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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: May 22, 2006


Arts Education Stars to Shine at 26th Annual Governor's Awards

Outstanding student artists, arts educators and leaders in the arts will gather at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 for the 26th Annual Governor's Arts Awards in Education. The event is a celebration designed to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, and to recognize the creativity, talent and leadership exemplified by the award winners.

"The arts are a fundamental part of any comprehensive education," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "I am proud to continue our annual tradition of honoring those who ensure that this critical component of a quality education is never underestimated."

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. in TCNJ's Kendall Hall with a slide show of award-winning visual art. The awards ceremony will follow remarks by acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy, Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, State Board of Education President Arnold Hyndman, and Dr. James Lentini, dean of the School of Art, Media and Music at The College of New Jersey.

"Arts education is a necessity for all learners and a core subject in New Jersey schools," said acting Commissioner Davy. "We are committed to ensuring that all of our students gain knowledge and skills in the arts throughout their education."

Acting Commissioner Davy noted that the Department of Education and the Department of State are surveying schools to assess the range and quality of arts programs that currently exist in New Jersey.

This year's awards will be presented to 16 educators and 90 students. The students were selected by national and statewide organizations for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and the visual arts. The educators will receive awards from several cooperating national and state arts organizations for their exceptional commitment and contributions to arts education in New Jersey.

Award winners will receive medallions from David Miller, executive director of the State Council of the Arts and State Board of Education President Hyndman. The ceremony will also include student performances in music, theatre and dance.

Shirley Sassor, director of Friends of Teen Arts, said that "county and state teen arts programs have been providing innovative opportunities in the visual and performing arts for teenagers since 1969. We are convinced, beyond any doubt, that the arts do make a positive difference in the lives of teenagers. We are proud to co-sponsor the Governor's Awards in Arts Education and congratulate all the students and arts educators whose artistic achievements and commitment to excellence inspire us all!"

Support for this event was provided by:

Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics
Art Educators of New Jersey
Art Administrators of New Jersey
Dance New Jersey
Friends of Teen Arts, Inc.
Institute of Arts and Humanities Education
New Jersey Council of Teachers of English
New Jersey Forensic League
New Jersey Governor's School of the Arts
New Jersey Music Educators Association
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
New Jersey State Council of the Arts
New Jersey Department of Education
Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey
Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey
VSA arts of New Jersey

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS: News media may cover this event at The College of New Jersey, and are also encouraged to cover the award-winning students and teachers in their home schools. Additional background is available for many of this year's winners from the Department of Education. Reporters can check on the availability by calling the Office of Public Information at 609-292-1126.