Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development (UAACD) is a non-profit organization located in Saint Louis, Missouri that was founded by M.K. Stallings in 2001. In January 2002 UAACD was recognized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
UAACD provides an outlet for urban artists in the Saint Louis region of the Saint Louis metropolitan area. UAACD is also an organization that reaches out to the youth (11yrs-17yrs) and provides them with an opportunity to process information critically. Keya Murdock, vice president of the board of directors mentions, “This organization is helpful to the community because what we offer to these young people is outside of their regular classroom learning. It provides an opportunity to the young people to be a different type of thinker and writer.” Certain after-school writing workshops such as Verb Quake and Corner Pocket are offered through UAACD to enhance the writing and creative skills of young students. Corner Pocket is a writing workshop that allows students to use their creative thinking skills and write short fiction stories. Verb Quake is a youth poetry workshop that allows students to write poetry and it also prepares them for performances and competitions with other schools. Although this non-profit supports any artistic endeavor, the founder believes that UAACD is best known for poetry because of the much success of the adult program called Urb Poetry.
UAACD is succeeding on so many levels and the momentum is high. According to Donivan Foster, Treasurer of UAACD, “There is great momentum right now. We are in a great position to create change and opportunities for the members and students.” The founder of UAACD agrees that this organization is on the right path. In order to keep the momentum going, he has mentioned the importance of “Respecting the time and talent of those artists and teachers” who are a helping hand in this corporation.
The future for UAACD is looking bright. In five years, Stallings hopes to have a staff of three to five individuals who are able to build a name for UAACD. Aleshia Patterson, the vice president of the junior board for 3 months states, “Since UAACD has been around since 1999 I think it has established a solid foundation. With that solid foundation comes loyalty and respect. As long as UAACD continues to grow I think this organization is unstoppable.” This non-profit organization is a positive outlet for the urban youth who are not afforded the same educational opportunities as others in more fluent areas. Alex Detrick, the president of UAACD for 2 years, believes that there is much negativity surfaced around the urban youth. She mentions, “The community tends to interact with youth from a negative stance with commentary on violence, lack of respect, style of dress, lack of respect for elders. With that in mind, there is always a public need for organizations that meet students where they are and celebrate their talents.” UAACD has served as a positive platform for the artistic urban youth and will continue to do so in the years ahead.