Archive for 2017

The Music in Me

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This special Voices from the Field comes from our own Ann Marie Miller in honor of National Arts Education Week (September 10-16). Miller recently interviewed Jada Quin, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Howell, NJ. Now entering her senior year in high school, Jada is in marching band, concert band, chorus and taking classwork in music theory.

Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education joins together in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of the transformative power of the arts in education.

I first met Jada Quin, and her parents Lori and Sebastian, at ArtPride New Jersey’s 30th anniversary celebration last November. She offered to perform and blew us all away with her stunning vocal solo.

A 17-year-old singer-songwriter residing in Howell, NJ, Jada incorporates her own life experiences and those of others around her into her soul-searching lyrics. Now entering her senior year in high school, Jada is in marching band, concert band, chorus and taking classwork in music theory.

I had the privilege of interviewing Jada to learn more about how art and music is a part of her life. We had a wonderful conversation and it was great to share ways that our passions – music and visual art – while different from each other, provide us with similar delight and comfort and are indispensable parts of our lives. Coincidentally, but not surprisingly, we both took a path toward developing our talents with the help of an inspired arts educator.


Ann Marie Miller: How did you get into arts education?

Jada Quin: I was in band, and my middle school band teacher, Miss A, made the difference for me. From that time on, I was hooked and got into music construction.  I was not great at making friends, so music became an outlet for me. It helped me express everything I wanted to say, and better than I could ever say it in words. Many kids won’t go into band thinking it’s lame, but for me it was life changing and gave me a way to express myself.


AMM: What type of art is important to you, and why?

JQ: Music is my life.  I love music composition. There are two ways to compose, with lyrics and without, and notes help you express yourself without words. My instrument is the marimba. I was in drum line, but not the healthiest kid, and I got involved in small ensemble. The marimba captivated me. Its sound is both sharp and warm! Most bands don’t have a marimba, or if they do, it’s not in great shape. I finally was able to purchase one dirt cheap this summer.


AMM: What have you learned from arts education?

JQ: I learned how much I actually like to learn! Music composition to me is like problem solving. The payoff is when everything comes together and you are pleased with the results. There’s nothing like it. And I have learned that I can compose without worrying if everyone else is going to like my work. If it represents me, it’s authentic and not fake, that’s enough to make me proud.


AMM: What would you like to see for the future of arts education?

JQ: I come from a family of five that struggles financially, so I’d like to see more access to funding for music and the arts, because it’s expensive. The curriculum may be there through a great band teacher, but it’s still expensive to keep studying music. It would be great for increased funding to give kids more access and also to help with scholarships to continue music education in college.

How can the arts positively impact your community, our country, or the world?

JQ: Music can make a community healthier. When you are deeply involved, it almost feels like taking a little vacation. I think if the arts were more widely accepted with enthusiasm, our entire country – including our youth – would be happier and healthier.


You can hear Jada Quin by subscribing to her YouTube channel, and on Facebook and Instagram @jaja_quin. Her first album, “Beginnings,” is downloadable on Bandwave. Jada hopes to continue her music education past high school into college with dreams of attending the Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music.


Register for Fall Tourism & Arts Forum October 12

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The New Jersey Tourism Industry Association (NJTIA) and ArtPride NJ invite you to the New Jersey Fall Tourism & Arts Forum on October 12 in Newark. Hear from the gubernatorial candidates and from national experts in both tourism and arts.

Invited Guests: Gubernatorial Candidates
Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno
Former Ambassador Phil Murphy

Keynote Speakers
Robert Lynch, President & CEO, Americans for the Arts
Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Offer, Destinations International

Click here for registration and full details


Presented by:





One Big Tool for the Arts Advocacy Toolkit

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By Ann Marie Miller,
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, ArtPride New Jersey

Did you attend an arts event last year? A performance, exhibit, music festival, or poetry reading?  If you did, you are in great company. New Jersey nonprofit arts groups drew more than 7.5 million people to their programs in 2015—that’s four times more than all New Jersey professional sports events! And those same groups and audiences generated a half billion dollars for the state’s economy.

When you went to an arts event, did you by any chance stop for a bite to eat? Pay for parking? Fill the tank? Pay a babysitter? What about that gift shop nearby; did you stop in to buy a birthday gift? Maybe you purchased a lovely scarf at the museum store? Nearly all arts participants spend something more than the ticket price—much more.

Our 7.5 million arts patrons spent an average of over $31 for a wide variety of goods and services. And 1 million visitors from out of state spent more than $50 each. Patron-related spending totaled more than a quarter billion dollars, demonstrating that arts activity supports other industries and local businesses.

ArtPride New Jersey is proud to have recently released the results of yearlong research that studied spending by NJ arts and cultural organizations, along with the spending habits of people who attend their events. The project is part of Americans for the Arts’ national Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, supported by funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, and an anonymous donor.  It examined how nonprofit cultural groups contribute to the economy, from meeting payroll and mounting productions down to office supplies and professional services like accounting, custodial, and legal.

But why, you might ask, is this important? Simply put, because it gives the arts a powerful tool by which to demonstrate yet another way that they have profound positive impact on our lives and communities, and deserve public and private support.

It all started with the 1993 Port Authority of NY & NJ study The Arts as an Industry—Their Economic Importance to the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Region.  Jaws dropped to learn that the arts at that time contributed more than $5.6 billion to the regional economy. Yes, that includes Broadway, but that is still billions.

New Jersey leaders were among the first nationwide to explore the impact of the arts for an entire state.  In 1994, under the auspices of the NJ State Council on the Arts and the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, a report was released using data from Arts Council grantees, which showed that direct spending by arts groups and patrons totaled $272 million.  The study was updated in 2001 and 2009, each one revealing sizeable increases in economic activity from the previous report.

It is now very clear that New Jersey’s arts mean business.  They mean jobs.  They mean downtowns that are more vibrant, and the impact continues to grow.

This data, especially when we marry it to compelling personal stories that illustrate how art changes people’s lives, can be tremendously helpful and persuasive to policy makers and elected officials who face hard choices.  It reminds government and business leaders why investment in the nonprofit arts is an investment in healthier communities.

For instance, the recent study shows that the arts generate more than $41 million in local and state tax revenues—nearly triple the amount of funding annually appropriated to the NJ State Council on the Arts. Thus, state spending represents about 3 cents of every $1 dollar of economic impact. This is a tremendous return that can only grow with larger state investment.  The ArtPride website holds all the delicious study details.

ArtPride New Jersey is using this new data as part of its campaign to make a difference in the upcoming gubernatorial and legislative elections.  All 120 seats are up.  Each candidate was just mailed a survey that asks about arts policy and funding (also available online).

Your active involvement is needed to urge candidates to complete their survey.  Responses will be posted online to inform voters in the November election.  And guess what? The recent study also revealed that nearly 90% of over 4,000 people surveyed voted or planned to vote in the 2016 election.

The arts and arts voters mean business and ArtPride NJ is dedicated to making sure they have all the tools they need to remind policy makers that when you invest in the arts, you in invest in a better NJ and in concrete ways that improves everybody’s bottom line.


Ann Marie Miller is currently director of Advocacy & Public Policy for the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and served as Executive Director there for 20 years. Prior to joining ArtPride in 1995, Miller served as director of Development at McCarter Theatre and as grants coordinator for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Miller serves on the Executive Committee of the State Arts Action Network of Americans for the Arts; as chair of the Hightstown Cultural Arts Commission in her hometown; as member of the Governance Committee of the NJ Arts Education Partnership; and served on the board for the Center for Non-Profit Corporations in New Jersey. Miller is a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia with a B.S. in art education.

The Arts in New Jersey are a Multimillion-Dollar Business

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According to Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 – a national economic impact study released June 17 by Americans for the Arts– the nonprofit arts and culture sector in New Jersey is a $519.8 million industry, supporting 14,342 full-time equivalent jobs and yielding $41 million in local and state government revenue.

ArtPride worked with Americans for the Arts and five local partners–Cape May, Cumberland, Mercer and Morris counties and the City of Newark–to examine the financial power of N.J.’s cultural community, and results show that state nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $296.1 million during fiscal year 2015.

This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies and contract for services. Those dollars, in turn, generate $340 million in household income for local residents and $41 million in state and local government revenues. In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit cultural community leverages nearly $224 million in event-related spending by its audiences. Arts attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs and pay a babysitter, and those from out of town often stay overnight in a local hotel.

Nationally, the industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity—$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments – a yield well beyond their collective $5 billion in arts allocations.

These results are impressive and put to rest a misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, communities are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue and is the cornerstone of tourism. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 shows conclusively that, locally as well as nationally, the arts mean business!

Read the New Jersey report.

Here are some social media graphics you can use to spread the word about the impact of the arts on the state’s economy. Please tag #AEP5 and @artpridenj























Generous funding for this project was provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, and an anonymous donor. ArtPride New Jersey served as the local project partner and, as such, was responsible for the local implementation and data collection requirements of this customized analysis for the State of New Jersey.

Go Ahead; Make the Arts Accessible for Everyone

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By Catherine Clark,
Arts & Fund Development Manager, Monmouth Museum

As an arts administrator, I am very proud of the accomplishments the Monmouth Museum has made over the past 10 years in providing accessible arts and cultural experiences to special need populations. This year, I am both thrilled and humbled to say the Cultural Access Network Project (CAN), a program of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and NJ State Council on the Arts, is honoring the Monmouth Museum with an Innovator Award.

The Museum’s daily inclusive policy recognizes that a disability is, more often than not, a long-term or life-long condition; children do not grow out of their disability. We recognize that individuals with special needs and their families have the right to quality arts and educational experiences, and we have a responsibility and privilege to give them the best cultural experience possible.

Some of our accessibility services include customized tours, free admission for paraprofessionals and support personnel, afterhours Sensory Aware Nights for individuals with autism and their families; Please Touch exhibitions for visitors with vision loss; height sensitive artwork installations; large print programs; audio and written interpretive tags that work with a visitor’s smartphone; complimentary wheelchairs; sensitivity training for staff and docents; and a program for volunteers with autism. The Museum has become known throughout the special education and adult care community as a location where their classes and groups are welcome and our docents are experienced in the needs of their populations.

Being a mother of a 24-year-old son with autism, I know firsthand how important it is to feel welcome and have accommodations and modifications made for my child so he can learn, participate in the arts, be exposed to cultural events and be a part of the community. When my son Sean was first diagnosed with autism at two years old, access to arts and cultural programming was very limited. Today, it is heartwarming to see how many like him benefit from all of the inclusive venue policies, programs and performances being offered.

I can confidently say CAN and its professional trainings, access initiatives and the annual awards has played a leading role in this advancement by giving the N.J. arts and cultural community the encouragement, tools and educational resources to make the arts accessible for everyone.

As the Jersey Shore’s only multifaceted museum, the Monmouth Museum recognizes its responsibility in fostering the arts and learning for everyone. With an organizational commitment to be an accessible community museum, we welcome people with all types of abilities and disabilities to visit our galleries, exhibitions and programs. The accommodations made for these audiences increase our appeal for all who visit, positively impact our community and thus enhance our inclusiveness.

I am happy to say the privilege of receiving the Innovator Award has re-energized the board, staff and volunteer team at the Museum to keep expanding our accessibility features and seek financial support for these programs.

We have seen with our own eyes and ears that our efforts offer life-transforming experiences for some the most vulnerable citizens in our community who often have no voice or economic resources to advocate for themselves. No one has described this better than the words of Donny Palmer in his letter of nomination:

“I am an Assistant Supervisor at The ARC of Ocean County and we went on a trip to discover some art at the Monmouth Museum. We had 23 energetic participants and seven staff. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations would turn down a group so big or a group with so many special needs. Even if we can find a place of interest, the hosts can often be agitated with the amount of extra work they need to put in to accommodate us. This was not the case with the Monmouth Museum.

“We were greeted with open arms and open hearts. The Monmouth Museum also gave us a discount and didn’t even charge the staff. It is no easy feat to engage 23 participants of varying developmental disabilities but the Monmouth Museum did so with flying colors. We learned so many things about the beautiful art and our hundreds of questions were answered graciously. All of our participants left happy and a few have asked me if they could come back. We’d love to come again and see more exhibits. If any organization is worthy of the CAN awards it should be The Monmouth Museum, a truly inclusive and righteous experience that should set the standard for any organization of the arts.”

Through the creation and implementation of the Monmouth Museum’s accessibility policies, we have learned being inclusive is possible even with a small staff and not-for-profit budget and we strongly encourage other arts and cultural organizations to do the same. So, go ahead, make the arts accessible for everyone!

For more information about the Monmouth Museum, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Catherine Clark is an artist and arts administrator who resides in Neptune, NJ. She has worked at the Monmouth Museum in various positions for almost 10 years, currently as the Arts & Fund Development Manager. Ms. Clark is a mother of a 26-year-old daughter who is a storyboard artist and toy designer in Burbank, CA, and 24-year-old son with autism who loves everything about the theatre and lives at home. Catherine enjoys her free time watching live music, exploring new art and culinary experiences with her partner Pete in nearby Asbury Park.

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