Local venues nominated for arts awards

BURLINGTON, NJ — The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts recently opened the polls for the 2018 JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards. Celebrating the extraordinary work of New Jersey’s vital, vibrant and diverse cultural community for 10 years, the contest invites arts lovers to lend their support for their favorite local art organizations by voting at www.JerseyArts.com/Vote. Last year, nearly 18,000 ballots were cast, and even more are expected during this milestone year.

“Fans of the N.J. arts scene are passionate and loyal, and for good reason,” Nick Paleologos, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, said in a press release. “This program has grown beyond our expectations, and that’s a direct result of the distinctive, thriving arts industry in this state offering high-quality experiences all year round.”

This year, 11 arts districts and 116 organizations — the greatest number of nominees since the creation of the awards in 2008 — will compete in 18 categories, including favorite music festival, art gallery, small theater, ballet company and more. Nominees were determined by those in the Jersey Arts Marketers network, which is made up of hundreds of N.J. arts organizations.

In West Orange, Luna Stage Company has been nominated as Best Small Theater and the South Mountain International Blues Festival has been nominated as the Best Music Festival. In Maplewood, Vanguard Theater Company’s Summerstock Sleepaway Camp has been nominated as the Best Performing Arts Camp. In South Orange, the South Orange Performing Arts Center was nominated as the Best Small Performing Arts Center; State Repertory Opera as the Best Opera Company; SOMA Film Festival as the Best Film Festival; and South Orange itself as having the Best Downtown Arts District.

“Our state is rich with cultural and artistic opportunities,” said Adam Perle, president and CEO of ArtPride New Jersey, which cosponsors the Discover Jersey Arts program with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “The People’s Choice Awards provides an opportunity to showcase the abundance of creativity across New Jersey, celebrating both winners and nominees with spirit and passion.”

For a full list of nominees and categories, visit www.JerseyArts.com/Vote. Public voting runs through Feb. 20 and winners will be announced in March. Voters can enter to win a $100 gift card to the nominee of their choice.