History of UAA

In April of 1996, Judith Detert-Moriarty brought local nonprofit arts organization leaders and others together and discuss the development of a cooperative effort to establish an arts alliance between the various groups and individual artists. These ambitious individuals met with the idea of formulating an area arts events calendar, mutual promotion of arts activities and the eventual development of a performing and exhibiting arts facility. The group became known as the United Arts Alliance. Early UAA activists included: Judith, Lois Buell, Dorothy Gilbertsen, Virginia Turner, Edie Baran, Kathryn Hagan, David Feingold, Peter Diotte, Pat Thom, Jackie-Wood Schoof, and Ted Kinnaman.

The United Arts Alliance is unique in that such efforts are rarely begun by citizen volunteers alone. In almost all other instances, similar coalitions have always been initiated and funded by local school districts, state or municipal governments. In Wisconsin, UAA has the singular distinction of having brought together a diverse group of people with a variety of interests in the arts to bring more arts opportunities and events to everyone of all ages in the community without corporate, government or other municipal sponsorship.

Out of the initial meetings and local surveys of existing arts organizations, it was determined that Janesville had an immediate need for a theatre performance and exhibit space, as well as a place where all arts organizations could have office space, rehearse, educate and be promoted together. The availability of the old Marshall Middle School became the focus of the group’s efforts in the spring of 1997 because it already had a grand auditorium/theatre and the building was being put up for sale by the Janesville School District. The United Arts Alliance led in negotiations and organized community forums with those developers who placed bids on the property in the attempt to save the theatre, as well as some adjacent rooms for workshops, arts offices and more. Today we know that facility as the Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC).

The leadership of UAA along with the many dedicated volunteers that form the core of the United Arts Alliance, individual members and its organizational members continue to experience growth and the development of arts opportunities for Rock County communities. UAA has demonstrated the experience and skill to take the time, energy and talent to link the arts community toward common goals of growth, partnership and greater opportunities through the arts for everyone. The United Arts Alliance was first organized to support excellence in area performing and fine arts, to encourage participation and appreciation of the arts, and to plan and develop a cultural/civic center. It continues with it’s important mission to grow support, appreciation and participation in Rock County arts today.

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