Forward Community Investments & the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center team up for an expansion that will help provide tens of thousands of young people the opportunity to mold their creativity in the arts.
February 17, 2021
Forward Community Investments (FCI) is excited to partner with the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MYAC) on the expansion of their facilities to further enhance the ability for in-person instruction and youth performance opportunities. The $9.5MM project will utilize $8.5MM in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from FCI as part of the financing for the development of the project.
MYAC is the product of a unique collaboration between the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) and First Stage. In 2002, First Stage and MYSO came together to form MYAC, selected a building site, and launched a capital campaign to construct a facility to house both organizations' award-winning programming. Since opening in January of 2005, the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center has continually strived to provide the finest collaborative environment for arts training and education while also providing space that nurtures youth from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The focus on outreach to all communities and partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools has helped MYAC and partner organizations achieve a 50% rate of youth participants identifying as BIPOC.
“The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MYAC) was conceived in the beginning to not just provide space for youth-serving performing arts groups but to provide more accessible space and do what the arts do, break down walls and build community. MYAC today serves over 25,000 young people across southeastern Wisconsin serving over 60 communities and with almost half of its students from families of color.” States Del Wilson, Executive Director of MYAC
The 40,000SF expansion and rehabilitation will allow MYAC to serve an additional 20,000 youth from Milwaukee and surrounding areas. The increase in capacity will allow MYAC to meet the incredible demand for arts and music performance space, which currently includes a waitlist that is 3 times the current capacity for their award-winning Community Partnership Program.
“As MYAC began working on this project we had multiple goals: more accessible space for our partners, more space and impact with new partners, more space for young people to learn and find their community, and more connection with our neighbors. Working with Forward Community Investments in developing our Community Benefits Agreement we saw the opportunity that New Market Tax Credits afforded us to reach all these goals. A great team has helped us already to engage several minority neighborhood contractors, we are reaching out to neighborhood groups around internships in the building trades, and we have increased our fundraising to include a new Community Access Fund to offset costs of neighbors using our space. We are excited where we are but more importantly look forward to see what more we can do.” Continues Wilson
"We are thrilled to call MYAC a partner as we are able to utilize our New Markets Tax Credits allocation for such an important organization that will provide tens of thousands of youth the opportunity to mold their creativity through the arts." Said Evan Reed, FCI's Regional Director of Southeast Wisconsin.
This expansion should be ready in the Fall of 2021