United Arts Collier:
All the Arts for all of Collier
As the official, state-designated Local Arts Agency for Collier County, United Arts Collier (formerly the United Arts Council of Collier County) has the well-being of Collier’s community at the core of its mission. “The arts are the instrument through which UAC makes a positive difference in Collier,” explains Elysia Dawn, the new Executive Director for UAC. “The arts make a meaningful and measurable impact in our community, far beyond being simply enjoyable, which they certainly are.”
Ms. Dawn emphasizes her point with compelling data: “In terms of economic impact, the arts are about a $108 million dollar industry in Collier County, supporting around 183 arts and culture organizations, and nearly 3,000 full-time jobs annually. Of that $108 million, $63 million is spent on employment and local goods and services. The additional $45 million is spent by cultural audiences on restaurants, hotels, parking, and shopping.”
Middle photo: Elysia Dawn, Jeté | Photo by Steven Baranovics
UAC recognizes that the arts are not only good for our community from an economic perspective, but they’re also important for our individual health and collective well-being. The arts have been proven in numerous studies to make a difference in our health by improving mood, lowering anxiety, reducing pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, and activating reward pathways in the brain.
The arts also make an important difference in the academic achievement of the children in our community. National studies show that children who receive arts education are five times less likely to drop out of school, four times more likely to receive a secondary degree, and four times more likely to be recognized for academic success. Ninety-three percent of Americans believe that the arts are critical for a well-rounded education and more than half rate the importance of the arts as a ten on a scale from one to ten.
They also happen to generate a lot of fun, creating a sense of community with inspiration and celebration of the human spirit at the center of it.
Ms. Dawn grew up in Naples but left at age fourteen to pursue her career as a professional ballet dancer which led to her dancing in New York City and around the world. Following an injury, her next step was to obtain her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Columbia University (B.A.s in Art History and Business Management and M.S. in Nonprofit Management) while working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she curated and programmed live arts performances in the museum’s unique spaces.
When asked about her return to Naples in her new role, Ms. Dawn exclaimed, “It’s one of the greatest joys in my life to return home to my family and friends here and where my love for the arts was introduced. I’m so grateful to this community for valuing and sharing the arts with me as a child and I want to pay forward the experiences I received and the opportunities they afforded me.
“It is my hope that local artists, non-profit organizations, businesses, arts supporters, educators, and enthusiasts will join UAC and enjoy our many wonderful benefits including how they can get plugged in and discover new, exciting, and creative ways they can help make a difference in our community. All the impact we make together at UAC takes an incredible community effort and it’s improved with every new member - whether that’s supporting with a financial gift, becoming a partner, volunteering, or spreading the word.”
To learn more about or join UAC, please visit www.unitedartscollier.org.