Urban Arts Corps (New York, N.Y.)

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Urban Arts Corps (UAC) was founded in 1967 by Vinnette Carroll, actor and director, who served as the company's premiere artistic director. It began as a pilot project of the Ghetto Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. Carrol established the UAC in response to a request from John B. Hightower, the executive director of the Council.

The objectives of the creators was to: provide youth in ghetto areas with direct collaborative experiences with performing artists who shared the youths' social and cultural heritage; aid in the development of work techniques; introduce ghetto youth to materials, organizations and artists that would enhance and improve their self image; stimulate and assist in the development of young artists in disadvantaged areas; and stimulate interest in professional and educational opportunities in the arts.

Charged with the phrase "Black is Beautiful" the Urban Arts Corps sought to provide accessible art for blacks, Puerto Rican, and culturally under-served urban communities and to nurture the talents of Corps members. Another goal of UAC was to develop a major repertory company that produced new, classical and relevant plays of enduring value by black playwrights and major playwrights that were within the mission of the company. The latter goal resulted in the production of several new and classical plays on and off Broadway, which also toured major cities in New York State. Among these were productions of "But Never Jam Today," "Old Judge Moses is Dead," "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl" (1969-1970); "Don't Bother Me," "I Can't Cope," "Croesus," "Step Lively Boy," "Defiant Island," "The Files" (1972-1973); "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God," " Theo" (1975-1976); and "Alice" and "When Hell Freezes Over I'll Skate" (1978-1979). "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" and "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" were the Corps most successful and popular plays, and continue to be performed twenty years later. The formal closure of the UAC is not documented in the collection.

From the description of Urban Arts Corps records, 1955-1983. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122517210

The Urban Arts Corps (UAC), a theater group, was founded by actress-director Vinnette Carroll in l967 who served as the company's artistic director. The Corps emerged as a pilot project of the Ghetto Arts Program which was sponsored by the New York State Council of the Arts. Initially its members were African-American and Puerto Rican youth, but by the third season UAC became multi-racial. Among the objectives of UAC was to stimulate an interest in the arts by providing outdoor performances in under-served urban communities, and to also develop a major repertory company that produced new plays by black playwrights.

During the 1972-1973 season, UAC premiered its most successful musical, "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope." This production was later picked up by Broadway where it was directed by Vinnette Carroll, making her one of the first women to direct a Broadway show. In the 1975-1976 season, UAC produced "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" which also later moved to Broadway. Both of these plays continue to be performed since they were first introduced more than 25 years ago.

The date of the dissolution of UAC is unknown. Until the late 1990s, Carroll was the artistic director of the Vinnette Carroll Repertory Company, a church affiliated theater built in Carroll's honor and located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

From the guide to the Urban Arts Corps (New York, N.Y.) photograph collection [graphic], 194-]-[199-, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Urban Arts Corps (UAC) was founded in 1967 by Vinnette Carroll, actor and director, who served as the company's premiere artistic director. It began as a pilot project of the Ghetto Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. Carrol established the UAC in response to a request from John B. Hightower, the executive director of the Council.

The objectives of the creators was to: provide youth in ghetto areas with direct collaborative experiences with performing artists who shared the youths' social and cultural heritage; aid in the development of work techniques; introduce ghetto youth to materials, organizations and artists that would enhance and improve their self image; stimulate and assist in the development of young artists in disadvantaged areas; and stimulate interest in professional and educational opportunities in the arts.

Charged with the phrase "Black is Beautiful" the Urban Arts Corps sought to provide accessible art for blacks, Puerto Rican, and culturally under-served urban communities and to nurture the talents of Corps members. Another goal of UAC was to develop a major repertory company that produced new, classical and relevant plays of enduring value by black playwrights and major playwrights that were within the mission of the company. The latter goal resulted in the production of several new and classical plays on and off Broadway, which also toured major cities in New York State. Among these were productions of "But Never Jam Today," "Old Judge Moses is Dead," "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl" (1969-1970); "Don't Bother Me," "I Can't Cope," "Croesus," "Step Lively Boy," "Defiant Island," "The Files" (1972-1973); "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God," " Theo" (1975-1976); and "Alice" and "When Hell Freezes Over I'll Skate" (1978-1979). "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" and "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" were the Corps most successful and popular plays, and continue to be performed twenty years later. The formal closure of the UAC is not documented in the collection.

From the guide to the Urban Arts Corps records, 1955-1983, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Urban Arts Corps (New York, N.Y.). Urban Arts Corps records, 1955-1983. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Urban Arts Corps records, 1955-1983 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Urban Arts Corps (New York, N.Y.) photograph collection [graphic], 194-]-[199- The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Subject
Theater
Theatrical companies--New York (State)--New York
Arts, Black--New York (State)--New York
African American actresses
Black arts movement
African Americans in the performing arts--New York (State)--New York
Theatrical companies
African American theatrical producers and directors
Theatrical producers and directors--United States
African American theater
African Americans in the performing arts
African Americans--Performances and portrayals--New York (State)--New York--1960-1989
Theatrical productions--New York (State)--New York--1960-1989
African American women entertainers
African Americans--Societies, etc
African American actors
African American theater--New York (State)--New York
Theatrical producers and directors
Theater--New York (State)--New York
Actresses
Theater audiences--New York (State)--New York--1960-1989
Theater rehearsals
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1955

Active 1983

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SNAC ID: 67016566