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The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund Awards $2.6 Million in Grants Statewide


originally published: 03/03/2021

The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund Awards $2.6 Million in Grants Statewide

(LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ) -- The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (NJACRF) has awarded $2.6 million in grants to more than 100 nonprofits across the state in its initial round of grantmaking. Grants will provide critical financial support for organizations and individuals in the cultural sector hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December, New Jersey’s nonprofit arts industry reported losses of more than $100 million because of pandemic-related closures and cancelations, and more than half of the state’s creative workforce has been laid off or furloughed.

NJACRF was established last year and is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Established with a gift from the Grunin Foundation, based in Toms River, NJACRF quickly gained support from a coalition of funders who came together to ensure the strength and survival of the nonprofit arts, cultural and historical sector statewide.

Most recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Amazon have made leadership gifts to NJACRF, and PNC Bank and TD Charitable Foundation became major supporters of the fund, which is working to help save the nonprofit industry that employs thousands of people, provides educational programming in schools and communities, and serves as an essential component of local and state economies. 

“NJARCF is doing extraordinary work ensuring the arts and culture sectors of New Jersey not only endure the pandemic, but, also, afterward, rebound in an equitable manner,” said Jillian Irvin, Amazon’s New Jersey Public Policy Manager. “The grants being announced today will ensure these vital community touchstones remain after COVID-19 is gone, and continue contributing to New Jersey’s rich cultural tapestry and local economy.”

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NJACRF has raised more than $3.7 million and fundraising continues to meet the growing financial need. The Fund is chaired by representatives of the Grunin and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundations, and members include Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, E. J. Grassmann Trust, NJ State Council on the Arts, and the NJ Historical Commission. Other major donors include the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Applications and program guidelines for the next round of grants are now available. To learn more or apply, visit www.NJArtsCulture.org. Grant decisions are made through a multi-step, equity-centered process to ensure funds support underserved communities in New Jersey.

“The support from the NJ Arts and Culture Recovery Fund - and its donors - has made so much of our work possible again,’’ said Alysia Souder, the Executive Director of The Institute of Music for Children and a NJACRF grantee.

Her organization is running 80 weekly group online classes and private lessons for more than 200 young people, and they are serving another 250 students through a Newark in-school residency program. The Institute was also able to keep 35 teaching artists and youth leaders employed with a living wage.

“NJACRF has helped make it possible for us to continue to engage our children with essential social-emotional arts learning,” Souder said. “Elizabeth - a largely Black and Latinx city, and its surrounding neighborhoods - were devastated by the pandemic, leaving so many of our families dealing with disproportionate levels of illness, hospitalizations, death and unemployment. Together with our philanthropic partners, we helped close the digital divide by providing devices, instruments and art supplies so that every student can participate with the tools they need to succeed.”

In the initial round of grants, funding was awarded to:

Atlantic County: 

Absecon Lighthouse, Atlantic City;  

* Atlantic City Arts Foundation, Atlantic City

* Atlantic City Ballet, Atlantic City

* Bay Atlantic Symphony, Atlantic City       

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Bergen County

* The Art School at Old Church, Demarest

* Arts Horizons, Englewood

* Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Inc., Fort Lee         

* Center for Modern Dance Education, Hackensack


Burlington County

* Whitesbog Preservation Trust, Browns Mills        

* ArtPride New Jersey, Burlington

* Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown

* Moorestown Theater Company, Moorestown    

* Alice Paul Institute, Mount Laurel


Camden County

* Mainstage Center for the Arts, Blackwood           

* Camden FireWorks, Camden      

* Camden Repertory Theater Community Development, Camden

* Mighty Writers, Camden              


Cape May County

* Cape May Stage, Cape May         

* Historic Cold Spring Village Foundation, Cape May           


Cumberland County

* Millville Army Airfield Museum, Millville

* Bayshore Center at Bivalve, Port Norris section of Commercial Township


Essex County

* Friends of Yogi, Little Falls            

* Jazz House Kids., Montclair         

* Montclair Film Festival, Montclair

* Music Beyond Measure, Montclair           

* Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts, Montclair       

* Studio Montclair Gallery, Montclair

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* Vanguard Theater Company, Montclair 

* Arts Ed Newark, Newark              

* Gallery Aferro, Newark

* Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Newark        

* Newark Arts, Newark    

* Newark Boys Chorus School, Newark     

* Newark School of the Arts, Newark         

* New Jersey Historical Society, Newark   

* Project for Empty Space, Newark

* Trilogy: An Opera Company, Newark      

* University of Orange, Orange

* Luna Stage, West Orange

* Arts for Kids, West Orange          

* Pushcart Players, Verona             


Hudson County        

* Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken 

* Art House Productions, Jersey City          

* Educational Arts Team,  Jersey City          

* Nimbus Dance, Jersey City          

* Jersey City Theater Center, Jersey City   

* Union City Music Project, Union City       


Hunterdon County

* Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton

* Roxey Ballet Company, Lambertville 


Mercer County

* Trenton Children's Chorus, Ewing             

* Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton        

* Historic Morven, Princeton         

* The Princeton Festival, Princeton

* Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, Princeton

* Artworks Trenton, Trenton         

* Capital Singers of Trenton, Trenton         

* Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts Society, Trenton

* New Jersey Capital Philharmonic, Trenton            

* Old Barracks Association, Trenton

* Passage Theatre Company, Trenton        

* Trenton Circus Squad, Trenton  

* Trenton Museum Society, Trenton          

* Trenton Music Makers, Trenton

* Westrick Music Academy, Princeton Junction section of West Windsor

* West Windsor Arts Center, West Windsor            


Middlesex County

* American Theater Group, East Brunswick

* coLAB Arts, New Brunswick        

* Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick

* Hub City Jazz Festival, New Brunswick

* Dance New Jersey, Sewaren section of Woodbridge


Monmouth County

* Asbury Park Music Foundation, Asbury Park        

* Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal     

* New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch

* Algonquin Arts Theatre, Manasquan      

* Rockit Live Foundation, Middletown

* Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council, Middletown

* Monmouth Arts, Red Bank          

* The Garden State Film Festival, Sea Girt 


Morris County

* New Jersey Ballet Company, Florham Park           

* Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, Madison          

* Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Morris Plains

* ARTS By The People, Morristown

* Morris Arts, Morristown

* New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Morristown             

* The Growing Stage Theatre for Young Audiences, Netcong


Ocean County

* Barnegat Bay Decoy & Baymen's Museum, Tuckerton


Passaic County

* Botto House American Labor Museum, Haledon

* Hamilton Partnership for Paterson, Paterson      

* Inner City Ensemble, Paterson


Salem County

* Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, Elmer 


Somerset County

* The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster                   

* Frontline Arts, Branchburg

* Arts Ed NJ, Warren         


Sussex County

* Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton


Union County           

* Institute of Music for Children, Elizabeth               

* Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum, Rahway            

* Elizabeth Youth Theater Ensemble, Roselle          

* Continuo Arts Foundation, Summit         

* Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit            

* Carolyn Dorfman Dance, Union 

* The Theater Project, Union


About the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund

NJACRF was created by a coalition of public and private funders to ensure the survival and strength of the state’s arts and cultural sector facing economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants through the NJACRF aim to catalyze an equitable statewide recovery and build cultural sector resilience. NJACRF is committed to an equity-centered process to ensure that the funds support the most hard hit populations of New Jersey. The fund was established with a lead gift from the Grunin Foundation and is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Chaired by representatives from the Grunin and Dodge Foundations, coalition leadership includes the Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, E. J. Grassmann Trust, NJ State Council on the Arts, and the NJ Historical Commission. Application availability, current grantees, and donation opportunities are available at www.NJArtsCulture.org.



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