TRENTON, N.J. – Demonstrating the Christie Administration's commitment to advancing the arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts today awarded more than $15.7 million in grant funding for over 700 arts organizations, projects and artists throughout the state. The awards were announced at the Arts Council's 49th Annual Meeting held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Trenton.
“The arts industry is critical to New Jersey's economic growth and creative vitality,” said Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, who also serves as Secretary of State. “The grants awarded through the State Arts Council support cultural assets in every region that help shape New Jersey communities as great places to live, visit, do business and raise a family.”
Arts Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson stated, “Today's actions reflect the Council's commitment to excellence, and to ensuring that the public funds entrusted to us are invested wisely in the people and organizations that make this state great.”
The Council receives funding from the State of New Jersey through the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee legislation passed in 2003, which established a dedicated revenue source to support arts, history and tourism. Additionally the Arts Council receives annual competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Funding decisions are made through a transparent, merit-based and rigorous grants process that assures access and equity. Independent peer panels evaluate grant applications to eliminate the possibility for conflict of interest.
“New Jersey artists and arts organizations are forever breaking molds, changing lives, and leading the way nationally.” said Council Executive Director Nick Paleologos.
According to Arts Council records, state arts funding employs an estimated 17,000 workers, supports 37,000 cultural events, and attracts 5 million visitors who spend another $125 million. The bottom line: every nickel of state spending on the arts yields a dollar of local economic impact in towns and cities across the state.
In other business, the Council bids farewell to board member Germaine Trabert (Westfield) who retired from the Council after many years of dedicated service. Ms. Trabert served in various leadership positions throughout her tenure including her most recent roles as 1st Vice Chair and Chair of the Grants Committee.
Additionally, 42 organizations and projects that received the highest evaluations from the panel reviewing the applications were recognized with Citations of Excellence. Forty groups were designated as Major Arts, Presenting or Service organizations in recognition of their history of excellence, the breadth of their impact, and their longstanding leadership.
About The New Jersey State Council on the Arts
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the Council, please visit artscouncil.nj.gov.