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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State


(Trenton, NJ) - The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is pleased to announce that long-running television program State of the Arts has been nominated for two 2021 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards. The State Arts Council, encouraging excellence and public engagement in the arts since 1966, is proud to co-produce State of the Arts with Stockton University, in cooperation with PCK Media.

Since its premiere in 1981, State of the Arts has been nominated for multiple New York and Mid-Atlantic Emmys, winning a total of 32. The 2021 nominations include Eric Schultz’s W. Carl Burger: A Painter’s Life and Susan Wallner’s Kea’s Ark – both of which have been nominated in the long form arts program category.

“For 40 years, State of the Arts has highlighted the rich diversity of New Jersey’s vivid arts community,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “These Emmy nominations are a testament to the artistic excellence that can be found throughout our state. I am proud to support the State Arts Council and celebrate the inspiring, dynamic stories State of the Arts continues to tell.”

W. Carl Burger: A Painter’s Life explores the journey and work of a much-loved New Jersey artist and teacher as he celebrates his 95th birthday. The German-born artist came to the United States at age one in 1926. As an 18-year-old American soldier, Carl returned to Pforzheim, the decimated German city of his birth, during WWII. After the war, he became a revered professor at Kean University. Throughout the documentary, we hear from a host of his friends, fellow artists, students, and New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy.

“It was an honor to be a part of the State of the Arts documentary about Carl’s life and work, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to display one of Carl’s breathtaking paintings at Drumthwacket,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “I applaud the State Arts Council, Stockton University, and PCK Media on this well-deserved and incredible achievement and look forward to New Jersey’s continued enrichment and exposure to the arts through this important program.”

Kea’s Ark features the story of Kea Tawana - a self-taught engineer and artist who built a 3-story ark in Newark’s Central Ward in the mid-1980s, using building materials salvaged from an area fast becoming an urban wasteland. It no longer exists, but Kea’s Ark remains a powerful symbol of hope in Newark and beyond. Featured in the documentary are rare archival clips of Kea Tawana and her ark, as well as interviews with people who knew her including the photographer and historian Camilo José Vergara and artist Willie Cole.

Kea’s Ark is a production of PCK Media in cooperation with Stockton University. Underwriting was provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and the New Jersey Historical Commission. Kea Tawana’s work is presented in cooperation with Gallery Aferro and The Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University-Newark.

The 2021 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award winners will be announced on September 25th. W. Carl Burger: A Painter's Life will air September 18-23 on NJ PBS, WNET, and ALL ARTS, and can be viewed on demand on the State of the Arts website. Kea's Ark will be distributed nationwide in 2022 by American Public Television. Visit for previews and more information.

About State of the Arts

State of the Arts has been taking you on location with the most creative people in New Jersey and beyond since 1981. The New York and Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award-winning series features documentary shorts about an extraordinary range of artists – musicians, dancers, playwrights, poets, painters, photographers, and more. State of the Arts visits New Jersey’s best performance spaces – from little-known jazz clubs to outdoor festivals to the state’s exceptional professional theaters. Through our video features, newsletters, and social media, State of the Arts is on the frontlines of the creative and cultural worlds of New Jersey, one of the nation’s most diverse and populous states.

State of the Arts is a cornerstone program of NJ PBS, with episodes co-produced by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Stockton University, in cooperation with PCK Media. Additional funding is provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, and Friends of State of the Arts. Learn more at

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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