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Keep Jersey Arts Alive campaign urges support for the arts

New Jersey State Council on the Arts logo

The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation has partnered with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts on Keep Jersey Arts Alive, a digital campaign to build support for keeping the state’s arts institutions afloat.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, theaters, museums, galleries, performing arts centers, dance studios and other groups have already lost over $30 million in revenue, according to information provided by Violet PR.

The campaign website offers state- and county-wide arts impact data to illustrate how the arts affect every corner of the state – including generating $662 million for New Jersey’s economy. According to the site, New Jersey’s nonprofit arts sector brings 8.3 million people to its downtowns and fuels 22,000 jobs. The arts are also a critical component to education, providing essential skills to 1.1 million students statewide.

Campaign organizers aim to heighten public awareness around the industry’s importance as New Jersey faces continued economic hardship.

“Arts workers and organizations are valued members of the New Jersey family, and their recovery from the impact of COVID-19 is essential to our shared future in the Garden State,” New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said in the statement. “New Jersey’s arts sector and artists enrich our lives and communities, and I’m thrilled that the Keep Jersey Arts Alive initiative will celebrate our arts industry.”

Two rounds of federal CARES Act funding, which reached arts and humanities organizations throughout the state in May and July, totaled $900,000 to cover personnel and facilities costs, according to the statement. ArtPride has also created an active COVID-19 resources page for artists and arts organizations, which includes various grant opportunities.

The state routinely supports the arts through competitive grants awarded by the state Arts Council (nearly $16 million in 2019), funded via a portion of New Jersey’s hotel/motel occupancy fee.

The campaign’s latest video discusses how New Jersey’s creative community is working to improve health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic by creating activities for children, making protective wear for frontline workers, and collaborating with partners to address food security, according to the statement.

“A comprehensive recovery is one that positions the arts industry to endure this crisis and continue to provide opportunities for safe and meaningful connection for New Jersey communities, families and individuals,” Allison Tratner, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, said in the statement. “From economic revitalization and jobs, to fostering dialogue and unity in the face of issues of social injustice, the arts are a critical tool for action and change as our state works to rebuild.”

Adam Perle, president and CEO of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, said in the statement: “The arts contribute greatly to our communities, and, while most physical doors are still closed, cultural groups continue to find creative ways to keep our minds and bodies strong. We look forward to when we can all gather safely, but, until then, we must work together to keep Jersey arts alive.”

For more information and to remind legislators about the economic importance of the arts, visit KeepJerseyArtsAlive.org.

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