KCRW’s Transmedia Project Sonic Trace Secures Funding for Second Year
Major Grant Support Provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Cal Humanities
SANTA MONICA, April 24, 2013 — Two major grants recently were awarded to KCRW for its Sonic Trace transmedia project. The grants include $75,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and $40,000 from Cal Humanities’ 2013 California Documentary Project. This is the first time KCRW has been awarded a grant from Cal Humanities while the NEA Art Works grant is the largest in the station’s history.
Sonic Trace, a multi-platform storytelling project, traces people living in the heart of Los Angeles to their origins in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, using radio, video and mapping to ask ¿Por qué te vas? ¿Por qué te quedas? ¿Por qué regresas? Why do you go? Why do you stay? And, what makes you return? The inaugural year of the project saw the conceptualization and creation of Sonic Trace’s portable sound booth, local and national radio pieces, a content rich blog and interactive, mapping website.
“In year one, we laid the foundation for Sonic Trace, which makes it beyond exciting to be given the opportunity to expand on all of our hard work,” says Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Sonic Trace founder and executive producer. “We are incredibly grateful that the NEA and Cal Humanities see the value and potential in Sonic Trace to plant seeds of innovation, experimentation and ground-breaking storytelling.”
Launched in March 2012 as part of Localore, a nationwide initiative of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, Sonic Trace goes beyond traditional story gathering by venturing into neighborhoods on both sides of the border to show how community connects across borders.
Through the interactive website, Sonic Trace maps the stories of immigrants in Los Angeles using stories gathered from La Burbuja, or the “The Bubble,” a portable sound booth specially designed for the project. Dozens of contributed stories are embedded on the map, creating a link between LA neighborhoods and cities, towns and villages across the border—creating an interactive, oral-history mosaic of Los Angeles not possible through radio alone.
“I love this project. It is a moving way to tell the story of immigration in Los Angeles – something that defines LA and the US. There is nothing like hearing the tale of your life from someone who shares your story and circumstances. It helps to define who you are for yourself and your children and grandchildren,” says KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro. “I’m so pleased that both the NEA and Cal Humanities, two important organizations that have long supported programming like Sonic Trace, also believe in giving it the resources to keep going.”
Funding for the second year allows Sonic Trace the opportunity to explore new communities in Southern California, including Orange County and MacArthur Park. In its inaugural year, the program focused on gathering stories in Koreatown and South Los Angeles.
“With our state’s incredible diversity, fostering communication and connecting people to a range of ideas is vital for our general welfare,” says Ralph Lewin, President and CEO of Cal Humanities. “Our grant award enables awardees to pursue the important work of engaging new audiences in conversations around stories of significance to Californians.”
The NEA received 1,547 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. The 817 recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa notes, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.
Media Contact:Alyssa King, KCRW Communications Director 310-314-4627 firstname.lastname@example.org