$1 million in grants awarded to Long Beach arts groups

Nearly two dozen Long Beach-area arts organizations will share $1 million in emergency grant funding to provide ongoing education and programming to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant funding comes from the RuMBA Foundation of Long Beach, which was founded to help K-12 students in the Long Beach Unified School District gain access to local arts education and programming.

RuMBA was created in 2014 when a local family—Josephine Molina, Heather Rudy and their children—were looking to support LBUSD’s comprehensive arts program. (The foundation’s name is derived from the last names of the blended family members, Rudy, Molina and Battiste.)

“The coronavirus crisis presents many challenges with connecting LBUSD’s students to the arts, so we wanted to find a way to support local art nonprofits which have new ideas for reaching children,” said RuMBa’s Heather Rudy. “This grant program will specifically help local arts organizations continue their work during this unique period when students and patrons have limited ability to visit facilities, meet in-person, or attend large-scale events.”

“We received an array of inventive proposals from the city’s cultural arts, performing arts, visual arts, fine arts and arts education institutions,” Molina said. “We are thrilled that organizations are envisioning new ways to engage audiences through virtual events, digital programming, online lectures, expert-led educational efforts, small scale programming or other creative solutions that support the RuMBa Foundation’s mission to expand local access to the arts.”

With the funding it will receive, the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum plans to create a small production and streaming studio within its walls for “Pasifika Transmissions,” a program that will invite indigenous artists to visit the archives and develop a video “transmission” geared toward Long Beach’s K-12 audience.

“Pasifika Transmission is our way of enhancing cultural competency and acknowledging the vibrant talents and histories of our local artists,” said museum director/curator Fran Lujan.

Daniel Smith, founder and director of the Infinite Stage, a recipient of one of the grant awards, said the money will allow his organization to continue to make the arts more accessible than ever before.

“There are obvious losses we feel because we cannot share musical experiences with our friends, family, and communities in person, but this is also a huge opportunity to invest energy in the belief that visceral artistic experiences will always exist, just now in a different way,” Smith said. “We each have our very own concert halls now, in the form of our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube feeds that we scroll through all day. With this new mindset, the stage is set for the production of an infinite number of new and exciting forms of artistic experiences.”

The RuMBa Foundation partnered with a local media organization, the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal, to coordinate grant communication, application submissions and award announcements.

Local organizations receiving grant funding from the RuMBa Foundation include:

  • Able Arts Work
  • Camarata Singers
  • Cambodia Town Film Festival
  • Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum – CSULB
  • Carpenter Center for Performing Arts—CSULB
  • The Infinite Stage
  • Jazz Angels
  • Kontrapunktus Neo-Baroque Orchestra
  • Landmark Theatre
  • Long Beach Ballet
  • Long Beach Blues Society
  • Long Beach Museum of Art
  • Long Beach Opera
  • Long Beach Shakespeare Company
  • Long Beach Symphony
  • Long Beach Youth Chorus
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Musica Angelica
  • Musical Theater West
  • Musique Sur La Mer Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • Nannette Brodie Dance (South Coast Dance Arts Alliance)
  • Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum
  • Pony Box Dance

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