The Wallace-Readers Digest Fund has identified the University Musical Society (UMS) as one of the leading arts presenters in the country by awarding a $1.25 million grant, to be distributed over a period of four years. UMS is one of four arts presenters and 15 cultural organizations in the country to be awarded a grant under this new program. The grants are part of the funds Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation (LEAP) initiative, a premier grant program totaling $16 million that supports efforts to encourage broader, more diverse audiences for the arts.
The grant, the largest in UMS 121-year history, will be used to collaborate with local cultural groups and U-M departments to conduct annual residencies by major artists in modern dance, jazz and theater, and to develop new marketing and fundraising strategies that more fully involve new audiences.
In addition, UMS and its partners will host a wide range of educational activities including master classes, radio interviews, in-school programs, pre- and post-concert events, teacher workshops, major conferences and residency activities.
I am delighted that the Wallace-Readers Digest Fund has once again recognized our commitment to and achievements in audience development. I am enthusiastic about our future plans and know that we will put this money to the best use possible, said UMS President Kenneth C. Fischer.
The Wallace-Readers Digest Fund has been the largest source of private foundation support for the arts in the United States over the past decade. UMS has received five Wallace-funded grants during the 1990s for projects that included the Martha Graham Dance Company and Donald Byrds The Harlem Nutcracker, among many others. The LEAP initiative is one way the fund supports arts organizations that wish to address the specific needs of people in their communities. On the surface, these organizations might appear to be very different in terms of art, form, size and region, said Michael Moore, the Funds director for the arts. They are actually very similar in their approach to serving their communities while providing high-quality artistry. When service to people and artistic quality come together, organizations and communities benefitand our funding investments produce a greater return.
This announcement follows two other large grants received by UMS in recent weeks: a $352,100 Anchor Organization grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for the 200001 season, and a $400,000 Arts, Cultural and Quality of Life grant from the states Office of Management and Budget for the Royal Shakespeare Company residency project.
UMS joins several prominent arts organizations in receiving LEAP funding, including Arena Stage, American Ballet Theatre, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera, The Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, Calif.).