are honored to support their projects creatively taking on such relevant issues for our state.”
View the California Arts Council’s full announcement for a complete listing of all Innovations + Intersections grantees and their projects.