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About UPCA

Vision Statement

A world where people connect with their innate creativity and are inspired to realize their full potential as individuals and as communities.

Mission Statement
UPCA uplifts, educates, and unites our Northern Manhattan community and beyond through cultural arts at the majestic United Palace, Manhattan's fourth largest theatre. Our mission is to provide:
  • cultural events from local, national, and international artists
  • arts education and mentoring for young people
  • space as a community resource


 UPCA's History & Highlights

(Click here for a history of the United Palace, formerly known as the Loew's 175th Street Theatre.)

Upon Rev. Ike's passing in 2009 his son Xavier, a life-long musician, assumed control of the Palace. In 2012 Xavier fulfilled his dream of creating an arts and cultural center by incorporating the United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) as an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit. With 3,400 seats it is Manhattan's 4th largest theatre.

Community Art Programs

UPCA launched its Community Art Programs by recruiting two El Sistema-inspired youth orchestras, the Harmony Program and WHIN Music Project. Every year we host a master class with the New York Philharmonic for the The Harmony Program. Students in WHIN have been challenged to stretch the bounds of classical music by performing "Ode to Joy" with students in our West African drumming program and performing live to a video created by a local filmmaker. Both orchestras participate annually in "The Concert!" which features over 100 music students from six New York metro-are El Sistema-inspired music programs performing together in a mass orchestra. Another hallmark of our community art programs are the annual "Young People Perform!" nights that showcase students across art disciplines. Most of UPCA children's art classes are FREE. Click here to learn more about UPCA's Community Art Programs and upcoming classes.

Performing Arts Events

UPCA presents and produces Performing Arts Events for a diverse community that is hungry to attend events without having to take the A-train downtown. In 2013 UPCA presented the 5-year anniversary concert of the Tony Award-winning musical "In the Heights," starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. Later that year we hosted a book launch event with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz. For the past two Halloweens guitar icon Gary Lucas has performed his original scores to classic monster movies, including "Dracula" and "Frankenstein." Besides hosting those world-class artists, UPCA also provides opportunities for local artists and art organizations to perform at the magnificent Palace. These have included pocket operas, comedy nights, concerts, and dance performances. In 2014 UPCA also produced the new holiday show "The Hip Hop Nutcracker," which has become an annual event. Click here to learn more about UPCA's Performing Arts Events.

Movies at the Palace

In February 2013 UPCA hosted the premiere of "Trouble in the Heights," an independent film shot in Washington Heights with an all-Latino cast. It was the first movie shown publicly at the Palace since "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 1969. Over the next two years UPCA led crowdsourcing campaigns that raised nearly $75,000 to purchase new projectors and a new screen. With the success of those campaigns UPCA has screened world premieres, such as "200 Cartas," independent movies, such as the documentary "Sosua: Make a Better World," and all-time favorites. Whenever possible screenings include pre- or post-show entertainment to honor the theatre's past as a vaudeville house. UPCA's ongoing "Classic NYC Movies" series has included Rita Moreno introducing "West Side Story," John Landis introducing "King Kong," and a mini concert by Broadway stars of songs from "Guys and Dolls." Our regular movie night hosts include Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and New York Post Chief Film Critic Lou Lumenick. Click here to learn more about Movies at the Palace.

The Impact We Make

In 2015, our second full year of programming, UPCA:
Presented or produced 28 events that attracted a total of 14,101 guests, including:
12 movies
9 concerts as part of "The Crackalackin' Season of Classical Music."
5 events featuring our student performing artists.
2 performances of "The Hip Hop Nutcracker."
Provided 2,100 hours of arts instruction to over 700 children from toddlers to teens through community art programs provided by us and our partner organizations.
Additionally we hosted 2,500 students for special performances during school hours.

Supporters and Partners

Since incorporating in 2012, UPCA has benefitted from the support of countless individuals, sponsors, and donors who have fallen in love with our mission and programs. Thank you to all our supporters and partners, including:

City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
City Council Member Mark Levine
Columbia University Medical Center 
The Hyde and Watson Foundation
Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
Evslin Family Foundation
UPCA is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Click here to learn how you can support UPCA.

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