Payne Visits Arts for Kids program at East Orange school

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. toured the Arts for Kids Music Mentorship and Preparation Program at the Cicely Tyson School of the Performing Arts in East Orange on Wednesday morning, April 13, to see firsthand the results of a $50,000 American Rescue Plan grant. Payne met with program and school administrators, as well as students in the program, who performed for the group. 

“Kids in communities like East Orange deserve the same kind of arts and music education that their peers in more affluent areas get, and programs like Arts for Kids are essential for closing that gap and making sure that all of our students are exposed to creative arts,” Payne said. “The American Rescue Plan created opportunities to direct critical funding to governments and organizations like this that support our communities, and I’m proud to have been able to deliver this assistance to keep this program running.” 

Payne voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan, after working with congressional leaders to ensure that New Jersey communities would have access to funding by removing a provision in the bill that originally restricted grants to municipalities with more than 500,000 residents.

“The support we received from Congressman Payne through the American Rescue Plan helped us keep the lights on, keep our staff employed and continue serving our students during the darkest days of the pandemic,” Arts for Kids Executive Director Vincent Ector said. “This was a lifeline for our program and we could not be more thankful to Congressman Payne for providing us with the financial stability necessary to continue our program and provide the educational experiences that our students deserve.” 

Photos Courtesy of Phil Swibinski