NJ awards over $35 million in arts grants, as arts budget doubles
TRENTON – New Jersey artists, projects and organizations were awarded more than $35 million in grants Tuesday by the State Council on the Arts, a combination of an expanded allocation from the state and federal pandemic recovery funds.
“These aren’t just investments in artists and arts organizations,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way, whose department includes the arts council. “These are investments in our communities and our quality of life.”
The arts council received $31.9 million through the state budget and $7.5 million from coronavirus recovery funds provided through Washington. The council will award the final $4.1 million later in the year as part of a new capital needs-based program.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Murphy administration and the Legislature for their belief in the importance of the arts as an industry of priority in New Jersey’s economy and overall quality of life,” said Elizabeth Mattson, the council’s chairwoman.
“This year’s funding is 61% increase over last year and a 99% increase over the level-funded $16 million budgets from fiscal year ’10 through fiscal year ’20,” Mattson said.
The $28.1 million in state grants awarded ranged in size from $4,000 to more than $1 million. The biggest grants were $1.33 million each for the New Jersey Performing Arts, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Newark Museum in Newark and $1.05 million for the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The state also provided $1 million to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for its artists fellowship program.
Sixty-two organizations received coronavirus relief fund awards, including $504,000 awards to Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in Elmer, Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the State Theatre Regional Arts Center in New Brunswick and the Newark Museum.
“The ideas, proposals and actions we will put forward today will accelerate our progress in equipping the sector with the resources and the services to operationalize recovery and what comes next,” said Sharon Burton Turner, who heads the council’s grants committee.
A study led by ArtPride NJ concluded that New Jersey nonprofit arts organizations lost more than $100 million due to pandemic-related closures, cancellations and lost contributions and earned revenue.