WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today announced the awarding of a combined $1,485,400 in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to support and enhance arts education across New Jersey. President Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal would shutter the NEA by slashing 80% of its funding because the Administration “does not consider NEA activities to be core Federal responsibilities.”

“Investing in New Jersey’s local cultural and arts organizations provides enormous returns, not just in supporting creative expression, but in creating jobs and economic growth, promoting wellness, boosting student achievement, and bringing together our diverse communities,” said Sen. Menendez. “The Administration’s plan to eliminate the NEA would be devastating to these local organizations and to the immense joy and benefits they provide all of us.”

“As the Administration threatens to dramatically reduce funding for the arts, federal investments like this are more important than ever in helping New Jersey’s thriving art community flourish,” said Sen. Booker. “Supporting New Jersey’s art community helps preserve our diverse culture and rich history while showcasing the Garden State’s creative talent.”

These grants will be used to support organizations that employ artists and cultural workers and will provide programs for thousands of New Jersey residents. Categories include “Art Works”, which focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; “Our Town”, which supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods; “Research: Art Works”, which provides funding for research by outside parties; and state and regional partnerships.

The specific grant awards:


New Jersey State Council on the Arts

Total Grant Amount: $865,400

Partnerships (State & Regional)

This grant will provide funds to support Partnership Agreement activities associated with carrying out your NEA-approved State strategic plan.

Berkeley Heights (Union)

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (aka WIPA)

Total Grant Amount: $15,000

Art Works – Music

This grant will provide funds to support a community engagement project. The Paterson Music Project's Saturday Community Arts Program will enable audiences in Paterson, New Jersey, to engage with the performing arts as a community. Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired after-school program that began in 2013 at the Wharton Institute, will expand its reach and services to intergenerational communities. The Saturday immersive program will be open to students' siblings, parents, teachers, and friends. The program will allow participants to explore diverse musical genres, including Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, and Cuban music

Camden (Camden)

Rutgers University – Camden

Total Grant Amount: $10,000

Art Works – Literature

This grant will provide funds to support the Writers at Camden series. The series brings established writers to Camden to give readings and lead free public writing workshops and literary discussions. Proposed writers include Peter Ho Davies, Saeed Jones, Maggie Nelson, Okey Ndibe, Eileen Pollack, and Diane Seuss, among others. One presentation in the series is devoted to providing insights into the contemporary publishing landscape, and features a publisher, agent, and editor on the topic of creating and promoting books.

Englewood (Bergen)

ArtWorks The Naomi Cohain Foundation Inc.

Total Grant Amount: $15,000

Art Works – Visual Arts

This grant will provide funds to support an arts workshop for pediatric patients with limited mobility. Teaching artist Deborah Dawson will offer resources and guidance in drawing and painting through the use of laser technology and vocal cues to actively engage youth participants in the creation of new art. Children facing chronic and life-limiting illnesses will receive one-on-one weekly instruction with the teaching artist to empower the participants to learn and engage in new forms of creative expression.

Guttenberg (Hudson)

Town of Guttenberg

Total Grant Amount: $25,000

Our Town – Design

This grant will provide funds to support a town-wide art project titled "The Encyclopedia of Things: A Portrait of Guttenberg, New Jersey." The project integrates photography and storytelling in chronicling the lives of local residents through personal objects selected by each participant. Works created will be displayed at venues throughout Guttenberg, and many will ultimately be housed in a permanent collection to be featured at a new community center. Complementary activities include free artist talks, exhibits, an arts festival, and free art workshops for residents. "Encyclopedia of Things" will be carried out by the Town of Guttenberg in partnership with Guttenberg Arts. With the goal to engage as many participants as possible, the organizers anticipate creation of approximately 200 portraits.

Hamilton (Mercer)

Grounds For Sculpture Inc (aka Grounds For Sculpture (GFS))

Total Grant Amount: $30,000

Art Works – Museum

This grant will provide funds to support the exhibition, "Joyce J. Scott: Harriet Tubman and Other Truths," and related programming. The exhibition features approximately 54 off-loom beaded glass and textile sculptures of Joyce J. Scott. The exhibition will include the creation of new work in the form of three large glass "avatars" of Harriet Tubman along with private possessions of Tubman imagined by Scott as well as three quilts by Elizabeth Talford Scott, the artist's mother. Community engagement and education activities are a central component of the project involving a wide swath of Trenton and neighboring communities.

Layton (Sussex)

Peters Valley Craft Center, Inc. (aka Peters Valley School of Craft, Inc)

Total Grant Amount: $15,000

Art Works – Visual Arts

This grant will provide funds to support efforts to recruit a more diverse student body, faculty, and staff at craft schools. The project will support research, planning, and development of strategies aimed at increasing ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity at Arrowmont, Haystack, Penland, Peters Valley, and Pilchuck, an arts and crafts consortium known as Craftschools.us. Efforts will include presenting the craft program and scholarship opportunities to at least 20 institutions and awarding at least 8 fellowships to students of color. Consortium members, including artists, educators, and foundation representatives such as Sonya Clark, Wendy Maruyama, and Roberto Lugo, will meet regularly along with students of color who have attended workshops at the schools.

Millburn (Essex)

Paper Mill Playhouse

Total Grant Amount: $40,000

Art Works – Theater & Musical Theater

This grant will provide funds to support the Theater for Everyone Project. The project is a series of programs that serves the needs of children with autism and other social and cognitive disabilities. Project activities will include autism-friendly performances; a year-long creative drama class for children with disabilities; and the Academy 360 Partnership, in which the theater will assist in developing and implementing a sequential, theater-integrated curriculum for elementary school students. The playhouse also will present outreach performances and will integrate Theater for Everyone into its Adopt-a-School project, which is intended to serve underserved New Jersey schools. In addition, an Autism Advisory team will provide ongoing expert guidance for the theater.

Millville (Cumberland)

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Inc. (aka WheatonArts)

Total Grant Amount: $25,000

Art Works – Museum

This grant will provide funds to support "The Emanation Project," an artist residency and exhibition program. Artists with limited experience working in glass will be supported by a team of staff and glass artists and have access to use the resources of the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton to create installations. Each artist's work will culminate in an event or exhibition. Past participating artists have included Judy Pfaff, Mark Dion, Donald Lipsky, Virgil Marti, Jocelyn Prince, Rob Wynne, and Mark Zirple.

Montclair (Essex)

Jazz House Kids, Inc.

Total Grant Amount: $45,000

Art Works – Music

This grant will provide funds to support the Montclair Jazz Festival. Hosted by actor S. Epatha Merkerson and led by bassist Christian McBride, the one-day two-stage event will feature national and international jazz artists, as well as more than 150 young, aspiring jazz musicians enrolled at the Jazz House Kids Summer Work Shop. Participating faculty will include jazz professionals such as Steve Johns, Freddie Hendrix, Amy London, Ed Palermo, and Oscar Perez. Activities during the free, family-friendly festival may include a Family Jazz Discovery Zone with musical demonstrations, storytelling sessions in English and Spanish languages, and visual arts activities. The festival will take place at Nishuane Park in Montclair, New Jersey, and be livestreamed.

Montclair State University

Total Grant Amount: $40,000

Art Works – Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works

This grant will provide funds to support the creation and presentation of new works at Peak Performances. Peak Performances will present works by theater ensemble Compania de' Colombari, choreographer Camille Brown, and composer Julia Wolfe in collaboration with cellist Maya Beiser. Each production will be accompanied by engagement activities including discussions, lectures, post-show conversations, and pre-show previews.

New Brunswick (Middlesex)

Rutgers University (On behalf of Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions)

Total Grant Amount: $25,000

Art Works – Visual Arts

This grant will provide funds to support an artist residency for photographers to explore printmaking at the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions. Photographers invited to participate include T.R. Ericsson, Leslie Hewitt, Diane Neumaier, Demetrius Oliver, Lisa Oppenheim, Arthur Ou, Dawit L. Petros, Eileen Quinlan, Paul Anthony Smith, Kunie Sugiura, and Erika Vogt to create new work in collaboration with master printmakers. The residency will highlight the continuity between photography and printmaking in order to understand how artists employ this multimedia approach in contemporary practice. Artist-lectures, programs for K-12 students as well as the general public, and cross-media seminars will complement the residency.

Newark (Essex)

Newark Arts Council (aka Newark Arts)

Total Grant Amount: $80,000

Art Works – Arts Education

This grant will provide funds to support Cultivating a Creative Newark Through Collective Impact. The Newark Arts in Education Roundtable (NAER) will build upon the ongoing work of stakeholders who have together established a common framework for measuring the impact of arts education on students' social-emotional and academic development. NAER will refine and expand the implementation of the common measurement tool, use data to develop powerful arts education impact stories, and coordinate efforts with a new Data Newark collaborative which uses data to improve educational outcomes for children. Professional development workshops will support more effective collaboration between school leaders and administrators, arts providers, teachers, and teaching artists and site visits and post discussion visits will help arts organizations and partners to better understand quality and effective practices for arts education. Key partners include the Newark Arts Council, Newark Public Schools, Victoria Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Newark Charter School Fund, and Newark Alliance, Newark’s most influential business leaders.

Newark Public Radio, Inc. (aka WBGO Jazz88.3)

Total Grant Amount: $50,000

Art Works – Media Arts

This grant will provide funds to support the production of a weekly jazz performance series. Hosted by Grammy Award winner Christian McBride on WBJO Jazz 88.3, the series of radio broadcasts and webcasts titled "Jazz Night in America" features live performances, historic recordings, and interviews with jazz musicians. As host, McBride is positioned as both an insider and outsider, helping listeners understand the intricacies of jazz while at the same time learning about new music along with the audience. Available on more than 200 public radio stations and online, the series has previously featured a tribute to Randy Weston, profiled the Texas jazz band Snarky Puppy, and explored the legacy of the Benny Goodman quartet.

Princeton (Mercer)

Young Audiences of New Jersey Inc. (aka Young Audiences N.J. & Eastern Pa.)

Total Grant Amount: $20,000

Art Works – Arts Education

This grant will provide funds to support the Creativity Consultant Project. This professional development program will train and empower classroom teachers to integrate dance, media, theater, literary, and visual arts across the curriculum. Participating schools will identify classroom teachers that then become a creativity team who are mentored by master teaching artists. Throughout the school year, they will plan lessons, model innovative techniques of arts integration, co-teach lessons, and assess their work. By giving educators the tools, knowledge, and confidence to regularly embed the arts into their practice, teachers are able to develop methods of reaching all learners, enhancing student engagement, and promoting creativity in every aspect of student learning.

Scotch Plains (Union)

Music For All Seasons, Inc. (aka Music For All Seasons)

Total Grant Amount: $15,000

Art Works – Music

This grant will provide funds to support music programs for children and families living in shelters. Designed primarily for children living in shelters who are victims of domestic violence, monthly programs by instrumentalists are planned in various venues in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The interactive programs, reflecting a broad range of musical styles, will be presented in relaxed, family friendly gatherings, with each activity using music to help the residents continue the healing process.

Tenafly (Bergen)

Jewish Community Center on the Palisades (aka Thurnauer School of Music)

Total Grant Amount: $20,000

Art Works – Arts Education

This grant will provide funds to support Music Discovery Partnership (MDP). The Thurnauer School of Music will provide music instruction to public school students in Englewood, New Jersey. Program components will include MDP I, in which students participate in year-long, after-school music instruction through musicianship classes, small group instrumental music instruction, and a Young People's Chorus. MDP II will enable selected MDP I students to continue their musical studies at the Thurnauer School of Music, participating in a conservatory-style music education through private lessons and performance opportunities. The program will also feature MDP EXPLORE, in which professional musicians will perform in school assemblies, giving students the opportunity to see and hear live orchestral music.

Union Twp. (Union)

National Consortium for Creative Placemaking

Total Grant Amount: $50,000

Our Town – Design

This grant will provide funds to support Growing the Creative Placemaking Field in Appalachia, the Southeastern U.S., and the Mountain States, a Knowledge Building project. The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking will partner with regional arts organization South Arts and will coordinate with state arts agencies to convene regional summits and knowledge exchanges for creative placemaking and community development practitioners. The project also will include creation of a creative placemaking leadership guide and leadership coaching for professionals working on statewide and sub-regional efforts. Additional training and resources will be disseminated through freely available online webinars.

Warren (Somerset)

New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (aka New Jersey Arts Education Partnership)

Total Grant Amount: $100,000

Art Works – Arts Education

This grant will provide funds to support ArtsEdNow: Collective Impact for Arts Education in New Jersey. ArtsEdNow will expand statewide support for arts education by highlighting the benefits of arts education for students and bringing information and awareness to the public on the status of arts education in individual schools through the Model Schools Recognition Program and the NJ Arts Education Census Report. Arts education data will be shared at state, county, and regional stakeholder convenings and include professional development sessions to deepen understanding of how to use arts education data to pursuade teachers, superintendents, principals, parents, school board members, and cultural organizations to add or increase arts education to the school curriculum. Special coordination will be directed to ongoing arts education collective impact initiatives in Newark, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership is a coalition of statewide stakeholders including

the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, New Jersey Department of Education, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.