For Immediate Release
March 22, 2012
Contact: Cultural Industry Investment Fund (


New York, NY – Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) has announced that, through its Cultural Industry Investment Fund, a two-year grant of $250,000 has been awarded to the Harlem Arts Alliance to build its organizational capacity for long-term sustainability.

The Harlem Arts Alliance serves a membership of over 850 individuals and arts organizations, as well as the broader arts community, through professional and creative development programs, advocacy efforts, grant support, communications and information services, and public events showcasing Harlem arts for thousands of residents and visitors to Harlem.

The Alliance was founded in 2001 by a group of Harlem artists and arts administrators who recognized the need for consistent, quality services and resources to help support their work and as a catalyst to help advance the cultural development of the Harlem community.  From a modest, informal network of members and volunteers, the organization has grown into a professionally staffed and widely recognized arts service organization with a committed board of directors.

Among the signature programs provided by the Alliance are “Artz, Rootz & Rhythm,” a multi-disciplinary performance showcase for over 200 Harlem based artists each year; Harlem Arts Advocacy Week, an annual series of forums, seminars, and exhibitions that highlight the diversity and accomplishments of Harlem’s cultural community; and the Arts Development Seminar Series, a program of technical, professional and creative development sessions that serve over 250 artists and arts organizations throughout Harlem each year.

The Harlem Arts Alliance was awarded a two-year $250,000 grant to support fundraising and other staff positions, develop and implement a strategic plan, and continue a UMEZ-supported re-grant program for individual artists and smaller arts organizations.  Through these efforts, the Alliance will continue to strengthen its ability to serve its growing roster of constituents and support its own progress toward long-term sustainability.

The Harlem Arts Alliance website


UMEZ’s mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.  UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed areas in the Zone by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment.  In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.


UMEZ’s Cultural Industry Investment Fund celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich cultural history while supporting vibrant new legacies.  The work of CIIF is shaped by two primary themes: community building through a cultural and economic lens; and the repositioning of Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  CIIF investments are designed to yield long-term, permanent change for resident cultural organizations, specifically through capacity building, organizational development, and/or enhanced stability.  As a result, Upper Manhattan’s cultural organizations are able to leverage new resources, generate new jobs and attract new tourism, thereby spurring economic activity in their communities.


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