ACTA is a statewide non-profit organization developed to support traditional artists and community organizations rooted in cultural practices, offering resources such as programs, technical support, and funding. The organization has three state offices: Fresno, site of ACTA's headquarters; San Francisco; and Los Angeles, where Jenn is based. As a native of southern California, Jenn considers her work in LA and California a return home.
Jenn has held her current dual position for three years, and finds herself juggling several hats daily. As Program Manager, Jenn directs the statewide apprenticeship program, a program that encourages one-on-one transmission of cultural knowledge between a mentoring artist and an apprentice, through a $3,000 mentorship contract. Jenn described this program as a little extra seed support for close learning between two artists in effort to help sustain cultural practices within their existing communities. As Media Director, Jenn collaborates with both the ACTA Digital Media Specialist as well as commissioned media professionals, to produce all kinds of audiovisual media, articles, interviews, and portraits, through ACTA's website, through press outlets, and through social media. Jenn's role includes doing ethnographic fieldwork with artists who are funded through ACTA, as well as supporting the documentation of programs and events.
In addition to directing ACTA's apprenticeship program and media efforts, Jenn also co-coordinates the Traditional Arts Roundtable Series, an initiative that promotes dialogue among traditional artists in the LA community. Jenn also provides technical assistance for other cultural arts organizations, to help them apply for grants, build more capacity as an organization, and offers their members learning opportunities. Jenn emphasized the importance of the sustainability of traditional arts and culture-based organizations in southern California, many of which do powerful and important work on modest budgets.
Jenn is also involved in promoting ACTA's Arts and Corrections program, which brings 40 different traditional artists into 18 men's and women's prisons statewide, for 13-week workshops with incarcerated students. Jenn commented on the social-justice-oriented approach of ACTA in communities, touching on the intersection of traditional arts with issues such as health and wellness, incarceration, and displacement. Jenn's activities allow her to make a difference not only in LA, but also across California.