Archive for March 2018

2018 Arts Advocacy Day Recap

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

Filled with new facts and figures about how the arts boost the economy, and a burning desire to share stories of how art makes a difference in our lives, 37 New Jersey arts advocates made the trip to the nation’s capital to remind members of the U.S. Congress that eliminating our cultural agencies is unacceptable.

Four members of the Educational Theatre Association’s N.J. Thespians, shepherded by Jason Wylie, and Madelyn Rupprecht, a sophomore at Montclair State University, joined representatives from all 12 N.J. congressional districts for National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on March 12 & 13.

A highlight of the kick-off breakfast on Tuesday, March 13, was applauding Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Dist.7), Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, as he proudly accepted the Congressional Arts Leadership Award from Bob Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts.

Following a quick photo with Rep. Lance, we met with Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez in the Foreign Relations conference room at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senator Booker took selfies with all members of the N.J. delegation, which was a great way for him to learn quickly where each of us live and work in the Garden State.


Just some of our selfies with Senator Booker!

Both Senators were eloquent in their support for our cultural agencies and strong federal support. They recounted the many times the arts offered ways to memorialize, heal, and celebrate life. Senator Booker told us how his mom was involved in a theatre production at her senior living facility in Las Vegas and how proud he was of her and how much joy her participation brought to both of them.

As we walked past the U.S. Capitol to the House of Representatives office buildings, we passed something colorful happening with a small crowd on the lawn. An activist group, Avaaz, installed 7,000 pairs of children’s shoes to represent the 7,000 children who have been killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook tragedy. The assemblage was especially touching as we watched a toddler walk among the shoes and examine them, completely unaware of their sobering significance.

Our large delegation broke up into small groups of about three and four to meet with the staff of all 12 N.J. members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Discussions touched on the need for restoration and support for the cultural agencies ($155 million for the NEA and NEH) that were once again proposed for elimination by the President in the FY 2019 budget (the second year in a row). Other action items included funding for the Assistance for Arts Education program in the U.S. Department of Education, which funds multi-year projects for children and youth, with special emphasis on serving students from low-income families and students with disabilities. Advocates also discussed enactment of the universal charitable deduction to reinstate and expand incentives for charitable giving.

Our meetings were brief, but it was comforting to note that most aides were already familiar with the issues we brought to their attention, and in many cases, their members had already signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters that expressed their support. In fact, eight of the 12 N.J. congressional representatives signed on to letters of support with 158 of their colleagues across the nation—a new record!

The job continues back home in New Jersey. Follow up with legislative aides and members of congress will be ongoing, as the budget season will not wrap up until at least September 30. ArtPride will be looking to connect with arts advocates throughout the coming months to hold meetings in each congressional district.

In the meantime, we urge you to check and see if a town hall is imminent in your district and consider attending to ask about support for arts and culture. Also, if you’ve not already contacted YOUR member of congress, be sure to do so! You can email them directly at the link on ArtPride NJ’s home page under “Action Alert.” Please do your part to remind our elected officials that YOU support the arts AND you VOTE!


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.

Winners Announced in 2018 People’s Choice Awards

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Cultural organizations from throughout the state are honored in 10th annual awards

BURLINGTON, N.J. (March 14, 2018) – The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, is delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 People’s Choice Awards. More than 18,000 ballots were cast in the annual contest, which celebrates the extraordinary work of New Jersey’s vital, vibrant and diverse arts community. From 11 arts districts and 116 organizations – the greatest number of nominees since the creation of the Awards in 2008 – 17 cultural organizations were chosen as this year’s honorees.

“For more than a decade, the People’s Choice Awards has blown us away, and this year is no exception,” said Allison Tratner, Interim Executive Director of the State Arts Council, during today’s awards ceremony at ArtPride’s headquarters at Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts in Burlington, N.J. “The outstanding nominees get better every year, and their passionate patrons and fans come out and vote by the thousands, making it known that the arts in New Jersey are not to be missed.”

The 2018 People’s Choice Awards winners are:

  • Favorite Large Performing Arts Center: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark
  • Favorite Small Performing Arts Center: South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange
  • Favorite Large Theatre to See a Musical: Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn
  • Favorite Large Theatre to See a Play: McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton
  • Favorite Small Theatre: Princeton Summer Theater, Princeton
  • Favorite Art Museum: Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton
  • Favorite Art Gallery: Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton
  • Favorite Symphony/Orchestra: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Newark
  • Favorite Choral Group: Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir, Millburn
  • Favorite Ballet Company: American Repertory Ballet, Princeton/New Brunswick
  • Favorite Modern/Cultural Dance Company: New Jersey Tap Ensemble, Bloomfield
  • Favorite Opera Company: Opera Theatre of Montclair, Montclair
  • Favorite Music Festival: Montclair Jazz Festival, Montclair
  • Favorite Film Festival: Montclair Film Festival, Montclair
  • Favorite Adult Art Class: Grounds For Sculpture’s Make Art Workshops, Hamilton
  • Favorite Visual Arts Camp: Montclair Art Museum’s SummerART Camp, Montclair
  • Favorite Performing Arts Camp: NJPAC’s Young Artist Summer Intensive Program, Newark
  • Favorite Downtown Arts District: Montclair

Honorable Mentions:

  • Favorite Jersey Shore Theatre: Cape May Stage, Cape May
  • Favorite Jersey Shore Summer Arts Camp: Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, Loveladies

“The arts are an unwavering force in N.J. They make an incredible impact on the economy and bring our communities together to move them forward,” said Adam Perle, President & CEO of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation. “And, after celebrating 10 years of the awards, it’s clear that the arts matter to New Jerseyans.”

For detailed results and more information, visit Photos from today’s presentation are available at

The People’s Choice Awards are coordinated through the Discover Jersey Arts program, a cosponsored project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts aimed at increasing the awareness of and participation in the arts.

About and Discover Jersey Arts is the official website of Discover Jersey Arts, a cosponsored project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts dedicated to increasing the awareness of and participation in the arts in New Jersey. The site features a comprehensive cultural events calendar and arts directory; feature stories on Culture Vultures Arts Weekly and the Jersey Arts Podcast; details on Jersey Arts Membership, including discounts and exclusive member events; an online gallery of New Jersey artists; and other content about the state’s cultural community.

About the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation
The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the value of the arts to New Jersey’s quality of life, education and economic vitality through research and a variety of programs and services. For more information about ArtPride, visit

About the New Jersey State Council on the Arts 
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the Council, please visit

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