TRENTON, NJ – At its 45th Annual Meeting today at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts voted to award grants totaling $15,811,107 in state and federal funding. The awards announced today will support nearly 800 arts organizations, programs, projects and artists in every county across the state.
“New Jersey has long been recognized for its strong and vibrant arts community, and today we reaffirm that commitment,” said Governor Christie. “This significant level of Arts Council funding will ensure that the state’s record of innovative arts programming in education, healthcare and other key areas continue to nurture creativity across disciplines while improving the state’s quality of life.”
The Council’s Fiscal Year 2012 awards were distributed through several grant programs including $13,983,608 in 196 matching grants to organizations and $1,800,802 in 28 co-sponsored initiatives that support state and regional partnerships which advance arts education, showcase New Jersey artists, increase access to the arts for people with disabilities, foster arts in community development and healthcare, and promote the arts statewide. Twenty one of the matching grants, totaling $1,894,094, are awarded to County Arts Agencies for local arts development, which helps to support an additional 550 local arts organizations and projects statewide. The Council also approved $26,697 in funding for 9 Folk Arts Apprenticeships which help sustain the traditional arts of New Jersey›s many different cultural communities, and recommended up to $400,000 for as many as 15 stabilization project grants to the Cultural Trust board, pending availability of grant funds from the Trust's interest earnings.
“In my dual role of Secretary of State, I see firsthand how critical New Jersey’s arts, history and cultural portfolio are to the economic and creative vitality of individual communities,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “We applaud the Arts Council and the state’s arts organizations for their work, and I’m pleased the Christie Administration’s $16 million commitment will continue to create a better New Jersey through the arts.”
In commenting on the results of the meeting, Arts Council Chair Sharon Burton Turner stated, “In these challenging economic times we are grateful that our State leaders have recognized the importance of investing in New Jersey’s cultural community. The public funds awarded through the Arts Council will reach communities and individuals statewide, increasing quality of life in many profound ways.” She went on to emphasize how the state's investment in the arts contributes to quality education, increased health and wellness, stimulates $1.2 billion in economic activity, supports 20,000 businesses, sustains more than 80,000 jobs and returns $41 million in state tax revenue.
In addition, 38 organizations and projects that received the highest evaluations from the peer panel reviewing the applications were recognized with Citations of Excellence. Forty-four groups were designated or confirmed as Major Arts, Presenting or Service Organizations in recognition of their history of excellence, the breadth of their impact, and their longstanding leadership.
In other business, the Arts Council adopted an agency administrative budget, a program and operations plan for the fiscal year, and a blueprint for advancing the goals of the Council’s Strategic Plan and the state Arts Plan. Reports highlighting accomplishments of the past year and plans for Fiscal Year 2012 were also provided from the Arts Education, Public Value and Planning Committees.
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a division of the NJ Department of State. It receives funding in direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish. For more information about the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, please visit www.artscouncil.nj.gov. Further information regarding the arts in New Jersey is found on an interactive website, www.jerseyarts.com, and available on a toll-free hotline 1-800-THE ARTS