Voices Pop-ups: bringing stories to life Voices of Monterey Bay awarded state arts grant

Staff Report

Voices of Monterey County this week was awarded a $23,750 grant by the California Arts Council to help fund pop-event events in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties during the coming year.

With the Arts and Public Media grant, VOMB will be able to showcase the talents of local writers, poets, musicians and stage artists from Santa Cruz to Salinas to larger stages. These mulitlingual “pop-up” events have been important to VOMB since its inception in 2017.

“Our pop ups bring to life the stories and the artists profiled in our online magazine,” said Claudia Meléndez Salinas, a founding editor at VOMB. “The generous support from the California Arts Council will allow Voices to promote these events in rural or underserved areas of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, where these types of events rarely take place.” 


A son jarocho performance by Taller Solcuatli of Salinas at a Voices pop up in November

The grant does not fund operations of the online Voices of Monterey Bay magazine.

“We believe that the stories told by performers at our pop-up events represent a different form of journalism that deserves wider dissemination,” said Meléndez.

Voices of Monterey Bay was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council of more than 1,500 grants awarded to nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state for their work in support of the agency’s mission to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. 

The investment of nearly $30 million marks a more than $5 million increase over the previous fiscal year, and the largest in California Arts Council history. 

Arts organizations in Santa Cruz County will receive $411,784 in California Arts Council grants, including a total of $145,580 to Arts Council Santa Cruz. Nonprofits in Monterey County received $451,375 in funding from the state organization, including $198,525 for the Arts Council for Monterey County

Local Impact grants support community-driven arts projects for small and mid-sized arts organizations to foster equity, access, and opportunity in historically marginalized communities by centering the arts as a vehicle for building strong, healthy, vibrant, and resilient communities. 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Arts Council recognizes that some grantees may need to postpone, modify, or cancel their planned activities supported by CAC funds, due to state and local public health guidelines. The state arts agency is prioritizing flexibility in addressing these changes and supporting appropriate solutions for grantees.

Among the other Central Coast recipients are:

Monterey County:

  • Arts as Healing Interventions
  • Artists Ink
  • First Night Monterey Inc.
  • Hijos del Sol Arts Productions
  • Monterey Jazz Festival
  • National Steinbeck Center
  • Sol Treasures
  • Spectordance
  • Urban Arts Collective

Santa Cruz County:

    • California Association of Museum
    • Community Music School of Santa Cruz
    • El Sistema Santa Cruz
    • Esperanza Del Valle inc.
    • Friends of Olympia Station Inc.
    • Kuumbwa Jazz Society
    • Santa Cruz Art League Inc.
    • Senderos
    • Shakespeare Play On
    • Watsonville Film Festival
    • West Creative Performing Arts
    • William James Association


The VOMB Squad at the Haute Enchilada

Have something to say about this story? Send us a letter.




About VOMB

Voices of Monterey Bay is a nonprofit online news source serving California's Central Coast.