(TRENTON, NJ) -- Arts Ed NJ Executive Director Robert Morrison will be among this year’s recipients of the prestigious New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, the state’s highest honor in the arts field. Morrison will be recognized with the “Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Arts Education” Award and joins 100 New Jersey students and 15 educators who will earn the spotlight at the 42nd annual awards ceremony, to be held Thursday, May 26 at Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton, beginning at 4:00pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Morrison, an acclaimed music and arts education advocate, social entrepreneur, and businessman, announced earlier this year that he was stepping down from Arts Ed NJ on June 30, following nearly two decades at the helm. He participated in the launch of the organization as the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership in 2006 following years of planning and input by arts and education leaders statewide to create the proper conditions for arts learning to take place for the 1.4 million students attending more than 2,400 schools in the state.
Through his leadership and with the help of strategic partnerships throughout the arts community, New Jersey has emerged as a leading state for arts education in the country. In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey became the first state to provide universal access to arts education for all public-school students.
Morrison previously served as managing partner for the groundbreaking 2006 NJ Arts Education Census Project, completing the first statewide census for arts education in every school building in the nation. As a leader of Arts Ed NJ, Morrison implemented the report’s recommendations to improve the status of arts education in New Jersey, now hailed as a model for statewide arts education research.
Most recently, Morrison and Arts Ed NJ released groundbreaking reports and support materials, including the “September Ready: Fall 2020 Guidance for Arts Education Report,” which is used by states across the nation to assist in the safe return of visual and performing arts in schools during the COVID pandemic.
In January 2021, Arts Ed NJ was designated as the official performing arts affiliate for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), In March 2021, the organization launched the Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning as the national resource for this critical topic.
“We are thrilled to announce that Bob Morrison will receive the prestigious 2022 Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Arts Education Award,” said Dr. Mary Reece, Arts Ed NJ board chair. “Bob is an exemplary model of advocacy, impact and leadership. He has served as a visionary and accomplished Executive Director of Arts Ed NJ.”
Concurrent with his Executive Director role of Arts Ed NJ, Morrison is the founder and CEO of Quadrant Research, the nation’s preeminent arts education data analytics and market research firm. Morrison and Quadrant Research are recognized as pioneers in state arts education data reporting including the creation of the national Arts Education Data Project, which provides arts education data for 30 states covering 74 percent of the student population nationwide.
The New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education represent a partnership of Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The awards have recognized more than 5,000 students and educators for their exceptional work in keeping arts education alive in New Jersey.