(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced on July 13, 2021 that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has made a $3 million gift to NJPAC to support new arts and wellness programming both at the Arts Center and throughout Newark. The support comes through the company’s charitable arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
This contribution — made to the Arts Center’s current, $175 million Capital Campaign — will fund the expansion of NJPAC-developed community-based programs that leverage the power of the arts to encourage mental and physical wellbeing.
The integration of the arts into healthcare procedures and interventions can positively impact individual and community health outcomes. A recent study from Americans for the Arts about the engagement of communities of color in the arts indicates that BIPOC communities are more likely to seek news and information from trusted arts and culture providers in their community than other populations.
These programs will take place at NJPAC, at locations across Greater Newark, and at the planned Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Center, a new 60,000-square-foot facility that provides a runway to launch new arts-infused programs and services that address community needs.
Offerings ranging from dance workshops that include presentations by nutritionists, to art therapy programs, programs for mothers and babies, creative aging programs for seniors, and mental health counseling integrated into arts training programs for teens and their families — many of which have been workshopped by the Arts Center in recent seasons — will be part of this new initiative. The Arts Center anticipates focusing new programs on three aspects of health and wellness which address some of the greatest health needs in the Greater Newark community: Nutrition and physical health, mental health and access to health care and information.
"This grant in support of the Arts Center’s new initiatives is just one way that Horizon is honoring our commitment to make lasting and positive change in the communities we serve, especially here in Newark, the town Horizon has called home for nearly ninety years," said Gary D.
St. Hilaire, President and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ sad, "NJPAC’s programming, connecting wellness and the arts, will leverage NJPAC’s deep connections to the people of Newark to help improve their health and well-being. The Cooperman Center will extend NJPAC’s reach even more deeply into the neighborhoods of Newark mirroring the approach we take at Horizon to connect with our members and guide them to the services and care they need to achieve their best health."
"Both this partnership with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, and our new facility, the Cooperman Center, will create new opportunities to develop a whole host of new programs, including those for our community to access health information and services that reinforce the work of our fellow anchor health institutions in Newark," said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC.
"NJPAC has identified an opportunity to be more intentional in our approach to arts and wellness programming, and to take a leadership position nationally among performing arts providers in strategically developing programs that leverage NJPAC’s strengths to respond to its community’s needs," added Schreiber.
The barriers between underserved communities and access to health care and health information are real and their origins are complex. But community anchors, working together, can solve such intractable problems. This collaboration between Horizon and NJPAC is an inspiring example of the innovative thinking required to make genuine progress,‖ said Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO, University Hospital in Newark, and a member of the Arts Center’s Board.
"Through its expanded partnerships with Horizon and other community health partners, NJPAC will be able to find new ways to tie public performances, arts education, and community engagement to health and wellness, in order to improve outcomes for our community, reduce the stigma attached to mental health treatment, and do our part to close the health gap in Newark," said Barry Ostrowsky, Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health and the Co-Chairman of NJPAC’s Board of Directors.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision, and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving approximately 3.7 million members.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America’s most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors, and served almost 1.9 million children and families, since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.