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. To share your own story, in your own voice, and discover others with similar stories and circumstances, is empowering. There is nothing like telling the history of your life. It helps to define who you are for yourself, for your children and grandchildren,” says KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro. “Sonic Trace is a moving way to tell the story of immigration in Los Angeles – something that defines LA and the US. I’m so pleased that both the NEA and Cal Humanities, two important organizations that have long supported projects like this, 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.
For more information on Sonic Trace you can visit www.sonictrace.org.
For more information on KCRW please visit www.kcrw.com.
Alyssa King, KCRW
KCRW 89.9FM, licensed to Santa Monica College, is NPR’s flagship station for Southern California. The Santa Monica-based nonprofit represents cutting edge radio at its best, presenting an eclectic mix of independent music, news, talk and arts programming. The terrestrial signal serves Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura Counties, as well as parts of San Diego, San Bernardino, Kern, and Santa Barbara Counties and the greater Palm Springs area. KCRW’s programming is internationally renowned and available worldwide via KCRW.com, including three streaming channels, 27 podcasts and archives of our locally-produced programs and live band performances. Hear KCRW music online, all the time, on the ALL music stream Eclectic24.
About The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.
In August 2012, the NEA received 1,547 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. Art Works grants 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. The 817 recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
About The California Documentary Project (CDP)
The California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grant program of Cal Humanities. CDP grant awards support film, radio, and new media projects that document the California experience and explore issues of significance to Californians. Through its California Documentary Project, Cal Humanities has granted over $2.7 million to projects since 2002. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on Cal Humanities, please visit www.calhum.org.