TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey State Council on the Arts recently awarded more than $35.6 million in grants to support more than 700 arts organizations, projects and artists throughout the state. The grants were approved at the Arts Council’s 55th annual meeting, held virtually. The awards are part of the largest state appropriation the council has ever received in its 55-year history: $31.9 million as part of the state budget approved by Gov. Phil Murphy last month. These grant awards also included $7.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds, which were signed into law by Murphy earlier this year as part of a multibill package aimed at economic recovery.
“The innovation New Jersey’s arts community has shown over these last 16 months is absolutely awe-inspiring,” Secretary of State Tahesha Way said at the meeting. “The arts have been a crucial source of healing and connection throughout the pandemic, and I am proud to work closely with the state arts council as they lead the field with responsive grants and services so people can continue to enjoy and engage with New Jersey arts.”
In Essex County, the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs received $391,365 for its local arts program. Additional grants include:
- From Cedar Grove, ArtsPower received $69,224 for opera and musical theater; and John Loiacono received $4,000 for a folk arts apprenticeship in Southern Italian pipe music.
- From Livingston, New Jersey Ballet Company received $114,689 for dance.
- From Millburn, Paper Mill Playhouse received $1,052,496 for opera and musical theater; and The Discovery Orchestra received $50,000 for music.
- From Montclair, Dance New Jersey received $35,000 for dance; Freespace Dance received $35,000 for dance; Jazz House Kids received $58,530 for music; Montclair Art Museum received $397,427 for visual arts; Montclair Film received $58,000 for media arts; Montclair State University’s Arts & Cultural Program received $79,464 for performing arts presenters; Sharron Miller’ Academy for the Performing Arts received $55,000 for arts education; and Sabina Wasonga-Gitau received $4,000 for a folk arts apprenticeship in East African storytelling.
- From Newark, Barat Foundation received $36,500 for multidisciplinary projects; GlassRoots Inc. received two grants for $14,007 and $53,899 for arts education and visual arts, respectively; New Jersey Performing Arts Center received $1,330,000 for performing arts presenters; New Jersey Symphony Orchestra received $1,330,000 for music; NJ Transit’s TRANSITional Art Program received $30,000 for multidisciplinary projects; Newark Arts Council received two grants for $40,000 and $55,538 for arts education and multidisciplinary projects, respectively; Newark Public Radio received $300,416 for music; Newark School of the Arts received $195,727 for multidisciplinary projects; Newark Symphony Hall received $110,000 for the co-sponsored project NJ Poetry Out Loud; the Nonprofit Finance Fund received $250,000 for the co-sponsored critical financial services project; the Newark Museum Association received $1,330,000 for visual arts; and Trilogy: An Opera Company received $38,150 for opera and musical theater.
- From South Orange, South Orange Performing Arts Center received $68,538 for performing arts presenters.
- From Verona, Pushcart Players received $53,750 for arts education.
- From West Orange, Arts for Kids Inc. received $35,000 for arts education; JCC MetroWest received $50,960 for multidisciplinary projects; and Luna Stage received $42,140 for theater.
“We are grateful to Gov. Murphy and the legislature for this monumental increase in funding and for recognizing the need for robust public support of the arts right now,” council Chairperson Elizabeth Mattson said. “This funding is not only vital to ensuring the arts can continue to move forward and innovate, but will support important work to foster a more equitable and inclusive arts community. We know there is still much work to be done, and we look forward to working alongside our partners and colleagues in the field as we embark on a new chapter together.”
While $35.6 million of the Council’s budget was voted on at the meeting, a remaining $4.1 million will be granted out later this year as part of a new capital needs-based program.
In line with the council’s priority to help achieve fieldwide stability and recovery, multiyear commitments and statewide service initiatives for the field have been increased. In line with the council’s priority to broaden access and impact, funding for the council’s Local Arts Program, which serves all 21 counties, has been tripled. To lessen the administrative burden for grantees, requirements have been temporarily amended, as feasible.