Micro grants from The Arts Council help provide connectivity and creativity during the pandemic to neighborhoods all over Long Beach.
By Maricela De Rivera
The morning after a major event, Hilda Gaytan, president and co-founder of Puente Latino Association, is quick to correct the praise indicating she pulled off the Día de los Muertos, A Magical Drive-Thru Experience, single-handedly. Gaytan insists, “No, no, don’t ever believe
anyone that tells you one person did everything. There’s always a team and a community doing the work.” Incorporated as a 501C3 in April 2019, Puente launched into action during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to micro grants from Arts Council for Long Beach.
Lisa DeSmidt, director of programs for ACLB, says, “When schools closed, we had to reach out directly to communities for arts learning kit distribution to children. Pivoting to hyper local community outreach was important because children were one of the most adversely affected by a loss of community, like elders. Art provides healing and an outlet that wasn’t a screen.”
Recalling the list of ways ACLB micro grants allowed her to connect with the community, Gaytan says, “None of the work we did during the pandemic would have happened without the Arts Council grants. In my life even when things were difficult, there was always a neighbor who was there helping. Community is why I do this. It’s in my blood.” Most of us have not lived through anything as difficult as the pandemic, so Gaytan and her team worked tirelessly to lift the spirits of the Long Beach community. “We provided arts programming like
the Alebrije (Mexican folk art) beautification project in the Starr King neighborhood, a community driven mural near Jordan High School; worked with artist Lucas Gordon to offer The Colors of Pride art classes, a four-week Puente Photo Walks program; and more.”
If human connection can be quantified, it would be through programs the Arts Council funds via grantees like Puente. Want to help multiply every dollar donated by giving to the Arts Council for Long Beach? Visit artslb.org.
The Arts Council for Long Beach cultivates the physical, social, and economic characteristics of Long Beach neighborhoods by nurturing and enlivening the arts. We serve individuals, groups, and organizations through advocacy, arts education, public art, and grant making
within the city of Long Beach. We practice profound inclusion as a collaborator and convener for the benefit of all communities. ACLB strives to improve the quality of life for residents and
visitors of the City of Long Beach through the cultivation of the arts by:
Promoting artists living in Long Beach
Uplifting communities to engage in arts and culture
Building connections between artists and audiences
Leading discussions about the role of arts in the community
Implementing outstanding arts education programs
Cultivating unique opportunities for art to be shown and appreciated
Advocating for the arts sector in city, county, state and federal levels
Rewarding excellence in the arts through our annual and monthly grant programs
Transforming Long Beach through public art