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2022 Grants Challenge

5 Composers/1 Theme: A Filipino American Composition Project

FASO would commission up-and-coming composers in the community to each synthesize five iconic Philippine and American folk songs and themes like “Bahay Kubo,” “Leron, Leron Sinta” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. This program is one component of FASO's Education and Outreach program by utilizing orchestra music as a common ground, finding unity by celebrating our diverse cultures and ancestry. To impact equity and segregation in Los Angeles, FASO directly provides music and education to youth and families of underserved BIPOC communities.

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What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

FASO was born from the cultural needs of an immigrant community of color. The organization's mission, infrastructure, and community-engaged programs were built to increase access and reduce barriers to cultural participation, and create connections between diverse communities and cultures. FASO continues to embrace, redefine and celebrate its multicultural musical legacy with its diverse body of musicians and participants from all walks of life, inclusive of individuals with disabilities. From the beginning, FASO programming/services are built around a community-engaged arts practice - "an approach to art making and community building that fosters collaborative relationships between artists and community members." (source: Toronto Arts Foundation's Neighbourhood Arts Network). FASO focuses its equity work by increasing the visibility of this minority and help integrate this predominantly immigrant group into the larger Los Angeles civic and cultural discourse.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The 5 Composers project engages next generation composers to orchestrate new songs based on American and Filipino folk songs and themes. Youth participants from FASO's music education workshops (instrumental and vocal) learn about traditional Filipino folk songs through performance and composition. FASO will continue to advance its cultural equity work by further exploring and developing pathways to actively serve and engage underserved youth in communities of color ongoingly, despite of the pandemic, through its music and education programs. Also, FASO provides performances and music education programs to a wide range of audiences, with specific emphasis on underserved communities of color all across Los Angeles County and surrounding areas. With its Education & Outreach program, FASO intends to provide a healthy and empowering identity context for BIPOC youth in place of a victim of race narrative. Additionally, FASO works in BIPOC communities throughout Los Angeles County - Historic Filipinotown (majority are Hispanic/Latinx), Carson (majority are African American), and Glendale (majority are Armenians and Hispanic/Latinx). Within the next year, FASO plans to extend its reach to the San Fernando Valley in the Panorama City/ Van Nuys area (majority are Hispanic/Latinx). FASO also recognized that the Equity work cannot be addressed on its own and consciously sought partnerships with schools, organizations, governments, and media companies, locally and internationally.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Greater Los Angeles is home to 606,657 Filipinos (374,000 residing in LA County), the second-largest concentrated population of Filipinos in the world, surpassed only by Manila. Filipino Americans are described as "invisible" or “forgotten minority,” with cultural and historical narratives that are virtually unknown to the American public. This invisibility comes with a cost - a lack of resources as the community often gets overlooked and subsumed under Latino or Asian; susceptibility to being taken advantage of, a lack of political clout, and lately, becoming the target of Asian hate. This program will increase literacy by building skills in instrumental and vocal performances, and increase awareness about Filipino indigenous music and instruments; foster a larger sense of community belonging among diverse communities of color through musicmaking; and, nurture individual self-esteem and confidence as a person of color, and instill pride in one’s cultural identity.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

For FASO to be responsive to the communities it serves, input is collected through surveys, assessments, interviews, and dialogues conducted with participating musicians, students, their parents, music educators, partners, curators and other community stakeholders. FASO also invites people to provide critiques for the purpose of improving the quality of its programming. FASO is committed to supporting both the arts and the artists. The first, by advancing the field through presentation of new or rarely heard music - FASO is known for being the only musical ensemble in North America that presents Filipino music in the genre of orchestra music. Second, by supporting artists' livelihoods and ongoingly engaging the contractual orchestra musicians, guest artists, and composers. FASO engages a widely diverse body of musicians and is uniquely positioned to present multiple voices and a cultural synthesis of musical traditions that reflect America.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 7,500