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.

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A Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise

We give thanks for this Summons to Witness, Protest and Promise written by the cabinet of the North Carolina Conference.  In our ongoing collaboration, we affirm these words alongside them.  Across our state, we invite all United Methodists to be a part of building “the new world God promises as heaven in time descends to earth.” (Revelation 21)

A Summons to Witness, Protest, & Promise

We, United Methodists in The Western North Carolina Conference, join our voices with The North Carolina Conference in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.

We believe. . .

We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God’s intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

We protest. . .
We protest violent murders of Black men and women, most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We protest the narratives of fear and suspicion that divide people from one another.
We protest our historic failure to ensure all our churches are places of hospitality, welcome, and belonging for our Black brothers and sisters.
We protest the historic and continuing suppression of voting and other basic rights.
We protest all incendiary public leadership in this time of crisis and turmoil.
We protest the lack of will in our communities, our state and our country to protect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, and especially the most vulnerable, the young and the old.

We promise. . .
We promise to use our voices, resources and power to dismantle white privilege and racist systems, especially within our own United Methodist Church.
We promise to read the Scripture with ear and eye attentive to the continued call toward God’s will for all people.
We promise to exercise the right to vote and to work against voter suppression.
We promise to create around ourselves at all times hospitable space for all people.
We promise to name prejudice when we see it and to receive the correction of others who see prejudice in us.
We promise to be life-long learners, to constantly make adjustments in the way we use our power and influence, to be active participants in the building of the beloved community, and ultimately growing always in holiness toward the perfection we see in Christ.


Bishop Paul Leeland
Laura Auten
Carl Arrington
Michael Bailey
David Christy
Amy Coles
Bev Coppley
Beth Crissman
Otto Harris
David Hockett
Kim Ingram
Linda Kelly
Mark King
Melissa McGill
Samuel Moore, Jr.
Dan Pezet
Mark Ralls
David Snipes
Caroline Wood
Jane Wood

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Tim Russell
Edie Gleaves
Ray Broadwell
Gil Wise
Gray Southern
Mike Frese
Kenneth Locklear
Randy Innes
Linda Taylor
Dena White
Tara Lain
Ismael Ruiz-Millan
Jon Strother
Beth Hood
Lisa Yebuah
Greg Moore
Steve Taylor

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