United Performing Arts Fund Announces Increase in Arts Education Grants

United Performing Arts Fund Announces Increase in Arts Education Grants


For more information:

David Fantle

United Performing Arts Fund

414-239-6296 (O) 414-588-1201 (C)

 or Katie Joachim

414-239-6274 (O)


United Performing Arts Fund Announces Increase in Arts Education Grants

Reiman Foundation increased support to provide multi-disciplinary arts programming


MILWAUKEE (Oct. 4, 2016) – The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) announced today that a total of  $576,054 in grants will be distributed through its 2016 Arts Education Grant Program.  Thirteen UPAF Member Groups will receive funding, which is up $83,554 over 2015’s total. This significant increase is attributed to UPAF’s efforts to raise dollars specifically for arts education by promoting membership in its affinity program, UPAF Notable Women, sponsored by BMO Harris.


Members of UPAF Notable Women are dedicated to helping the next generation reach its full potential by having access to quality arts education programming. Dollars raised through the affinity program increased from $382,000 in 2015 to $455,000 in the 2016 UPAF Campaign.


With the support of the Reiman Foundation, three UPAF Member Groups will participate in collaborative programming to allow students to receive multi-disciplinary instruction in music, dance and theater. In addition, UPAF will broaden its focus to include educators as well as students, with the hope that the arts will find a presence in more classrooms throughout the community.


According to Deanna Tillisch, UPAF’s president and CEO, “Arts education and exposure to the performing arts help increase a child’s engagement both inside and outside of the classroom. Students with a high concentration of arts education have higher GPAs, lower dropout rates and enhanced innovation and critical thinking skills. This means that funding arts education is truly an investment in our future.  UPAF’s grant program will allow about 100,000 students to participate in arts education over the next year.”


UPAF also received earmarked dollars from Johnson Controls for three separate programs: Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s “Community Partnership Program,” First Stage’s “Community Learning Center” at Kluge School and Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s “Reading Residencies.”  Additionally, Manpower Group allocated funds for Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s “Emerging Artist” program.


UPAF Cornerstone Member Group, First Stage, is one of Milwaukee’s leaders in promoting and producing arts education programming. First Stage’s Education Director Julia Magnasco said, “UPAF’s arts education funding helps make initiatives like our Community Learning Center at Milwaukee Public School’s Kluge Elementary possible. This year we are serving over 80 students on a daily basis with the primary goal of providing a safe environment for students and families to engage in recreation and experiential learning opportunities that directly support their academic achievement.”’


To receive a grant, each UPAF Member Group is required to submit an online application outlining a specific arts education initiative.  Grant amounts were determined by an independent panel with expertise in arts education, grant making and research.




2016-17 UPAF Arts Education Grant Program

UPAF Member Group 2016 Program Arts Education Grant
Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom & Tap $               55,000
First Stage Milwaukee Theater Academy $             120,000
Florentine Opera Company Opera in the Schools $               28,000
Milwaukee Ballet Relevé $               53,000
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Young Playwrights Festival $                 9,000
Milwaukee Children’s Choir Lake Country Children’s Choir $               14,000
Milwaukee Repertory Theater Emerging Professional Resident Program $               88,000
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Arts in Community Education $               77,000
MYSO Community Partnership Program $               65,000
Next Act Theatre Next Actors $                10,000
Present Music Creation Project $                  5,000
Renaissance Theaterworks Br!NK and Playclub $                  2,054
Skylight Music Theatre Enlighten Partner School Initiative $                50,000
  TOTAL $              576,054



About UPAF

United Performing Arts Fund’s mission is to secure community resources, promote the performing arts as a regional asset and improve the quality of life through responsible investment in and financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. Our vision is to shape a diverse, vibrant and sustainable cultural life for all. In 2016 UPAF’s Annual Campaign raised more than $12 million to support the area’s vibrant performing arts environment. UPAF proudly bears Charity Navigator’s highest distinction for nonprofits – a four-star rating.

As an umbrella organization, UPAF supports a breadth of performing arts groups that collectively offer something for everyone through its 15 Member Groups and numerous Affiliates.  More than one million people are touched each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships.



United Performing Arts Fund

301 W. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 600, Milwaukee, WI  53203

Phone 414-273-UPAF (8723) Fax 414-273-0826


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