TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey State Council on the Arts awarded more than $16.3 million in grants to more than 700 arts organizations, projects, and artists throughout the state. The awards were announced at the Arts Council’s 54th Annual Meeting, which was held virtually due to ongoing COVID restrictions.

“I am in awe of the innovation our arts community has shown in the face of the tremendous struggles of these last several months, and I am incredibly proud of the State Arts Council for their responsive grants and services to help the sector every step of the way,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “Today’s awards will support tens of thousands of arts professionals, and hundreds of organizations at work in communities statewide. Especially as we build toward a full recovery, the arts are critical to New Jersey’s economy and overall quality of life.”

According to a recent collaborative study of the arts sector, led by ArtPride NJ, New Jersey nonprofit arts organizations have lost more than $100 million and counting due to pandemic related closures, cancellations, and lost contributed and earned revenue. And the work force of artists, technicians, and administrators at the heart of it all have been laid off or furloughed, many without affordable healthcare coverage.

“The situation is dire for many, and we are grateful to Governor Murphy and the legislature for recognizing the need for robust public support of the arts right now,” said Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson. “We’re witnessing some of the most innovative and successful adaptations of artistic engagement – necessitated by crisis and fueled by skill and passion. But passion doesn’t keep the lights on or put food on the table. New Jersey’s creative industries are at risk.”

When the arts sector is open and thriving, it generates more than $660 million in economic activity statewide, employs nearly 22,000 workers, and engages more than 8.3 million people who stay in hotels, and eat and shop locally. For more on the important role the arts play in recovery, visit KeepJerseyArtsAlive.org.