Social Injustice and Racism

What is UPAF’s position on social injustice and racism?

  • We stand in unity with our Milwaukee community as we are diligent in our efforts to support a sector that drives positive change, fosters an open dialogue and believes in accessibility for all. 
  • The performing arts are a convener of people, ideas, opinions and thoughts. It is incumbent on those involved in the sector – leaders, employees, artists, patrons and funders – to make the arts part of the solution with issues that plague our community, such as social injustice and racism. 
  • Arts groups must listen carefully and follow the leadership of those most affected. The art of storytelling is a powerful tool we can activate in collaboration with our communities to heighten people’s awareness and jumpstart a dialogue on confronting the issues we face. 

What is UPAF doing to drive inclusivity, diversity and engagement?

  • UPAF has a longstanding commitment to funding programs delivered by our Member Groups that allow everyone to experience the magic of the performing arts. They are more than a “nice to have”; they provide essential platforms for expression and understanding and foster inspiration, hope and connection that transform people’s lives and our communities. 
  • The arts have the distinct ability to bring people together to share a common experience and similar feelings at the same time and at the same place. 
  • The arts have a powerful impact by allowing us to see through other people's eyes and learn about experiences that are different from our own. 
  • Arts education is an equalizer; it is for all children to engage in and learn from – together. We simply will not accept any situation that prevents children from participating in arts programming, which we know has a material impact on lifelong success. It is an investment in our future that will pay dividends. 

What is UPAF doing for this year’s Campaign to engage all members of our community?

  • UPAF's Campaign theme is “A Stage for All” to underscore the significance of the arts, including arts education, and how everyone should have the opportunity to experience our community assets. 
  • Since many in our community have limited to no access to the arts or arts education, UPAF has two community outreach programs that raise dollars exclusively to expand accessibility to performances, workshops and tailored experiences. 
    • UPAF Connect takes the arts into neighborhoods while also bringing neighborhoods to the arts so individuals and families can participate in activities they may not otherwise have been able to experience.
    • UPAF Bright Minds delivers high-quality arts programming to over 102,000 children throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Eighty percent of those served live at or below the poverty line so it is essential we remove barriers to engagement.
  • The need for access to virtual and safe in-person arts experiences that inspire and connect has been amplified due to COVID-19, which has increased social and emotional isolation, especially for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. 
  • As a funding source, UPAF needs to be part of the conversation and help drive much-needed change.