Art groups post live performances in support of UPAF

Posted at 11:47 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 12:47:52-04

How do you conduct a workplace giving campaign when so few people are actually at work?

It's one of the many challenges facing the United Performing Arts Fund as it strives to support its member groups in southeast Wisconsin.

A large component of UPAF's annual fundraising campaign is an extensive outreach into businesses and workplaces all over southeast Wisconsin. Member groups send performers to speak, conduct live shows, inspire and educate participating businesses about the impact of the performing arts. That part of this year's campaign is already pushed back according to UPAF President & CEO Deanna Tillisch.

"We're seeing our most loyal donors stepping up," Tillisch said of the immediate efforts to reach campaign goals, which are typically north of $10 million.

Some local arts groups prematurely ended their 2019-2020 seasons, and the future of the 2020-2021 seasons are surely in question.

"They're exploring pushing back their seasons to a point where people will feel more comfortable," Tillisch explained, acknowledging that the return to public gatherings may be gradual. "It's not going to be an instant switch where people are going to say, 'OK, let's go out and hang out with thousands of people.'"

In the meantime, UPAF member groups including Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Ballet, First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, the Florentine Opera, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra have all contributed online education or performances on the UPAF Facebook page.

"They've been incredibly creative, " Tillisch said. "That's the essence of our mission in the arts. We are innovative. We spark imagination. They have elevated their creativity more than I've ever seen."

On the fundraising front, a final decision on the annual UPAF Ride for the Arts Sponsored by Miller Lite has not been announced, but it's likely to be delayed.

Right now, it's scheduled for May 31. UPAF also rescheduled its annual golf outing. That will take place on the final official day of the annual Campaign, which is now pushed back to August 31.

To watch the live performances from UPAF member groups, click here.

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