Trenton, NJ - The New Jersey State Council on the Arts awarded more than $30 million in grants to support approximately 900 arts organizations, projects, and artists throughout the state. The grants were approved earlier today at the Arts Council's 57th Annual Meeting in Trenton, which featured a special musical performance by Allison Strong, a 2023 State Arts Council Artist Fellow.
Gratitude for Governor Murphy and the State Legislature was a theme throughout the meeting, as the State Arts Council enters its third year with a historic State appropriation of $31.9 million, which supports critical operating grants for nonprofits, and key initiatives in economic and community development, arts education and lifelong learning, artist services, and equity and access.
“As a longstanding supporter of the arts, I have been proud to work closely with the State Arts Council,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “The awards announced today build on the Council’s commitment to supporting artists, arts workers, and nonprofits in all 21 counties through responsive grants and services that help people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities engage in meaningful arts experiences.”
The arts industry, like so many others, is made up of hundreds of businesses that have spent recent years focused on reinvention, innovation, and resilience in order to survive and meet their missions. The majority of Council grants are designed to help these organizations pay for basic operations - the toughest type of support for a nonprofit to secure. Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson remarked, “We know that while the arts industry continues to deliver – offering exciting destinations, events, shows, classes, and more - in many cases, audience behavior continues to change, staffing levels are down, the cost of doing business has significantly increased, and revenue is less predictable than ever.”
Included in today’s announcement are the recipients of the Council’s inaugural New Jersey Heritage Fellowship grant. These fellowships recognize artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to New Jersey’s traditional arts heritage. Speaking to the importance of this new program, Council Program Officer Kim Nguyen noted, “While the Council has prioritized supporting folk and traditional arts for decades, we are proud to further elevate the artists who - through years of education and experience - have mastered culturally- or community-specific artforms that are such important pieces of New Jersey’s diverse communities, and whose art and culture make our state so amazingly vibrant.”
In addition to the grants announcement, the Council also adopted a new five-year strategic plan, which will be shared in the next few weeks.