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Posts tagged as Adrienne Pedersen

Growing Milwaukee’s ‘Vibrant Performing Arts Scene’

We are fortunate to have such a varied and thriving performing arts scene in the greater Milwaukee area. Multiple professional theater companies, Multiple professional theater companies, full-size symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, opera and stage musical performance companies and several professional dance organizations display their many talents and enrich our lives in many ways.
But imagine what our arts scene would be like if several million dollars were removed from their budgets. Thankfully, such a nightmare scenario won’t play out in reality as long as the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) has anything to say about it.UPAF has been setting the stage for its 14 member groups and numerous affiliates (29 all told) through investment in our region’s vibrant performing arts scene for more than half a century. Since its inception, it has raised more than $320 million, allowing arts organizations to continue their creative, inspiring and educational efforts at a high rate of professionalism.
UPAF is not funded by any level of government; all the money it raises comes from individual donors, companies and foundations. At UPAF’s fundraising campaign finale held in June 2018, it was announced that a record $12,065,857 had been raised for the year (a figure that had increased to $12,073,795 when UPAF closed its fiscal year last August)—money that came from nearly 20,000 donors.
“For more than half a century, UPAF has raised essential dollars to ensure that southeastern Wisconsin retains its depth and breadth of performing arts,” says Deanna Tillisch, UPAF president and CEO. “Due to the generous and ongoing support of our donors, sponsors and volunteers, we are able to provide our member groups with the resources required to deliver entertainment excellence and arts education enrichment.
“The performing arts are an inspiration for all of us in greater Milwaukee, and the United Performing Arts Fund is essential to the sustainability of these local assets,” she continues. “With each annual campaign, we rely on the generosity of individuals, companies and foundations to ensure we do not take our vibrant performing arts scene for granted.” She states that several factors contributed to the success of UPAF’s 2018 campaign, including workplace giving campaigns; Bright Minds—their arts education grants program; the “Adopt an Artist” program connecting Milwaukee-area firms with local talent; the “UPAF Connect” community outreach program and more.2019 Campaign Ready for LaunchOn Monday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Bradley Pavilion of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (929 N.Water St.), a new fundraising season officially launches.
It will be emceed by WISN Channel 12 news anchors Sheldon Dutes and Adrienne Pedersen. As for other notables at the kick off, UPAF’s public relations and social media coordinator Katie Korek says they are “still awaiting final confirmations for which of our member groups will be performing at the March 4 launch event,” but that they have confirmed a performance by “Danceworks, and our other performer will most likely be the Milwaukee Rep.” There will also be speeches by Tillisch as well as the three campaign co-chairs—James Barry (president of The Barry Company), Sandra Botcher (vice president of field experience at Northwestern Mutual) and Tim Stewart (attorney and partner at DeWitt LLP). Also in attendance will be Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow.Of special note is a special appearance by Emily Schoen, a Brookfield native who is now a New York City-based dancer, choreographer and one of DanceMagazine’s “Top 25 to Watch” artists. Schoen won Gibney Dance’s “boo-koo” grant for emerging artist in NYC, a Princess Grace Fellowship nomination by METdance and has served as the artist-in-residence for the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning.
As a dancer, she’s worked for Kyle Abraham, Nejla Yatkin, the Metropolitan Opera and Keigwin+Company. With these groups, she’s performed at the nation’s finest theaters and toured internationally.
As a dance educator, Emily has fulfilled commissions for Santa Barbara Dance Theater, METdance, Ormao and has worked with university programs across the U.S.Every Dollar CountsFrom major donors to those individuals who give $10, $20, $50 or $100, UPAF invests every dollar received into enhancing Milwaukee’s performing arts scene. “All donations to UPAF help to sustain our 14 member group organizations, providing them crucial operating funding.
This support allows the organizations to put their focus on what they do best: creating, performing, inspiring and educating,” Korek says. “UPAF’s promise to donors is to cost-effectively raise funds that will enhance the vibrancy of southeastern Wisconsin through a vital performing arts scene.UPAF’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned the organization a four-star rating (the highest-possible level) from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity watchdog.”By directly supporting groups like First Stage, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Bel Canto Chorus, Danceworks and others, UPAF’s work—made possible through generous community donations—has a ripple effect throughout the region.
“The performing arts generate nearly $80 million in event-related spending above the price of the ticket in the greater Milwaukee area, in addition to employing nearly 4,000 people,” Korek explains. “They drive tourism—with visitors staying longer and spending more—be it on dining, lodging, etc.”“A vibrant performing arts scene also attracts innovative companies and talented employees to our area. Overall, contributing to UPAF is a local investment—helping to nurture local talent and creativity as well as helping to boost our economy.”For more about UPAF and its 2019 campaign launch event, call 414-273-8723 or visit
TagsMayor Tom BarrettUnited Performing Arts FundKatie KorekMarcus Center for the Performing ArtsBradley PavilionEmily SchoenAdrienne PedersenSheldon DutesPaul FarrowDeanna TillischCharity NavigatorChris AbeleJohn JahnJohn Jahn is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and resident of Riverwest. He writes and edits for the Shepherd Express and has edited several books.John was AE Editor for the Milwaukee-based LGBTQ weekly, The Wisconsin Light, throughout the 1990s.

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