Meet Christian Arteaga, a playwright, actor, and one of the incredible artist fellows chosen for the Define American Undocumented Artist Fellowship.
In the fellowship’s inaugural year, eight talented undocumented artists were connected with resources, given a stipend and provided national exposure through Define American. Demonstrating that art is a universal language, each artist is currently working with a community-based organization in their hometowns to continue building their capacity as cultural change-makers and show how art can serve as a catalyst for bringing people together.
For his fellowship project, Christian partnered with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a base-building organization committed to social, economic and environmental justice for working-class and immigrant communities in California’s Central Coast. CAUSE builds grassroots power through community organizing, leadership development, coalition building, civic engagement, policy research and advocacy.
The team at CAUSE was grappling with how to make complex laws and Know Your Rights information into a format that was accessible to everyday people, particularly folks with literacy challenges. Using his skills as an actor and playwright, Christian developed two trainings on how to incorporate theater into organizing efforts.
In his culminating project, Christian wrote a Know Your Rights performance to help farmworkers be fully aware of California labor laws and what their rights are. Christian acted in the first performance, and CAUSE will use the performance for future community education.
As the coordinator for the program, I am so proud to see Christian’s work as an artist and community leader thrive, and I hope you see it too!
We will be profiling more of the incredible artist fellows and their community partnerships in the coming months, so stay tuned!
The Undocumented Artist Fellowship is made possible through a grant from the Kresge Foundation. Read about more artist fellows! Want to see more great work? Support our 2020 artist fellows by donating today!