New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“The Alliance”), one of the state’s largest arts service organizations, was recently awarded a grant through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (“NJSCA”). The awards announced last week were part of the largest state appropriation the Council has ever received in its 55-year history – $31.9 million as part of the state budget approved by Governor Murphy last month.
"This is a historic time for New Jersey's arts community. We thank Governor Murphy, Secretary of State Way, and the New Jersey State Legislature for their belief in the impact the arts have on our communities and the souls of our fellow New Jerseyans”, says John McEwen, Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
For the first time in over a decade, the NJSCA budget was increased by 60%. As stated by the Council, $35.6 million in grants were awarded to support more than 700 arts organizations, projects, and artists throughout the state. Grant awards also included $7.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds, which were signed into law by Governor Murphy earlier this year as part of a multi-bill package aimed at economic recovery.
"Given the extraordinary times we are living, the increased funding to the arts causes me to beam with pride about the leadership of our great state”, says Marshall Jones, III, Associate Professor - Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts Rutgers and President of the Alliance Board of Trustees. John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages and Chair of the Alliance Board of Trustees, adds, “Increased funding from NJSCA could not have not come at a more crucial time. While theatres are beginning to transition back from virtual presentations to live productions, significant challenges remain. These enhanced resources will not only help theatres to safely re-emerge but will also help them to explore creative ways to reenvison their missions in a post-COVID world. Increased funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance will also ensure that the incredible job the Alliance has been doing to assist the NJ Theatre Membership with re-opening efforts will continue.”
A 33% increase from NJSCA has brought the Alliance's General Operating Support (GOS) grant up to a total of $208,705, support for their Cultural Access Network Project, a co-sponsored project that provides a wide range of services and programs to assist theatres and cultural organizations in making their programs and facilities accessible to seniors and people with disabilities, remained level with a grant of $70,000, and received a grant of $46,000 as part of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
“We are grateful for the support and partnership of the State Arts Council's Board and staff who have done an outstanding job in lifting up our field during this unprecedented time. We thank our colleagues at ArtPride New Jersey and all the state's arts advocates for their tireless efforts and encouragement in support of our field. This has been the most challenging time for our industry and as we continue to chart new waters and begin to welcome audiences back safely, these increased funds will have a major impact in helping our field on their path to stability", says McEwen.
Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, and contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including Amazon, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grunin Foundation, The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, City National Bank, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Investors Bank, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, Kessler Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, and The Union Foundation.