Dancer Ramya Harishankar Awarded Legacy Fellowship By California Arts Council
India-West Staff Reporter
IRVINE, CA – Ramya Harishankar, a cultural mainstay of Southern California, has been honored with the prestigious Legacy Fellowship as part of the 2023 California Arts Council (CAC) Individual Artist Fellowship Program. The Fellowship, which encompasses a grant totaling $840,000, was granted to a select group of 58 artists across five counties within Region I. This recognition underscores Harishankar’s outstanding contribution to the arts, culture, and community-building.
A veteran presence in the Southern California art scene for over four decades, Ramya Harishankar’s influence extends far beyond her role as a performer and teacher. As the artistic director of the Arpana Dance Company (ADC) and School, a premier institution for Bharata Natyam, she has been a steadfast advocate for the preservation and evolution of cultural traditions.
Beyond her accomplishments in dance, Harishankar’s commitment to nurturing the arts and fostering cultural understanding is evident in her roles as an arts presenter, community builder, and philanthropist. She has leveraged her art and skills to serve as a cultural ambassador, using the universal language of dance to promote dialogue and unity among different cultures. Her recent recognition as a ‘Distinguished Citizen’ by the city of Irvine and inclusion in the Wall of Recognition further validate her profound impact on the cultural landscape.
In her response to receiving the Legacy Fellowship, Harishankar stated, “Though my commitment and work has never been contingent on funding or defined by money, it certainly is gratifying to receive support to continue that work. I am proud to be a member of the Fellowship class of 2023!” This unrestricted award provided by the California Arts Council allows artists like Harishankar to further expand their creative endeavors and contribute to the artistic tapestry of the region.
The California Arts Council’s Individual Artist Fellowship Program serves as a testament to the significance of artists’ leadership in shaping both traditional and contemporary cultures. With a rigorous selection process involving peer review panels composed of artists, arts administrators, educators, and funders, the program recognizes and uplifts artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines across the state.