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August 17, 2020

New Jersey launches digital campaign to support shuttered arts venues due to COVID-19

Theaters, museums, performing arts centers, and galleries across the state have been shut down during the pandemic

Arts Coronavirus
New Jersey Keep Arts Alive Courtesy of/ArtPride New Jersey Foundation

Arts institutions across New Jersey, such as the Arts Garage in Atlantic City, have been closed for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As theaters, museums, performing arts centers, and galleries remained closed across New Jersey due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state has rolled out a digital initiative for residents to show their support for these shut-down venues. 

The campaign, called “Keep Jersey Arts Alive,” is encouraging residents to share their stories on social media about why they think the arts are vital to the state. Residents are also encouraged to send a message to their state legislators thanking them for their support of the arts.

The digital initiative seeks to ensure that the state will continue to support and fund arts institutions across New Jersey amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

New Jersey arts venues have lost over $30 million in revenue due to the public health crisis, according to the state. The arts industry produces roughly $662 million in revenue for the state, employs approximately 22,000 people, and works directly with millions of students in education programs across New Jersey.

“Arts workers and organizations are valued members of the New Jersey family, and their recovery from the impact of COVID-19 is essential to our shared future in the Garden State,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. 

“New Jersey's arts sector and artists enrich our lives and communities, and I’m thrilled that the Keep Jersey Arts Alive initiative will celebrate our arts industry.”

The initiative has been developed by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, a Burlington County-based arts advocacy group. 

“A comprehensive recovery is one that positions the arts industry to endure this crisis and continue to provide opportunities for safe and meaningful connection for New Jersey communities, families and individuals,” said Allison Tratner, who serves as the executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. 

“From economic revitalization and jobs, to fostering dialogue and unity in the face of issues of social injustice, the arts are a critical tool for action and change as our state works to rebuild.”

Arts and humanities groups across the state have already received roughly $900,000 of CARES Act funding to help cover personnel and facility costs. 

New Jersey typically supports the arts through competitive grants awarded by the State Council on the Arts. Last year, New Jersey awarded approximately $16 million in grants to arts institutions across the state.

“The arts contribute greatly to our communities, and, while most physical doors are still closed, cultural groups continue to find creative ways to keep our minds and bodies strong,” said Adam Perle, who serves as the president and CEO of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation.

“We look forward to when we can all gather safely, but, until then, we must work together to keep Jersey arts alive.”

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