89 Jersey City artists and art organizations are receiving upwards of $25,000 in Arts and Culture Trust Fund grants, city officials announced this afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Jersey City’s investment in the arts is an investment in our entire community. The short- and long-term social, educational, and economic impacts generate a wide range of opportunities for our residents and businesses,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“We recognized the need for sustainable funding early on, and Jersey City voters understood the magnitude of our burgeoning arts community, so it is especially exciting to award these much-needed grants to so many talented artists and arts organizations so that they can further expand their positive influences in our society.”
The first round of Arts and Culture Trust Fund grants, which was announced at $850,000 in February, include opportunities for programming, arts education, and general operating support.
“The Educational Arts Team is honored to receive an award from the Jersey City Arts Relief Fund. This award will allow us to offer our Family Literacy and arts education programming to more children, specifically from low-income communities, who might not otherwise have access to the arts,” said grant recipient Cynthia Renta, the executive director of The Educational Arts Team.
“Through our evidence-based arts and education programming, developed over five decades of service to the Jersey City community, we bring joy, play, and healing to the community while also impacting students’ academic achievement and social-emotional development.”
The allocation of the State’s first-ever municipal Arts and Culture Trust Fund includes grants worth upwards of $25,000 in the following categories:
• 38 Program Grant Awards
• 8 Arts Education Grant Awards
• 23 Operating Grant Awards
• 20 Individual Artist Fellowship Grant Awards
“This is a historic moment for our arts community, one that we’ve been working towards for several years. To be able to announce these grants to help Jersey City’s arts programming and creative artists, ranging from novice to expert, is truly a milestone that brings us closer to seeing the City’s vision as a regional arts and culture hub become a reality,” added Jersey City Department of Cultural Affairs Director Christine Goodman.
Jersey City was first to take action when the state bill was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in December 2019, allowing municipalities to implement an Arts and Culture Trust Fund.
“The Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee is proud to support a diverse group of organizations, art programs, and artists. We believe supporting artists is important and necessary for all citizens,” Angelica Sanchez, Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee Member Angelica Sanchez.
The Arts Trust funds received strong support from voters in November 2020 to implement an annual tax not to exceed two cents ($0.02) per one-hundred dollars of assessed property value.
According to the mayor’s office, the Trust generates approximately $1 million in annual revenue for arts and cultural programs, which is quadruple the amount of what all of Hudson County receives from the state each year.
“We formed the Jersey City Arts Council less than six years ago to address the need for support of the arts … The JCAC congratulates all awardees as well as the tireless Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee, and looks forward to the continued growth of this exceptional granting program,” noted Heather Warfel Sandler, co-founder of the Jersey City Arts Council.
“ … I have no doubt that Jersey City will soon be the number one destination for arts, entertainment, employment, and so much more,” Fulop concluded.
The individual grant recipients are Alon Necuhustan, Bryant Small, Cheryl Gross, David Kikoski, David Solan, Deborah Jack, Douglas Beavers, Eileen Ferara, Gianluca Bianchino, Jin Jung, Katarzyna Skorynkiewicz, Kishawn Jack, Lorenzo Pickett, Michele Byrd-McPhee, Natalia Basava, Richard la Rovere, Roosevelt China, Shamona Stokes, Theda Sandiford, and Zachary Davis.