ORLANDO, Fla. – APRIL 24, 2023 – United Arts of Central Florida announced that fourteen organizations were awarded a total of $64,500 through the March cycle of Project Grants, funded by United Arts. This competitive grant program amplifies diverse cultures and voices, acts as a catalyst for change through arts and culture-based community development, and increases access to and participation in arts, science and history programming.
“For 10 years, Dance Theatre of Orlando and ME Dance, Inc. have sought to broaden the opportunities available to the performing artists of Central Florida while providing opportunities for the community to experience art and dance,” said Marshall Ellis, founder of ME Dance, Inc., and artistic director of Dance Theatre of Orlando. “We believe that the dedication, talent and passion of performers should be rewarded, and thanks to the support from United Arts, we are able to expand our commitment to furthering professional talent and supporting the arts.”
This grant helps increase the variety of cultural experiences available to residents and visitors in Central Florida. United Arts recognizes the high value of arts and culture in our region and believes this grant program is a necessary avenue for grassroots arts and cultural organizations to get their programs off the ground and to increase access for all people to participate and experience the arts in their community.
All applications for this grant were thoroughly reviewed by United Arts for overall organizational eligibility; artistic merit; community outreach, engagement, and education; and the likelihood of success based on prior projects completed. The executive committee of the United Arts Board of Directors reviewed the recommendations and approved the grants.
This cycle’s grant recipients are:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida – Awarded $5,000.00 for Youth Arts Initiative Musical Theater Program Youth Arts Initiative (YAI). Club members learn transferable life & job skills while increasing social-emotional well-being through artistic expression. Members participate in culminating events to have a tangible goal to work toward and achieve—developing their craft to a higher level in order to share it with parents, community members & stakeholders.
Chance 2 Dance – Awarded $2,000.00 for “Dancing Through the Decades.” Chance 2 Dance’s Spring 2023 showcase looks back in time to illustrate how dance has evolved over the years. Performers are children, youth and adults with varying abilities who participate in group and/or private classes at C2D’s studio and at partner locations. This performance constitutes the most inclusive dance performance event in Central Florida.
Child of this Culture Foundation – Awarded $5,000.00 for Urban Art Project. In hopes of disbarring the myth that Graffiti is just vandalism, COTC strives to allow artists to tell their stories through Hip Hop arts traditions. By the end of the session, the aim is for participants to produce fantastic artwork, gain selfesteem, and express their creativity and story.
Community Communications, Inc. / WMFE – Awarded $2,515.00 for A SPACE for Artistic Inspiration! The event will host former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott for a moderated discussion and Q&A session at the Orlando Science Center. Stott spent more than 100 days in space, most of it on board the International Space Station, where she discovered her love for art.
Descolonizarte Teatro, Inc. – Awarded $4,985.00 for Community Conversations: Rosa de Dos Aromas for Farmworkers and Rural Apopka. Descolonizarte TEATRO develops unique, innovative ways to serve marginalized communities with accessible programs and involving underserved audiences to address relevant topics. Descolonizarte Teatro has partnered with the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) to bring theater to farmworkers and rural communities, who have little access to the arts.
Leesburg Center for the Arts – Awarded $5,000.00 for A History through Music and Art: AfricanAmerican Blues Artists. exhibit will show the faces of forgotten artists and give a history of the influential and groundbreaking men and women of music. Short histories will be provided with each piece of artwork including the featured blues artist’s name, origin, discography/song list, and bands/artists that they influenced.
Opera Orlando – Awarded $5,000.00 for Frida – Into The Community. Opera Orlando and its partners for this project plan to continue the process of better integrating the art form of opera into the community. This project provides an accessible vehicle for many to whom this might be a first exposure to opera. It is hoped that through appropriate follow-up stewardship to this project, other partnerships between Opera Orlando and the community will be developed.
Orlando Ballet – Awarded $5,000.00 for Fall 2023 Come Dance with Us! Ballet is a highly effective rehabilitation technique for adults and children with balance and gait impairments by helping to restore and improve range of motion as well as building strength, endurance, and improving walking and standing stability. CDWU consists of 2 free workshops at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre plus 10 weeks of 1-hour weekly classes, utilizing ballet as a fundamental base, but also incorporating jazz, musical theater, and contemporary dance genres.
Orlando International Film Festival, inc. – Awarded ($5,000.00) for At-risk Youth Art and Culture Support Project. During 2023, OIFF will provide training to at-risk youth in the following areas: acrylic art drawings, composition skills used for creating books, and film production. The art forms created by the at-risk youth will be displayed in exhibitions during four OIFF Community Showcases at the Barnett Park Recreation Center and the annual OIFF Film Festival at the UCF Nicholson School for Communication and Media, both in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando Shakes (Orlando Shakespeare Theater) – Awarded $5,000.00 for PlayFest 2023. Entering its twentieth anniversary year, PlayFest 2023 represents a key aspect of Orlando Shakes’ mission “to enrich our community with engaging professional theater, inspiring educational experiences, and thoughtprovoking new plays.” PlayFest is a nationally recognized program that represents one of the strongest commitments to new plays in the U.S.
Tavares Theater – Awarded $5,000.00 for Season 8: Tuesdays With Morrie & Almost Maine. Auditions will provide people the opportunity to try out and/or submit interest in other areas needed to put on a production (lighting, sound, set building, costuming design, makeup, etc.).
Teatro for the Soul – Awarded $5,000.00 for Spanish Theatre: Undocumented. This play will provide an opportunity to reflect on the protection of immigrants’ rights and their children to ensure they are treated with dignity and fairness. This will create opportunities for unemployed artists and will provide the Hispanic community to see a theatrical production in their native language about their everyday struggles.
Timucua Arts Foundation – Awarded $5,000.00 for Musique en Plein Air – Outdoor Jazz Concerts from Timucua. These three events are intended to engage the public with some of the best local jazz artists, as well as the Miami-based Tal Cohen Trio, in the weeks leading up to Jazz Appreciation Month. It is intended that the entire jazz community will benefit from the presentation of large-scale, free, public jazz concerts.
Veterans Tribute & Museum of Osceola Co. Inc. – Awarded ($5,000.00) for Museum of Military History Community Events. These monthly community events are held to help offset the cost of providing various museum programs, services, and events throughout the 2023-2024 year for Osceola County’s local, academic, senior, and Veteran communities as well as the tourist who visit the Museum.
United Arts opened the application process for the next cycle of project grants on April 24 and all applications are due by May 16, 2023. The maximum grant award is $5,000 per organization per year. Organizations can learn more or apply once applications reopen at www.UnitedArts.cc/grants.
About United Arts of Central Florida
United Arts is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, governments and school districts, foundations, arts and cultural organizations, and artists. Its mission is to enrich communities by investing in arts, science and history. United Arts serves residents and visitors in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties through the local arts, science and history organizations it supports. It does this by providing direct support through grants and contracts for services, collaborative fundraising, arts education opportunities, advocacy, and technical and administrative assistance. Since 1989, United Arts has invested more than $170 million in Central Florida’s arts and culture.