ORLANDO, Fla. – January 24, 2023 — United Arts of Central Florida announced the recipients of its 2023 Diversity in the Arts program sponsored by Duke Energy. Fifteen organizations were awarded grants totaling $100,000 with 5 applicants receiving two years of funding.

Relaunching as a mission investment grant program, the Diversity in the Arts program creates a pathway for grassroots, BIPOC1 /ALAANA2 led organizations to apply for multi-year (up to 2 years) general operating support. Granting between $5,000 to $10,000 per year, United Arts is committed to making intentional investments into the growth and stability of organizations that represent, celebrate, and serve the culturally diverse communities of Central Florida.

The vision of United Arts is to increase access to the arts for all people of Central Florida. To achieve this vision, United Arts has set strategic goals to be more intentional to grow the grants and outreach programs that are inclusive, equitable, impactful, and sustainable. United Arts convened a diverse taskforce of past and potential Diversity in the Arts grantees, cultural community leaders, former panelists, and United Arts board members to identify and remove barriers hindering access to equitable and impactful arts and culture funding.

“Orlando Urban Film Festival (OUFF) is very grateful and thankful to United Arts and Duke Energy for supporting our efforts in helping diverse cultures gain exposure and access for their creative works. We bring creators in the arts together to collaborate and celebrate each other,” said Marianne Eggleston, founder of OUFF. “The additional funds will provide OUFF with the administrative support needed to really grow and continue helping our community.”

The Duke Energy Diversity in the Arts grant program started as a project-based funding program in 2021 to strengthen diverse, grassroots, arts and cultural organizations located in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. In its first year, this program awarded $50,000, thanks to a Duke Energy Foundation grant, to 8 cultural organizations led by people of color that had not previously been funded by United Arts. Two went on to receive awards from United Arts’ FY22 project grants cycle, illustrating the program’s objective to invite and encourage participation in other United Arts grant programs and diversify their revenue generating streams.

2023 Duke Energy Diversity in the Arts Grant Recipients

Arching Oaks Inc. (awarded $5,000) is a community art center located in Eustis, Florida, dedicated to providing the community with high-quality, artistic and cultural experiences rooted in Japanese traditions and facilitated by experts in their fields.

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (P.E.C.) (awarded $10,000) is a multidisciplinary organization offering public programming on pride in heritage – cultural tourism; educational excellence – academic support; and cultural arts — the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts and the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities.

Casa de Mexico de la Florida Central, Inc (awarded $5,000) was incorporated in 1996 to celebrate and create awareness and understanding in Central Florida of the Mexican culture and values, its people and the contributions people of Mexican heritage make to better the community.

Descolonizarte Teatro, Inc. (awarded $10,000 per year for two years) programs free and accessible theatrical performances, workshops, and community conversations, emphasizing decolonization, to address and heal generational wounds and traumas in historically marginalized, Latinx communities: immigrant, farmworker, and LGBTQ+.

Escuela De Bomba Y Plena Tata Cepeda (awarded $5,000 per year for two years) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 by Barbara Ortiz, granddaughter of Don Rafael Cepeda Atìles-The Patriarch of Puerto Rican Bomba & Plena. With the support of volunteers, is dedicated to promoting Bomba and Plena through study, teaching, cultural events, and artistic presentations.

Fusionfest Inc. (awarded $10,000) creates opportunities for discovery and awareness of the joy and power of cultural diversity and inclusion through arts, food, and education. Our year-round programming includes a weekly virtual talk show, monthly dining events, watch parties, and an annual two-day festival.

Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association (awarded $5,000 per year for two years). On December 1, 1891 the town of Goldsboro was the second African American incorporated City in the United States. The Goldsboro Museum showcases and preserves the history, heritage, livelihood, and culture of Goldsboro, Florida.

Little Radical Theatrics Inc. (awarded $5,000), founded in 2009 in Yonkers NY, and based out of Orlando since 2020 is a non-profit community theater company. Producing three, all-ages, productions per year and one youth theater production using its founding tenants of Diversity, Education and Community.

Open Scene, Inc. (awarded $10,000 per year for two years) teaches, entertains, and empowers through quality artistic and humanities endeavors that stimulate cultural dialog and pluralism and produces the Latinx Performing Arts Festival, the playwriting contest “Escena Abierta,” Voices, Art in the Garden, and dynamics to improve Spanish skills.

Orlando Community Arts (awarded $5,000) is an African American 501c3 organization that aims to give members of minority and low-income arts groups access to the arts which may include theater, film, radio, television, dance, music, media visual and all related activities. Further, to foster a safe, creative, and culturally sensitive environment that develops the whole child through a “High Quality” arts curriculum and programming.

Orlando International Film Festival, inc. (OIFF) (awarded $5,000) provides educational programs in the visual/performing arts, composition skills, and film production for at-risk youth and emerging filmmakers. OIFF also produces community showcases and film festivals for the general public.

Orlando Urban Film Festival (OUFF) (awarded $5,000 per year for two years) is where African American visionaries expose their products to the marketplace and share their film works on a “BIG SCREEN” in a state-of-the-art theater or perform music on a large stage, or virtually in the Metaverse.

PAST/The Wells’ Built Museum of African American History & Culture (awarded $10,000). The mission and core work of the Association to Preserve African American Society, History and Tradition, Inc. (PAST) is to research, document and highlight the history, lifestyles, architecture, religions, art, cuisine, festivals, and rituals of people of African ancestry who have impacted the development of the state of Florida and the United States. This mission is accomplished through literary offerings, interpretive and artistic exhibits, dialogue, discussions, and cultural tours.

So You Want Your Name In Lights Corporation (SYWYNIL) (awarded $5,000) aims to improve the quality of life for community residents by implementing at-risk, underserved youth mentoring activities, educational support, and performing arts programs.

Teatro for the Soul (awarded $5,000) is working determinedly to advance social justice in culturally diverse communities through the transformative power of theatre to promote the Latinx culture, the Spanish language and mental health in our community.

To be considered for the Diversity in the Arts grant program, applicants must be a BIPOC/ALAANA led, 501(c)3 organization. In addition, they must be located and serving communities in Lake, Orange, Osceola, or Seminole counties and have arts, history, or science as their primary mission. Submitted applications were reviewed by United Arts staff for completeness and organizational eligibility before going through a volunteer panel review process.

United Arts uses a volunteer, participatory panel process to score application competitiveness, appropriateness and impactful, resulting in funding recommendations that support organizations and projects that are relevant and approachable to communities throughout Central Florida. Panelists are vital to the integrity of the grant review process. They bring their expertise of their community, the arts (including history and science), and nonprofit management to evaluate each application. Each panel is reflective of the communities United Arts serves. For Diversity in the Arts, panelists reviewed eligible applications through the lenses of artistic excellence, artistic merit, and community impact.

This program has a funding period of January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023, for organizations who applied for one year and a funding period of January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023, and January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024, for multi-year grantees. These grants are sponsored by Duke Energy

1Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
2African, Latino/a/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American


About United Arts of Central Florida
United Arts of Central Florida is the local arts agency uniting the community and fueling the arts. With the help of individual donors, corporations, foundations and public funding, United Arts inspires creativity, builds community and strengthens the economy in Central Florida. United Arts is proud to facilitate arts education programs for all ages and provide critical funding and comprehensive marketing for local art, science, and history organizations and individual artists. Leading the second largest collaborative fundraising campaign in the country and uniting over 30 of the region’s cornerstone arts and cultural organizations, United Arts is dedicated to ensuring the arts are for all.

For more information, visit http://www.UnitedArts.cc or call 407.628.0333.


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