In a press statement released July 7, the California Arts Council has announced a grant award of $56,000 to Visual Communications as part of its Creative California Communities program. The grant will be utilized to expand FfF Interactive Little Tokyo!, a multi-format transmedia project that was a highlight of the 2016 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Visual Communications was one of only forty-one grantees statewide for this program.
Co-presented with locally-based media arts collective FORM follows FUNCTION at select Festival Week 2016 venues, FfF Interactive Little Tokyo! featured two new immersive public art installations that highlighted the amazing history and diversity of Little Tokyo. Walking With Grace, a 360º virtual reality experience, afforded viewers the opportunity to experience the streets of Little Tokyo through the perspective of Grace Chikui, a blind woman and long-time resident of the community. And, the site-specific installation 312 Azusa Street explored the rich history of Azusa Alley adjacent to the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center's Noguchi Plaza — the site of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church and Apostolic Faith Mission; and the birthplace of Pentacostalism.
Funds from the CAC's Creative California Communities grant will enable Visual Communications to support FfF's goal of bringing FfF Interactive Little Tokyo! to its complete realization, and expand on the immersive community initiatives that were introduced during Festival Week 2016.
"Visual Communications is extremely excited to work once again with FORM follows FUNCTION to bring back and expand this special Film Festival initiative," said Francis Cullado, Visual Communications Executive Director. "We're thankful for the support of the California Arts Council in allowing Visual Communications and FfF the opportunity to further explore and make known the histories and heritages of our shared communities in new and exciting ways."
The California Arts Council, a state agency, aims to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services. The council's Creative California Communities program supports collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as vehicles for creative placemaking.
Visual Communications, the nation's premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, develops and supports the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives. Since 1970, Visual Communications has pioneered many groundbreaking developments in Asian Pacific American cinema, and additionally organizes filmmaking fellowship programs, public exhibition activities and events, and maintains a highly-regarded photographic and media archive.