Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

United Arts of Central Florida aims for successful Collaborative Campaign for the Arts


Flora Maria Garcia, president of United Arts of Central Florida.

As a member of Central Florida's Jewish community, it isn't uncommon to have dinner and the theatre scheduled on the calendar for a Saturday night. For most of us, the arts were a regular part of our young lives with a trip to the "Muni Aud" and dessert at Ronnie's Restaurant.

Having a community rich in culture is a privilege, but these days it's difficult for arts and cultural organizations to remain open. Ticket sales usually only cover about 30 percent of operating costs. Luckily, there are arts advocates like United Arts of Central Florida who are there to rally support for all of the arts, science and history organizations in our area. This nonprofit supports more than 50 arts and cultural organizations throughout Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties by raising dollars and distributing them through a series of grants. Now in its 26th year of service, United Arts has invested more than $131 million in the local arts and education.

Local attorney Hal Kantor of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., has been an influential supporter of Central Florida arts and culture both through the workplace and his personal time. A recipient of the Jewish National Fund's Tree of Life award, Kantor currently serves on the United Arts board and executive committee and has previously served as the organization's chairman. "United Arts is a strong united voice and advocate for the arts on state, local, regional and national levels," he stated. "United Arts has been the workhorse for organizing the financial backbone that is achieved with the coordination and cooperation of the arts groups in Central Florida."

Through the Collaborative Campaign for the Arts donors may give to United Arts' Arts for ALL Fund that provides grants to more than 45 cultural groups in Central Florida and provide educational cultural experiences to schoolchildren. United Arts has provided more than 700,000 pre-k to 12th-grade educational experiences including art, science and history field trips, hands-on activities and school performances. Donors may also designate their contribution to one or more of 19 cultural organizations that partner with United Arts to raise funds during the campaign or to another cultural group of their choice. Some large cultural partners participating in the campaign include the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art.

United Arts is currently in the middle of its annual Collaborative Campaign for the Arts, which runs Feb. 1st through April 30. Last year, United Arts closed the campaign at $2,080,826, 22 percent over goal and six percent over the previous year's finish. This year's campaign goal is off to a great start, reaching 30 percent of the goal before Feb. 1 through early bird efforts.

"It's exciting that we have generated 30 percent of our goal in this early phase of the campaign," said Flora Maria Garcia, United Arts' president and CEO. "We've exceeded last year's effort, which was the best campaign finish in six years, by 23 percent during the early bird! We are delighted that donors are stepping up to maintain the upward momentum."

The Collaborative Campaign for the Arts is imperative to keep the arts alive and well in our Central Florida community. Donations not only keep these organizations running for patrons to enjoy, but also provide opportunities for children throughout the community to experience the arts in their lives, most for the very first time.

Donations to the Collaborative Campaign for the Arts can be made and http://www.unitedarts.cc.


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