Audiences Unlimited, Inc. (AUI) is celebrating 50 years of enriching the lives of people with limited access to the arts in Allen County and the surrounding region. Through a wide range of programming, AUI is opening the door to meaningful experiences with the performing arts for diverse audiences and inspiring others to value a rich quality of life for all people.
AUI’s roots date back to founder Lillian Embick, who cast a vision to bring joy and attention to people in nursing homes through the performing arts. With the support of her husband, Byron, she created AUI, a community-based non-profit arts organization that has reached thousands of audience members and continues to inspire both performers and audience members alike.
The year 2014 ushered in several changes to the organization, not the least of which was Embick’s retirement and Anna Ross’ promotion to the first full-time, paid executive director. Under Ross’ leadership, the organization expanded its mission and vision and created new opportunities to serve the community.
“We want to embrace people’s differences and address any boundaries that might keep people from experiencing the arts,” said Ross. “This broader vision has opened doors to new partnerships and programs and significantly expanded our role in the community.”
In 2017, for example, AUI forged a partnership with L.I.F.E. Adult Day Academy to serve adults in the Fort Wayne community with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through this partnership, AUI provides music, theatre, dance, and rhythm opportunities that encourage skill development and promote physical, emotional, and social well-being.
Today, AUI serves Allen, DeKalb, Noble, LaGrange, and Steuben counties with over 115 performances each month. Through collaborative relationships with long-term care facilities, adult day-care centers, and community partners, AUI reaches over 7,000 individuals with diverse needs and abilities each year.
“From live music performances for long-term care facility residents to skill-building music, theatre, and dance classes for adults with disabilities,” said Ross, “we are making a significant difference in the lives of people in Fort Wayne and the surrounding region.”
AUI plans to celebrate its 50-year anniversary through performances and events throughout the program year.