Through music, performing and visual arts, the UAC works with our community to make real and positive change.
by Laura Burns, Executive Director
What’s your definition of success? Or how about economic impact? At UAC ours is the sound of singing, making music, dancing, poetry, painting; you name it, if it involves creative problem solving, we are all about it!
During any given week, someone contacts the UAC to tell us about the impact the arts are having on their lives. We received this inspiring e-mail just the other day.
“My grandson is taking lessons with one of your teaching artists. and without UAC, this would not be possible. He is considered a high risk youth that has struggled with many things that included school work and confidence. But he really wanted to change things. He really connected with music and selected the flute when he signed up for middle school band. When I realized how much he enjoyed it towards the end of his first year I started to look for lessons and we discovered the wonderful teacher UAC had available to help.
He has learned that it’s all about practice and how far he goes is in his hands. He became the go to person for the flute, withstood the teasing from those who questioned why he selected the flute because some view it as a feminine instrument, his grades have come up to where he is actually working above grade level now. He has entered competitions, trying out for the all county band and has been accepted into a church youth band. He plans on being in marching band next year.
He is surrounding himself with a great musical family and has managed to escape the influence of drugs and gangs that lurk in his neighborhood. I am forever grateful!”
The United Arts Council is thrilled to be able to contribute to the development of those important life skills and help enrich so many lives through the arts. Research shows soft skills lead to many positive impacts, a few of which are improved attendance at school, higher academic achievement and more developed critical thinking. All of these skills lead to positive personal development, which in turn has positive economic impacts. That small investment in the arts then becomes the vibrant and engaged communities we call home.
Through the generous support of Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Collier County, the United Arts Council of Collier County is undertaking an Economic Impact Study in partnership with Americans for the Arts and Alliance for the Arts. This research will offer concrete evidence of the economic value of the arts to our community where the results will be national, as well as specific to Collier County.
The United Arts Council is designated by the state of Florida as the official local arts agency for Collier County. The non-profit organization is responsible for promoting the arts locally and coordinating a consolidated calendar for the county’s arts and cultural organizations. They also provide arts education to at-risk students in after-school programs. To view the calendar and for more information visit www.uaccollier.com.
This summer and fall, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is spotlighting the nonprofit organizations funded through the 2016 competitive grant cycle. We have asked our 2016 grantees to send us their stories. The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change-makers.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Last year, the Foundation partnered with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, we’ve invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, visit www.FloridaCommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.