Mission: Union Project uses the arts to bridge gaps between communities.
Target demographics: Artists, community builders, culturally and socially diverse neighbors
Geographic areas served: Pitttsburgh
Programs: Ceramics programming, the union project's (up) community ceramics program creates connections and opportunities for learning through community-based ceramic programming intended to serve the diverse needs of the surrounding neighborhoods, from first time students to emerging artists. Up supports local emerging artists via an affordable cooperative where members can build their skills and resume (by teaching classes and workshops to youth, families, and adults) in exchange for use of its fully equipped studio. Members receive professional development including opportunities to exhibit and sell their artwork via the three rivers arts festival in the summer, the highland park pottery tour in the winter, and the mother of all pottery sales in the spring. Up's ceramics studio model offers 70 programs annually, both on site and off, including bringing programming into classrooms, after-school programs, summer camps, and custom programs for all ages. Up also hosts a youth apprentice program, a residency program and a visiting artist program that brings nationally known diverse artists to inspire and share new ideas with the studio of artists, students and the community at large.
space rental programmingthe goal of space rental at the union project (up) is to optimize use of its space by the community for the purposes of building a more inclusive, accessible, and just community. Using an affordable pricing strategy and marketing support (via website, monthly e-newsletters, and quarterly postcards/fliers), up incubates new ideas, entrepreneurs, small businesses, non-profits, and community classes so that community members can learn new skills, interact with diverse residents, build social capital, and become more self-sufficient long-term. All of these programs and activities take place via hourly, monthly, and/or annual rental. Hourly space rental offers three distinct spaces (the great hall, atrium, and board room) to host all manner of private and public events - from performances to community meetings to weddings. Monthly rental offers accessible space options for community class instructors to grow their class/workshops on a regular basis. Annual rental offers eight affordable offices and a large studio space to grass roots individuals and niche service providers, all of which operate in a collaborative environment.
When I moved to Pittsburgh, I was referred to Union Project as a place to volunteer. The staff were very kind in both finding meaningful things for me to do and to introduce me to other connected people in the community.
Volunteered and attended the Rib-Off, an event that was so well attended that they sold-out of ribs just past the mid-way point of the event. The organization seems to excel in motivating the local community to participate and attend its events, and the Rib-Off was no exception. The quality/value of the event was pretty strong.... areas for improvement would be in re-structuring the relationship with the participants to ensure ample supply of food for the event, and to slightly increase prices of ribs to help generate more $.
I love how Union Project is an organization that brings together historic preservation, art, social enterprise and coffee under one roof! I was inspired when I walked into the Urban Fusion Cafe and heard great music and conversation. I also loved walking around and reading the bulletin boards and picking up literature about local non-profits, arts organizations, forums, etc. The building itself was spacious and the stained glass art work was beautiful, even more so when I found out that they have a Glass Action program where they restore glass art on-site. Based on my first impression, Union Project fulfills its vision for being a catalyst for neighborhood redevelopment and historic preservation.