Founded in 1897, the United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, an affiliate of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), is a labor union and professional association made up of over 4,000 members including designers, artists, craftspeople, and department coordinators. Organized to protect craft standards, working conditions, wages, and benefits for the entertainment and decorative arts industries, the members of Local USA 829 work in film, theatre, opera, ballet, television, industrial shows, commercials, and exhibitions.
In addition to negotiating agreements with major industry organizations, the Local offers its members a variety of courses, online training, and a three-year scenic artist apprenticeship program that is financed through a trust fund. As of September 2018, the program is being held in Staten Island at a facility donated by Broadway Stages and located at their new campus on Arthur Kill Road. The facility features a modern kitchen/lecture room, a separate tool room, and a large studio space with a brand-new paint deck. Surrounded by production studios, shops, and filming locations, the apprentices feel right at home.