The Urban Artists Initiative has provided culturally and ethnically diverse artists and organizations with the tools to thrive and enrich the cultural life of their communities. Through professional training, modest financial assistance and network-building, UAI has helped people to develop and refine their knowledge and experience, enhance their careers, and facilitate the growth of their organizations.
UAI has nurtured a diversity of artists and organizations including African-American, Argentinean, Armenian, Brazilian, Indian, Lebanese, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, and Russian, from among more than 30 ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The program has also facilitated partnerships with schools, social clubs and social service organizations that, while not arts-dedicated institutions, include community-based arts programs among their core activities. Helping create connections among local artists, different types of community organizations, and the larger arts network, has been a fundamental component of the program.
Key to the original goals and strategies set forth by the UAI program are: a) to create a vibrant network of artists and presenters within and among the state of Connecticut; b) to enhance the ability of artists to effectively produce, present and market their work and services in professional fields; and, c) to expand the ability of community-based, non-arts organizations and developing arts organizations to effectively engage artists in a wide variety of disciplines and services.
UAI has applied a number of strategies to address the programís goals including: fieldwork; professional training for organizations and artists; mentors matched to participating artists and arts organizations; training to conduct teaching residencies; grants for project development; opportunities to initiate collaborative projects; continuing education opportunities; quarterly meetings to discuss progress and issues; and a bi-annual conference featuring nationally recognized arts leaders.