State Council On The Arts Approves Over $1.5 Million For Middlesex & Union Counties

TRENTON – The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has awarded more than $1,053,000 in grants to Middlesex County artists, arts organizations and projects, and $529,876 to Union County artists, arts organizations and projects.

The awards were announced at the Arts Council’s 47th Annual Meeting held at the Lafayette Yard Hotel & Conference Center in Trenton at which they announced support for nearly 800 arts organizations, projects and individuals statewide.

“The funds awarded today will serve as a catalyst for the economic growth and creative vitality of communities statewide,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who also serves as Secretary of State. “The cultural assets in every region help shape New Jersey as a unique tourist destination and a desirable place to live, work, do business and raise a family. The arts industry is critical to New Jersey’s future and Governor Christie and I remain committed to maintaining New Jersey’s place as a national leader in support for the arts.”

In commenting on the results of the meeting, Arts Council chair Elizabeth Mattson stated, “The Council’s grants process is competitive and transparent, and designed to make the most responsible investment of valuable resources. These funds will have profound positive impact on individuals and communities in every county, improving quality of life in the essential ways only the arts can.”

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). The $15.6 million in grants awarded today include approximately $400,000 from the NEA. Funding decisions are made through a 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.

“We are grateful that our state leaders recognize the importance of strategically investing in the arts,” said Mattson. “The arts are a proven tool for success in addressing education, healthcare, economic and community development, and more.”

According to Arts Council records, state arts funding employs an estimated 17,000 workers, supports 37,000 cultural events, and attracts five million visitors who spend another $125 million.

In Middlesex County, grants were awarded to:

Aakash Patel Piscataway $3,000 Folk Arts Apprenticeship
American Repertory Ballet Company New Brunswick $20,000 Arts Education Special Initiative
American Repertory Ballet Company New Brunswick $175,551 General Operating Support
Brodsky Center for Print and Paper at Rutgers Univ. New Brunswick $13,139 General Program Support
Crossroads Theatre Company New Brunswick $26,125 General Operating Support
4George Street Playhouse New Brunswick $160,687 General Operating Support
Lewei Shang East Brunswick Twp. $3,000 Folk Arts Apprenticeship
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission New Brunswick $17,353 General Program Support
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission New Brunswick $163,864 Local Arts Program
Nelson Baez South Plainfield $3,000 Folk Arts Apprenticeship
Rahul Prabhudesai Edison $3,000 Folk Arts Apprenticeship
Rutgers Univ./Center for Latino Arts and Culture New Brunswick $5,000 Arts Project Support
Rutgers Univ./Institute for Women and Art New Brunswick $15,263 General Program Support
Rutgers Univ./Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum New Brunswick $137,580 General Program Support
State Theatre Reg. Arts Ctr. at New Brunswick New Brunswick $294,844 General Operating Support
VSA New Jersey New Brunswick $12,196 General Operating Support

In Union County, grants were awarded to:

Arts Guild New Jersey Rahway $7,120 General Operating Support
Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company Union $34,513 General Operating Support
Dance/New Jersey Fanwood $9,341 General Operating Support
Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre Summit $5,000 General Operating Support
Institute of Music for Children Elizabeth $22,000 General Operating Support
6Judith G. Wharton Music Center Berkeley Heights $35,000 General Operating Support
Kean University/Premiere Stages Union $17,228 General Program Support
Music For All Seasons Scotch Plains $27,775 General Operating Support
New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra Berkeley Heights $5,123 General Operating Support
New Jersey Youth Theatre Westfield $36,308 General Operating Support
The Theater Project of New Jersey Union $7,000 General Operating Support
Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs Elizabeth $137,917 Local Arts Program
Union County Performing Arts Center Rahway $29,209 General Operating Support
Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Summit $101,342 General Operating Support
Westfield Symphony Orchestra Westfield $55,000 General Operating Support

In other business, thirty-four organizations and projects that received the highest evaluations from the panel reviewing the applications were recognized with Citations of Excellence. Forty-two 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.

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