The Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund grant applications are set to reopen on Monday at 9 a.m. and will accept submissions through Friday, March 3rd at 5 p.m.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The first allocation of grants, totaling $900,000 awarded to 89 artists and arts organizations last year, the city is looking to promote even more applicants the second time around.
“As the first in the state to implement the Arts and Culture Trust Fund, Jersey City remains ahead of the curve in establishing a critical funding source that has already proven to be highly successful in supporting our local artists and programming to benefit the community at large,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“For this second allocation, we are expanding the application period to encourage even more Jersey City artists and organizations to apply so that we can really maximize the countless opportunities that can be achieved with these grants.”
For example, Jersey City artist Catriona Rubenis-Stevens was able to employ dozens of artists, musicians, and technicians using the grant money her organization received last year from the fund.
She also expanded her biggest event, the Zombie Opera, to make the unique concert more accessible for everyone to enjoy.
“The opera is often inaccessible because it is so expensive. That’s why we created the Zombie Opera during the pandemic. To make sure no one is denied access to the arts,” said Rubenis-Stevens, who is also the owner of Half-Light Productions. ”
“We started with all volunteers using a stoop as our stage, but with the grant money from the Fund, our concert has quickly grown to attract 4,000 people. Importantly, can employ local artists and residents now, so we see the money going straight back into the community.”
Following the grant application process, eligible applicants will be awarded upwards of $25,000 each for general operating support. Program and arts education grants will also be available, with a maximum of $17,500 each.
Additionally, the Jersey City Arts Council will administer an Individual Artist Fellowship grant program to award 20 artists $5,000 each in unrestricted funds.
“The Arts Trust grants and the Individual Artist Fellowships demonstrate the value of supporting the artists making Jersey City such a vibrant, creative community,” added Jersey City Arts Council Executive Director MacAdam Smith.
“The grants create more public arts and arts education opportunities for all residents and build deeper connections between artists and other community groups. We want to thank the City and the Arts & Culture Trust Fund Committee for continuing to make this program happen.”
In November 2020, the Arts Trust Funds received strong support from voters to implement an annual tax not to exceed two cents per $100 dollars of assessed property value.
The Trust generates approximately $1 million in annual revenue for arts and cultural programs, quadrupling the amount that all of Hudson County receives from the State each year.
Earlier this month, the city council voted unanimously to set a rate at a quarter of a penny ($0.0025) per $100 of assessed property value.
“The second round of grants we are awarding to our arts community will allow us to grow and keep building upon this important initiative we started here in Jersey City,” noted Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, who is the council representative on the Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee.
“The first grants awarded last year really showed us how impactful the Arts and Culture Trust Funds can be throughout our community, and so I’m excited we can continue the progress.”
Information on workshops, open office hours, and support sessions to help applicants submit proposals is available online here.