UMAR Set to Raise $250K to Keep Charlotte Artists with Disabilities in Creative Home

February 9, 2015

Snowy Hearts400CHARLOTTE, NC (Feb. 9, 2015) – After Mecklenburg County cut $216,000 in funding to the UMAR’s Arts Program this month, the nonprofit is working to find sustainable funding sources to keep 21 artists with disabilities in their creative home in NoDa. “UMAR’s board recognizes that the Arts Program epitomizes UMAR’s mission by providing 37 artists with meaningful and productive lives in the Charlotte community,” Marilyn Garner, UMAR’s president and CEO, said. “Without the program, these artists face a life of home isolation—exactly what UMAR works to prevent.” As a result, UMAR’s board of trustees unanimously agreed to keep the NoDa center open. To address the challenge, they created a taskforce and charged UMAR to raise $250,000 (approximately $12,000 per individual affected by the funding cut) of sustainable funding this year—beginning with the nonprofit’s annual Charlotte fundraiser, the Friends of UMAR Luncheon at noon, Feb. 17 at Providence United Methodist Church. “Keeping the art center is important to us,” Sean O’Reilly, a UMAR artist said. “Art just brings out the best in people. It brings joy, hope, peace and love, all of that spreads beyond our art center when we’re out in the community.” Most recently UMAR helped spread that joy when staff uncovered the creative genius of artist Danny Kirkland. After discovering his love for architecture, the arts program encouraged him to paint homes and buildings for local businesses and residents, a venture that became so popular that the Kirkland was recently featured in the Charlotte Business Journal’s “Book of Lists.” To meet these artists and learn more about UMAR’s campaign, join UMAR at Providence United Methodist Church on Feb. 17, 12-1 p.m. for the Friends of UMAR Luncheon. For more information or to RSVP, contact Cameron Hunter, UMAR Director of Development, at or 704-659-7624. About UMAR Founded in 1983 by the United Methodist Church, UMAR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting community inclusion, independence and growth for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout western NC. A Better Business Bureau-accredited charity, UMAR currently supports more than 400 adults through housing, supported employment and cultural enrichment opportunities To learn more about UMAR, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.