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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

State Arts Council Announces Grants To New Jersey Organizations Through New Creative Aging Grant Program And Welcomes New Council Member

TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey State Council on the Arts held a public meeting today, during which 22 New Jersey organizations received grants through the Council’s new Creative Aging Initiative grant program. Senior centers, libraries, and arts organizations will provide customized arts experiences for people aged 55 and older, helping to enhance overall wellness, build community, and diminish issues of isolation.

With a focus on lifelong learning in the arts, the Creative Aging Initiative grants will provide $10,000 to a variety of New Jersey nonprofits engaging in creative aging work. Each of this year’s grant recipients will provide two (2) eight-day residencies for New Jersey seniors – at no cost to the participants. This new program was built upon the success of a Creative Aging pilot project the Council concluded earlier this year.

Speaking on the importance of this new grant program, the Council’s Program Officer for Arts Education & Lifelong Learning, Samantha Clarke, said: “Arts education and lifelong learning have been longstanding priorities at the State Arts Council. We look forward to providing new opportunities to reach older adults through the Creative Aging Initiative grant, and we’re especially excited to be working with both arts organizations and community-based organizations in this important work.”

See the complete list of the FY23 Creative Aging Initiative Grant recipients.

In addition to announcing the Creative Aging Initiative grant recipients, the meeting also included the swearing-in of the newest member of the Council board, Dr. Michael Penna.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Penna to the State Arts Council,” said Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson. “This is an exciting and pivotal moment for the Council, and we are confident that Dr. Penna’s background, coupled with his extensive advocacy work, will be vital assets as the Council works to better serve New Jersey’s vivid, talented, and diverse arts community.”

“It’s truly an honor to be appointed to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts,” said Dr. Michael Penna. “I look forward to working with the esteemed members of the Council in continuing to support, encourage, and foster the arts here in New Jersey. As both a performer and an educator, I understand the vital role of the arts throughout our communities as well as the importance of arts access for all New Jerseyans.”

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. 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 believes the arts are central to every element we value most in a modern society including: human understanding; cultural and civic pride; strong communities; excellent schools; lifelong learning; creative expression; and economic opportunity. To learn more about the Council, please visit


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