Santa Ana's Cultural Treasures



The Power of Stories is an archive of projects submitted every year to Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Statewide Convening. It showcases work created throughout California highlighting the power of individual and collective efforts to promote health and demonstrates how stories have the power to re-imagine and transform our communities. Produced in partnership with the California Endowment.

Project Submitted by: Cesar Gallo

Project Summary: The video submitted highlights youth and youth organizations working together to nurture leaders in change, and promote the arts and culture as an important transformative experience.

BHC Site: Central Santa Ana

In 2012, The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) began the implementation of the Activating Cultural Assets Pilot Project (ACCAPP) in Santa Ana. ACTA worked with the local organization, El Centro Cultural de Mexico (ECM) to identify Santa Ana's cultural assets or "cultural treasures" which were defined as "the people, groups, places and events that reflect cultural expressions that are valued by the community." Between August and November of 2013, 140 questionnaires were collected (83% were answered in Spanish) in public locations such as: Santa Ana's Public Library, Fourth Street, Civic Center, train station, public schools, and at El Centro Cultural de Mexico.

Who are Santa Ana Cultural Treasures?

  • Organizations and groups accounted for another 30% of Santa Ana's cultural treasures. Groups focused in promoting arts and culture and civic engagement were among the two main types of organizations that were identified as cultural treasures. Groups that help the community providing education programs, support with housing and other social services were also in the list of cultural assets.
  • Close to thirty percent (29%) of the cultural treasures that were uncovered through the surveys, were places. Parks and community landmarks were at the top of the list, restaurants, specialty stores, churches, schools, and arts centers were also included in the list of cultural assets.
  • In Santa Ana, individualsrepresent 28% of the cultural treasures, the majority of them were artists practicing: folk dance, poetry, visual arts, material arts, and other forms of cultural heritage (such as the preservation of indigenous language). Community residents involved in civic engagement, advocacy in favor of immigrants' rights and some educators were also identified as cultural treasures.
  • Events were 13% of the surveys. The majority of events named in the survey were cultural heritage celebrations from different ethnic communities.

These videos tell the story of Santa Ana directly through the voices and experiences of youth and adults, voices typically not represented through mainstream channels, or in the dominant narrative. These stories are all examples of how communities can unite to build power and change conditions.

Two one minute videos hightlight noche de altares and musica en movimiento, two recognized events of El Centro Cultural de Mexico and Santa Ana. Four cultural treasures videos help tell the story of Santa Ana and its Youth Organizing, People and Migration, La Calle Cuatro, and Son Jarocho.

The video submitted highlights youth and youth organizations working together to nurture leaders in change, and promote the arts and culture as an important transformative experience.

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