The Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) provides culturally relevant and transformative arts programming to promote positive social dialogue and to give cultural art forms a legitimate academic forum. By harnessing the broad cultural influence of spoken word, hip hop and emerging as well as traditional art forms, OMAI initiatives create learning environments that improve retention and graduation success and prepares future leaders to reinvest in their communities. By continually refreshing this paradigm that integrates traditional academics and cutting edge arts activism, OMAI empowers transnational leaders with new tools for inclusive community building Founded in 2005, OMAI is a unit of the Office of the Vice Provost/Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The inaugural First Wave cohort of fifteen students began their UW-Madison career in the Fall of 2007 and there are over one hundred spoken word and hip hop artists currently on full-tuition scholarship at UW-Madison, or alumni of First Wave Program. We are currently looking for the next group of talented and motivated students to join the First Wave Learning Community’s 13th Cohort in 2020!