Press Release

JACCC Awarded California Arts Council Grant to Fund Shodō for Little Tokyo


Mar 20, 2020

Contact: Scott Oshima at

State funds continue to support Sustainable Little Tokyo’s Shodō for Little Tokyo, a free traditional Japanese calligraphy program for low-income Little Tokyo senior residents.

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today the California Arts Council announced a grant award of $19,000 to JACCC in support of Shodō Little Tokyo, a project of its Sustainable Little Tokyo community initiative.

Shodō for Little Tokyo, entering its second year, provides space for low-income senior residents to express their creativity through shodō, Japanese calligraphy. Lead teaching artist Kuniharu Yoshida leads a series of workshops in English and Japanese that also works to build social engagement, strengthen individual wellness, and create a stronger sense of community. The program offers 30 free workshops that directly serve up to 35 senior student artists in Little Tokyo. Especially during the aftermath of COVID-19 and months of physical and social isolation, this arts and cultural program will be vital in providing a sense of reconnection and safety for our senior community. Shodō for Little Tokyo is a partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center and a project of the Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT) community initiative.

Patricia Wyatt, President & CEO of JACCC, says, “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how important creative expression, traditional arts and community are, especially to our Little Tokyo seniors. We are looking forward to seeing them and to having their work back on display once again!”

Scott Oshima, Sustainable Little Tokyo Program Director at JACCC, said, “Our senior residents are often the folks who feel the most left out of the community and have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. Shodō for Little Tokyo provides a beautiful, simple way for seniors to express their voices, celebrate our historic Japantown, and continue the cultural practice of shodō!”

Kuniharu Yoshida, calligrapher and lead teaching artist, said, “I am so glad that we can continue to share our love for Little Tokyo through Shodō for Little Tokyo calligraphy workshops! Many seniors have told me they are excited to take the workshops and have been waiting!”

Yasue Katsuragi, Community Organizer at Little Tokyo Service Center, said, “Little Tokyo Service Center is so happy to hear we can continue Shodō for Little Tokyo because Kuniharu is such a wonderful teacher, and I can see seniors are really enjoying the workshops!”

JACCC 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.

Organizations were awarded grants across 15 different program areas addressing access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and directly benefiting our state's communities, with youth, veterans, returned citizens, and California's historically marginalized communities key among them. Successful projects aligned closely with the agency's vision of a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

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.

"Creativity sits at the very heart of our identity as Californians and as a people. In this unprecedented moment, the need to understand, endure, and transcend our lived experiences through arts and culture is all the more relevant for each of us,” said Nashormeh Lindo, Chair of the California Arts Council. “The California Arts Council is proud to be able to offer more support through our grant programs than ever before, at a time when our communities’ need is perhaps greater than ever before. These grants will support immediate and lasting community impact by investing in arts businesses and cultural workers across the state.”

Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. A hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires – Japanese American Cultural & Community Center connects traditional and contemporary; community participants and creative professionals; Southern California and the world beyond.

Sustainable Little Tokyo is a community-driven initiative working to ensure a healthy, equitable, and culturally rich Little Tokyo for generations to come. SLT began in 2013 as a multi-day community vision effort and has evolved into a holistic, neighborhood-wide campaign to promote the environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability of Little Tokyo. SLT is led by JACCC, Little Tokyo Community Council, and Little Tokyo Service Center.

Little Tokyo Service Center is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for nearly 40 years. We preserve and strengthen the unique ethnic communities of our region and help people thrive. Starting with our own home in Little Tokyo, we build and strengthen communities throughout Southern California where people, culture and our collective future matter.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Jaime Galli, Larry Baza, Lilia Gonzales Chavez, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit

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