Arts United All Of Us

United Arts of Central Florida kicks off its 2013 collaborative campaign today with the goal of raising more than $1.5 million for our local cultural institutions. The campaign runs through April 30.I recently joined the board of directors for United Arts and am chairing the development committee and fundraising efforts for this year’s campaign. I have learned so much in such a short time about how the arts are critical to the quality of life in our community and help with economic development, education and tourism.

United Arts is a dynamic collaboration of businesses, governments and school districts, foundations, arts and cultural organizations, and artists and individuals. Its mission is to unite, strengthen and inspire our Central Florida community through the arts and culture. United Arts serves residents and visitors in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties through more than 50 local arts, sciences and history cultural partners. These cultural partners annually provide more than 600,000 learning experiences for kids through classroom programs and field trips revolving around a variety of cultural programs, including music, science, dance, history, theater, literacy and others.

The arts also impact our community on a broader scale, with studies pointing to significant economic benefits. In Central Florida alone, nearly 9,000 jobs were supported by the arts and culture industry, according to a 2010 economic study by Americans for the Arts. Arts and cultural organizations helped generate nearly $36 million in revenue for state and local governments and $264 million in direct economic activity.

If you live in Central Florida, surely by now you have been touched by an experience or performance through a United Arts cultural partner: • Art and History Museums – Maitland • Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community • Bach Festival Society • Crealde School of Art • Downtown Arts District/City Arts Factory • Enzian Theater • Orange County Regional History Center • Orlando Ballet • Orlando Museum of Art • Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra • Opera (Orlando Repertory Theatre) • Orlando Science Center • Orlando Shakespeare Theater • Osceola Center for the Arts • Seminole Cultural Arts Council • Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center

You may ask why you should give through United Arts, rather than directly to your favorite cultural institution. And there is very good answer. The 17 United Arts cultural partners are eligible for a 15 percent matching grant if you designate your gift to one or more of the organizations, so your dollars go further when you give through the collaborative campaign. You may also give to Arts for ALL, a fund that provides grants to more than 50 local groups, including cornerstone institutions like the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orlando Ballet and the Orlando Science Center; school-based education programs; and hundreds of artists and arts administrators.

As of today, more than half a million dollars have already been raised toward the $1.57 million campaign fundraising goal through an early bird campaign effort. If you want to help ensure that these cultural institutions keep adding to the quality of life here in Central Florida, please consider making a donation to the collaborative campaign at