TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey State Council on the Arts held its first public meeting of 2023 today, where nearly $2 million was awarded to 140 New Jersey artists through the Council’s Individual Artist Fellowship program.
The Fellowships are competitive awards to New Jersey artists in 12 rotating disciplines granted solely on independent peer panel assessment of work samples. The anonymous process is focused on artistic quality, and awards may be used to help artists produce new work and advance their careers. New Jersey artists applied for awards this year in the categories of choreography, crafts, music composition, photography, playwriting/screenwriting, poetry, and sculpture. This program is carried out in partnership with Mid Atlantic Arts.
At the Council’s Annual Meeting last July, the Council voted to authorize an unprecedented investment of $2 million in the Individual Artist Fellowship program. Through that commitment of funding, this year’s Fellowship cohort is the largest one the Council has added to its distinguished list of Fellows in over 30 years. In order to further support the increased number of artists applying to the program, the Council developed a new level of awards in addition to the Fellowship Award. For the first time, the Council announced Finalist Awards. The Finalists Awards are given to those applicants who scored highly, but just below the cutoff to receive a Fellowship.
“I am proud to work closely with the State Arts Council to support New Jersey’s arts sector,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “And I am especially proud of the Council’s longstanding commitment to provide direct funding to the many talented, innovative artists who call New Jersey home. We know that kind of support is not available to artists in every state, and the fact that the Council has supported the Artist Fellowship program for over 50 years truly exemplifies the importance and value of our state’s artist community.”
Speaking to the significance of this year’s funding, Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson said, “It is of the utmost importance to the Council that our state’s artists are given the tools and resources they need to create – to work fully as an artist. With the increased funding for this year’s Fellowship program, we’ve been able to increase the amounts awarded, providing – in some cases – grant awards that are truly life-changing. These funds allow artists the opportunity to focus more time to their craft, creating the beautiful, thought-provoking work New Jersey artists are known for.”
In addition to announcing this year's Artist Fellowships, the meeting also included the announcement of $10,000 in funding to ArtPride New Jersey Foundation to support a new Compensation Data Survey. In an effort to prioritize and adopt pay equity policies, this survey will provide greater insight into the salaries of arts workers in all artistic disciplines throughout the state. This study will be specifically designed for New Jersey’s arts sector, providing detailed data that will be made available to all arts workers and employers in the field at no cost.
“The arts industry in New Jersey includes hundreds of arts businesses that employ thousands of artists and arts workers in capacities as diverse as the people themselves,” said Allison Tratner, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “Data from this survey will help those on both sides of the hiring process understand and address issues of access and equity. Attracting and retaining talented people is critical to the future of our sector, and we’re excited to move this effort forward.”
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 and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. 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 believes the arts are central to every element we value most in a modern society including: human understanding; cultural and civic pride; strong communities; excellent schools; lifelong learning; creative expression; and economic opportunity. To learn more about the Council, please visit www.artscouncil.nj.gov.