United Arts of Central Florida (UA) is a nonprofit organization that supports the arts, sciences and history in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
UA collaborates with more than 3,000 individuals, businesses, local governments and foundations to support more than 60 arts and culture organizations and through them, enhances the quality and variety of cultural experiences throughout Central Florida.
The organization serves local cultural providers, including, but not limited to, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP), Orlando Ballet, Orlando Science Center and Orange County Regional History Center, by raising and distributing funds as well as providing management, administrative and advisory services. Through its services, UA has invested $162 million in Central Florida arts and culture since 1989.
“Supporting the arts is so important, because every single human being has a creative aspect of who they are. Some people have discovered it and some people haven’t, and I think that by experiencing the arts, whether its music, dance, murals, woodworking, gardening, cooking or some other outlet, you don’t have to be a trained artist to be creative,” says UA President and CEO Jennifer Evins. “We are supporting and celebrating more than just the art you see. We are celebrating human beings and giving people the opportunity to discover their own creativity.”
The organization also works with area school districts to facilitate curriculum-based comprehensive arts and cultural educational programs for students. Programming includes sending entire grade levels of students in Orange and Osceola counties to the ballet and Philharmonic, many for the first time in their young lives. Last year, UA supported more than 2.7 million experiences, including more than 910,000 for K-12 students.
“When people support United Arts, they help sustain the organizations they know and love – as well as some they haven’t met yet – throughout the year to come,” says UA Marketing and Communications Manager Sean Thurman. “Central Florida would not feel like home without its incredible arts community.”
To support your local arts, Evins says showing up is just as important as providing donations.
“The first thing our community can do is to get up and show up,” she says. “Buy a ticket; there is always something going on in this beautiful city. This not only supports the local organization or individual artist, but it shows that you value your neighbors’ and community members’ passions.”
Evins notes that donations, no matter how big or small, go a long way as well.
“Everything from $5 to whatever your capacity is, each donation says to us that what we are doing matters, and it provides that hope for our youth to keep on exploring their talent and their passion,” she says.
To find arts and culture events near you and to donate, visit UnitedArts.cc.