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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State

NEA Chairman Visits Trenton to Mark State Arts Council's 50th

TRENTON, N.J. – Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts concluded a two-day visit to the Garden State celebrating the golden anniversary of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The event was held in the historic Assembly Chamber of the New Jersey State House, where the legislation establishing the State Arts Council was signed 50 years ago this week.

“Congratulations to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts on this wonderful milestone,” said Chairman Chu. “In supporting artists and arts organizations throughout the state for the past 50 years, they have in turn strengthened all other aspects of New Jersey life, from the economy and education to health and community vitality.”

The Council's Annual Meeting and Anniversary Celebration attracted hundreds of arts leaders. Along with many notable attendees and dignitaries, New Jersey's Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno joined the celebration to share her support for the state's Council on the Arts.

“This Administration firmly believes that the arts industry has played a critical role in shaping the New Jersey we all know and love today,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “We remain resolutely committed to preserving New Jersey's status as a national leader in public support for the arts.”

During the meeting the Council awarded over $15.7 million in Fiscal Year 2017 grants to more than 200 arts organizations and artists statewide, an investment that will reach into every New Jersey County. Additionally, the Council showcased several testimonials from New Jerseyans positively impacted by the arts, and premiered a short film about the Council which featured Governor Tom Kean, Tony Award-Winner Jane Krakowski and U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, among others. The meeting wrapped with a live performance by Rahway native - and star of the recent NBC Live production of The Wiz - Shanice Williams.

Arts Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson stated, “Our predecessors on this Council had big dreams and they established the foundation for the incredible work we get to do today in support of this remarkable arts community. A lot has certainly changed in 50 years, but the values that guide us - excellence, integrity, accountability - all that remains the same. We look forward to many more years of dreaming big.”


About The New Jersey State Council on the Arts

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the Council, please visit


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