Tag Archives: Government

Make Your Case—Be an Advocate for the Arts

The newest representatives to New Jersey’s State Legislature were sworn in earlier this month, so this is a great time to reach out to your State Assembly Members and Senators.  ArtPride NJ works to educate lawmakers about the key role the non-profit arts industry plays in New Jersey, and we look forward to meeting with our legislators to share our stories.

ArtPride NJ’s Legislative District Teams—comprised of arts workers, business leaders, health professionals, teachers, students, and more—do an amazing job of making their case!  These arts advocates come together to educate their district representatives about the impact the arts have on our economy, our schools, and our hometowns, and their efforts are invaluable.  If you are interested in joining a Legislative District Team, we would love to have you with us!  Email your name, address, and why you are interested in joining to: madelineorton@artpridenj.com.  Show your support by being an advocate for the arts!

When There are Clouds, You’ll Get By if you just…

Another year, another NJSCA annual meeting on a hot summer day.  This year arts administrators were smiling, but we’ve been trained through the MFA Program in Hart Knocks to be happy with whatever we receive in government support.  This year, in yet another tough budget cycle, the new administration and legislature supported the minimums specified in the law, namely the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee of 2003.  What wasn’t emphasized was that the cultural community (read arts AND history) lost $4 million in principal for the NJ Cultural Trust.  That money (instead of the Cultural Projects or NJ Historical Commission appropriations) was doled out in earmarks to major arts/cultural destinations like Battleship NJ, The Newark Museum, and the Old Barracks Museum. The net result will be less Cultural Trust grants awarded for “stability.” Is there an irony here?

Certainly, these institutions are worthy of state support at the levels they require. Even with this support, these major facilities are facing curtailed hours and significant layoffs.  All cultural groups, large and small, north and south, rural, urban and suburban, are having to re-invent how they are perceived by the general public, how they do business, attract patrons/clients, etc.  We’re all in this together.

Let’s not fool anyone, though.  We’re all still hurting.  We’re all still being as creative as we can with relatively less money and trying to swim instead of treading water.  The money still isn’t where it needs to be in total (doesn’t the same law say $22.68 million for arts support?) , and we still have a big job to do to make sure the public understands that the arts are business, and to be successful everyone has to “play their part,” from the artists, audience members and donors, trustees, to the vendors/suppliers to the (for the most part) underpaid staffers.

Hang in there and keep reminding everyone that the only reason “The Jersey Shore” isn’t the bottom line, the final word about NJ culture, is because there’s great work being done by non-profit arts groups on pennies and prayers!

New York Times Article: Grants Frozen, Theaters Improvise

Please take a moment to read this great article from Sunday’s New York Times on the effect the State funding freeze would have on New Jersey arts.

Grants Frozen, Theaters Improvise

New Governor Christie on Arts, History & Tourism

Just in case you missed it from our numerous pre Election Day postings and alerts, here is candidate Christie’s position paper on the arts. If you go to the Art Pride web site, you can also find the podcast from WBGO-FM’s guberatorial debate and listen in!

Chris Christie Supports the Arts

Chris Christie believes in the important contribution that the arts make to the uniqueness of our state. He believes in the value of the arts to connect, engage and inspire our citizens. He understands the arts also provide our children with opportunities to create, explore and unleash their own creative abilities… skills that will serve them well in many aspects of their lives. Chris Christie also understands that the arts are one of the places where personal politics should be left behind and the beauty, joy and inspiration of the arts be shared by all of our citizens. The arts in New Jersey not only help unite us, they help define us. This benefit, alone, is reason enough to support the arts in our great state.

But there is much more to the arts. The arts and history are a vibrant economic engine generating more than $2 billion in economic activity and employing more than 80,000 people across the state – making the cultural community one of our largest employers. Cultural events draw millions of patrons not only to our museums and theaters… but to our restaurants, parking lots, and hotels. Beyond the cultural benefit, providing the proper support and infrastructure for a thriving cultural community just makes good business sense.

The arts make good educational sense as well. Arts education helps our children develop the skills needed to be successful in a rapidly changing world. The needs of the 21st century workforce require our students to process creativity and develop an innovative mind. We are educating our children today for industries and businesses that have yet to be invented. In this new environment, creativity and innovation will be as important as the ability to read, write and multiply. Arts education is one of the key ways to unleash the creative capacities in our young people.

Chris Christie believes that Jon Corzine has circumvented the laws requiring the arts to be funded at certain levels. He believes statutory mandates for the funding of the arts should be followed.

Chris Christie, speaking at the WBGO debate in Newark on October 22nd -“The legislature passed a law saying this is to be a dedicated funding stream to the arts, and I think it’s a very simple matter – the law should be followed. It should not be circumvented in that regard. We need to comply with the law that the Legislature passed in 2003. And if you’ve dedicated a portion, as we did, of the hotel motel tax to funding the arts, the arts deserve to be funded in that way. And I will tell you this: you’re right about the arts being an economic engine in this state. They absolutely are. We are in the shadow of the NJPAC right here. And we know if you come down here, as my wife and I often do, to see performances, you know what a night at the NJPAC does to this area of the city of Newark, to its economic vitality, to the restaurants, to the bars, to all of the people who vend in this area. It really brings it alive. And the fact is that is what we need to be doing more of, not less of. But all we need to do is follow the law. And the law has been pretty simple and pretty straight forward. That’s why Governor Kean spoke out, the chairman of my campaign, spoke out forcefully against the diverting of those funds because it is bad for New Jersey. But also because it isn’t in accordance with the law. So I think we just need to say if the state’s done it this way and promised to the people of the state that it would be used that way, we should use the money that way and should not divert it. And in a Christie Administration we would not divert it.”

Over 12,000 emails–WHO supports the arts?

Can you believe it? Over 12,000 emails and letters sent since Feb. 28 to NJ district legislators in support of restoring arts, history and tourism State dollars! Every time I open my mailbox, 100, 200, 300 emails come flooding in. I get copies of them all and scan them for the great stories told by people who really love what art and history do for this great State!

Straight from the heart! Keep at it–we have a little over a month to go before this budget gets passed and we need to keep the heat on!