Innovative Mosaic Silicon Valley Program Focuses on
Creating Intercultural Performances that Redefine American Art

SAN JOSE, Calif. — June 11, 2020 — Sangam Arts announced today it has commissioned grants to five new performing arts projects via its Mosaic Silicon Valley program. Each of these grants will enable Bay Area-based artists to create projects that will help redefine ‘American’ arts by weaving the diverse traditions, themes and practices of their individual cultures into new, intercultural performances.

The Mosaic Silicon Valley initiative was created by Sangam Arts to connect cultures by creating multicultural performances, resulting in sustainable revenue streams for local, Bay Area artists. At any Mosaic event, either in-person or online, the audience is able to experience performances that showcase multiple cultures, harmoniously calling and responding to one another. These five new grants for a total of $25,000 will represent a uniquely American experience, influenced by African, Arabic, Cambodian, European, Indian, Pacific Island and Vietnamese cultures.

“We are humbled that we are able to commission new works in these challenging times, thanks in big part to the funding from Knight Foundation,” said Usha Srinivasan, president and co-founder of Sangam Arts. “San Jose/ Bay Area arts represent not just the diversity of this region, but also its innovative spirit. We are so proud to celebrate the art and artists that help us further our mission of connecting cultures.”

“Mosaic Silicon Valley and the commissioned artists reflect the community’s rich diversity and identity,” said Jayne Butler, Knight’s Arts program officer. “Sangam Arts demonstrates the power of the arts to connect people to place and to each other, and we cannot wait to see the collaborations come to life.”

Grantees List:

  • Arjun Verma and Robert Howard

    Cultural Influences: North Indian, European

    Combining the artistic traditions of Europe, India, and the USA, Arjun Verma will compose a modern intersectional piece based on a theme from the 1607 opera “L’Orfeo,” by Claudio Monteverdi. European Baroque style music and North Indian classical music have a particular affinity, both in aesthetic and technical similarities. Arjun will use these similarities as artistic bridges, to be arranged for flexible instrumentation.

    This grant award will fund the transcription and arrangement of a unique work by Indian maestro Ali Akbar Khan, which is a variation on a famous Bourrée in E Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. These intercultural works will initially be performed with Mosaic Fellow Robert Howard and a small ensemble from Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

  • Charya Burt and Vân-Ánh Vo
    Cultural Influences: Cambodian, Vietnamese
    Charya Burt and Vân-Ánh Vo will create a collaborative, new music and dance piece that fuses original traditional Vietnamese music with original classical Cambodian dance. This will be the first time classically inspired Cambodian dance will be performed to newly composed traditional Vietnamese music.
  • Coleen Lorenz and Srividya Eashwar
    Cultural Influences: Indian; American
    Coleen Lorenz and Srividya Eashwar will harness their diverse styles to represent how every individual and the universe are connected by four essential elements: earth, air, water and fire. This intercultural work will explore how these elements go beyond the physical and manifest as personality traits. Each element overlaps the other in style and presentation, culminating in a final expression of elemental synergy and balance, making it ‘just right’ for our existence as humans on this planet.
  • Lee Dynes
    Cultural Influences: African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, European
    Lee Dynes and his collaborators will represent African-American, Latinx, Middle-Eastern, and Anglo-American perspectives and common ground through sonic, emotional, and thematic content, including patterns of history and current, diverse intermingling under the umbrella of the human experience.
  • PC Muñoz and Demone Carter
    Cultural Influences: American, Pacific Islands
    PC Muñoz and Demone Carter will examine the intersection between Black American and Pacific American experiences, music and cultures. The project brings to the forefront ancestral art belonging to people of color, (sub)consciously relegated to “less-than” and excluded by waves of colonization. This multi- generational and -cultural work reclaims the term “American” as being inclusive to all of us.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

About Sangam Arts
Founded in 2013, Sangam Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides an innovative platform for artists from diverse backgrounds to come together to collaborate and co-create world-class music and dance performances. Using a wide range of cultural and artistic expressions from Folklorico and Tap to Kathak and Hula, our presentations are carefully curated to help us see our common humanity while allowing us to celebrate the traits that make us unique. Sangam Arts’ unique approach and reputation for quality programming have helped us gain support of grantors and foundations such as the Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Jose, SVCreates and Knight Foundation. For more information, visit www.sangamarts.org.