This public, non-member, charitable 501 (C) 3 organization exists to develop artistic projects with two purposes in mind: to uplift and encourage positive perspectives of ethnic groups, women, and persons with disabilities, and to heighten consciousness around ideas and social issues affecting the community. The functions of this organization include but are not limited to: advancing education through art-related events; hands-on training for inner city youth in the artistic and production aspects of creating and/or performing; instructing the public on subjects beneficial to the community, particularly issues concerning race relations, HIV/AIDS and world ecology.
URU, The Right To Be, Inc. ("URU") believes that art and creativity are fundamental to the human spirit and to the functioning of a civil society. We believe that art can define and transform civilizations and individuals. Artistic creativity needs no authorization because it exists within each of us waiting to be called. We believe that the arts are a powerful source of self-expression and empowerment. URU's purpose is to use the arts to foster communication and understanding among diverse racial, social and economic groups about the issues that affect these groups and our community.
URU promotes the free exchange of ideas and dialog on important issues within our community. Our work reflects our strong belief in inclusion, education, quality, enlightenment, enjoyment, civic responsibility, and personal growth through the arts. We involve young people whenever we can in order to expose them to the artistic disciplines, a practice that is essential to the sustenance of art. URU has its roots in education – the education of a multi-racial and multi-cultural audience about the value of multi-cultural and multi-racial art. "Education through the arts" is our mission, because the arts are an unparalleled educational resource; there are two major reasons why this is.
Firstly, the arts have a capacity to transform – to take audiences to places they never expected to go, and from which they might never return. Through our internship program, students quickly discover that their capabilities are wide-ranging and can encompass projects of greater complexity than they would have otherwise attempted. For most, the program proves to be a pivotal experience. Secondly, the arts have the ability to cast a community in a new light. We are continually aware of challenges in our urban environment that far too often involve racial and cultural misunderstanding. In facing those challenges, we all feel a need for enlightenment and refreshment. The arts and cultures of this city and this region are our greatest enlightenment and our greatest refreshment.
We produce projects that do more than entertain. Our work informs and challenges our audience to grow beyond their current perceptions. Since our inception, we have touched and inspired audiences in excess of 50,000 across the United States and have enriched the lives of over 15,000 children. 32 high school students have completed our internship programs; we count among them several who have since earned degrees in art or other disciplines. Other alumni of our internship programs are currently pursuing degrees in colleges throughout the U.S.