Enriching Lives, Revitalizing a Community

UAB Donors Support Arts Outreach Program

By Lisa C. Bailey

sp2013 momentumChildren at the YWCA in Birmingham’s
Woodlawn neighborhood can learn
to paint, dance, drum, quilt, and
more with the ArtReach initiative,
begun with seed money from the
Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation.
UAB’s ArtReach initiative is bringing dance, music, theater, and the visual arts to the Woodlawn YWCA (YWoodlawn) Initiative. Begun with seed money from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, ArtReach provides high-quality arts education for the residents of YWoodlawn through classes and programs benefiting children and adults.

ArtReach is a collaborative venture between UAB’s Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center’s (ASC) ArtPlay and the YWCA of Central Alabama at YWoodlawn. Through this program, ArtPlay’s teaching artists offer free instruction to children as young as three as well as adults in subjects ranging from quilting and drumming to jazz and African dance. 

“ArtReach has brought a joyful sense of community to the residents of the Woodlawn area who participate in its programs,” Gillian Goodrich says. “At last year’s summer celebration, you could see the enthusiastic participation of the children in drumming, dance, and music.”  

The project contributes to the revitalization of Birmingham’s Woodlawn area, where the YWCA has invested $11 million for a housing initiative. In addition to the Goodriches, other sponsors for ArtReach are the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Jane Stephens Comer, Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust, UAB, UAB Department of Medicine, and Vulcan Materials Company. 

“We are so appreciative of all who make this possible,” says Suzanne Durham, CEO of the YWCA of Central Alabama. “Whether it’s learning to play guitar one-on-one with an instructor, quilting with a group of new friends, painting and sculpting, or studying ballet, ArtReach has truly enlivened the promise of musicians, artisans, and dancers among us all in Woodlawn.”

UAB’s reach stretches across classes, cultures and continents into inner-city classrooms, rural clinics and far corners of the globe. Service-learning is engrained across the university curricula, and the dedication and character of our faculty and students is evidenced by their willingness to use their knowledge for the well-being of others.

UAB has been named three consecutive years to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a university can achieve for civic engagement, and we're among 51 public and private universities classified by The Carnegie Foundation for both “very high research activity” and "community engagement."

Our strategic plan, UAB21, is our pledge to prepare our students and community for the challenges of a new world economy: global literacy, biotechnology and biomedical science, energy, transportation, materials engineering, information technology, computing security and entrepreneurship.

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