Author Archive for ArtPride – Page 2

Update on N.J. Arts Bills

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There’s been a lot of action (and inaction) on arts bills currently under consideration by the New Jersey state legislature.

On January 31:

Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed A1220, which would license drama therapists and dance/movement therapists. The veto was based on reluctance to add yet another regulatory body in the Division of Consumer Affairs, and requested a change that would add licensing for these professions under the title of “Creative Arts Therapies.” It is uncertain if those proposing licensure are willing to comply with the terms of the conditional veto. Stay tuned!

– A3832, which would allow local governments to create a dedicated tax levy for local artistic and cultural projects by voter approval, passed the N.J. Assembly and was referred to the N.J. Senate (S2459) for second reading. The bill permits a municipality to submit a proposition to voters to authorize an annual levy, in an amount or at a rate that the governing body deems appropriate, to be established for the purpose of supporting arts and culture, broadly defined, and deposited into an “arts and culture trust fund.”

This proposition may be voted upon in a general or special election, and the bill also authorizes a public question requiring a petition signed by the voters of the municipality equal in number to at least 15 percent of the votes cast at the last preceding general election.

This is an exciting proposal for new government support on a local level, but, when and if passed, the bill will require extensive grassroots support and will take at least two years to become a reality. S2459 is certainly worthy of support, and local arts councils and commissions should take note and consider planning now for potential future implementation.

The following bills were considered by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and Arts Committee on February 7:

– A4378 would require the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to establish an “Artist District” designation for municipalities, to establish criteria for the designation, and to work with the Division of Travel and Tourism to promote any Artist District as a destination for artists and visitors.

– A4500 directs the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to create, update, and disseminate a guide containing the “best practices” for arts programs for youth at risk of juvenile delinquency.

– A4501 requires the Juvenile Justice Commission to establish an arts education pilot program for juvenile offenders in New Jersey. According to the bill, the commission would oversee the development, operation, administration, and evaluation of the pilot program in consultation with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

– AJR159 designates the first full week of June as “Children’s Art Week” in New Jersey.

ArtPride New Jersey’s Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Ann Marie Miller, testified to the Assembly Committee, noting that without additional appropriations, instituting such worthy programs would either not be possible or would require to the N.J. State Council on the Arts staff to redirect efforts from its current grantmaking responsibilities. This provided an opportunity to mention that another bill, A3101, could provide such support and that sufficient funding currently exists through the Council’s dedicated funding source, the N.J. Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee.

While revenue from the Hotel/Motel tax has increased over the past nine years, the appropriations to the arts, history, and tourism has not. A3101 would increase the minimum amount annually appropriated, and requires NO NEW REVENUE for support.

A3101 currently has 18 N.J. Assembly sponsors. Check ArtPride’s PDF with talking points to see the sponsors, and if your Assembly representatives are not listed, ask them to co-sponsor this bill. The bill’s N.J. Senate version, S247, passed unanimously last February, yet the N.J. Assembly has not taken action since the bill was introduced more than a year ago.

Join us for the National Arts Action Summit 2019!

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The New Jersey delegation is assembling for the National Arts Action Summit from March 4-5, 2019, in Washington, D.C., which includes Arts Advocacy Day. Advanced registration closes February 17.

Last year, dozens of New Jersey arts advocates gathered with hundreds of supporters around the nation to meet with members of Congress to ensure that funding was restored for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as the President’s first budget proposed elimination of both agencies. The national effort was ultimately successful with budgets allocated at full funding in 2018.

We must keep the heat on for continued support of both federal cultural agencies that bring more than $2 million each year to New Jersey through direct grants and through the partnership grant awarded to the N.J. State Council on the Arts and the N.J. Council for the Humanities.

ButtonPlease join our delegation and register now! The annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy will be delivered this year by Rita Moreno.

If you register, please inform ArtPride staff so we can keep you informed of appointments scheduled with members of Congress and invite you to an informational webinar before our trip to D.C.

Five Arts Advocacy Tips to Make Change in 2019

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The HeART of Downtown Renaissance

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


What happens when you get five business leaders in a room filled with hungry learners who want to know the secrets to making their downtowns come alive? This was the scene at the recent New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference where ArtPride and the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey collaborated to showcase success stories in progress in Hackensack, Atlantic City, Trenton, New Brunswick, and Paterson.

Presiding Mayor Andre Sayegh of Paterson moderated the lively discussion and took time to share how the local arts scene is helping to rebrand the city in partnership with NJ Transit and the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, along with Paterson’s grassroots arts commission and the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council.

Maureen Vanacore, a consultant with the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s Arts Bergen project, and Patrice Foresman of the Main Street Business Alliance in Hackensack offered insight into how creative placemaking has taken hold in the county seat with the help of the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. NCCP supplies basic tools and guidance to map cultural assets, develop a creative team, and create a placemaking plan and timeline. Maureen and Patrice shared the success of the Main Gateway Mural Project and how it acts as a beacon of the city, and Main Street Alliance’s endorsement of arts and culture as a powerful tool to transform, connect, and serve communities.

Maureen’s suggestion for how to get started using the arts successfully to transform your downtown is to listen: “Listen to the community, to artists, to new imaginings that can reframe our neighborhoods in ways that make them more interesting gathering places for people to engage.”

Tom Gilmore of the Trenton Downtown Association shared the success of the Levitt AMP free concert series and made the announcement that the series will continue in Trenton in 2019. Tom talked about the difficulty of recovering from the violent incident this summer at Artwork’s Art All Night and how the Levitt AMP concert series helped rebuild an audience that could feel both comfortable and safe at a free outdoor public gathering at night in Trenton.

Evan Sanchez of Authentic City Partners in Atlantic City shared the energy and excitement of plans to re-envision the Orange Loop in A.C., which incorporates Tennessee Avenue near the Boardwalk and the Steel Pier. Evan serves as the Chair of the dynamic Atlantic City Arts Foundation, whichtransforms – with the help of visual and performing artists – abandoned sites in the Orange Loop through a program called “Arteriors.” Arteriors locations now set the scene for parties that gather the greater Atlantic City community and celebrate the work of local artists. Through the work of Authentic City Partners, other assets have also been added, including a new coffee shop (Hayday), a yoga studio, a chocolate bar (Made Atlantic City Chocolate), and a brand new beer hall. Each location has utilized the work of local artists to enhance the flavor of these welcoming meeting spaces. Evan’s advice for how to get started using the arts successfully in downtowns is: “Reach out to local artists AND community/neighborhood organizations to organize a public art event to get the ball rolling at the ground level. Start small and let it build.”

Dan Swern of CoLAB Arts in New Brunswick talked about how important it is to assure that artists are being properly remunerated for their work and how CoLAB embeds artists in a community projects that meet a variety of cross-sector needs (environmental, social justice, municipal, health, etc.). In this way, the arts are holistically integrated into settings that are transformational. Dan shared work with the Esperanza neighborhood in New Brunswick through the Esperanza Mercado project, which strives to provide creative access and food equity, and the Watershed Sculpture Project, which collaborates with the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership to commission new public art works to be created from refuse collected in local stream clean-ups.

The standing-room-only audience for the session had many questions for the panelists, which served to provide a lively discussion and many post-session meetups with municipal leaders from all corners of New Jersey. For more information about the panel and to see the PowerPoint slides that accompanied the session, please click here. Contact ArtPride staff to learn more about first steps to transform your downtown and ignite a renaissance by incorporating arts and culture.


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.

2019 People’s Choice Awards Nominations Now Open!

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