The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative and the arts community’s rally for the arts to Bergen County’s Board of Commissioners and County Executive James Tedesco III resulted in increased funding for the arts. The Bergen County Board of Commissioners allocated $500,000 for the arts from the $261 million American Rescue Plan (ARP).
Rally for the Arts
During the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen 5% spring campaign for the arts, the community showed their support for the value of the arts. They promoted their essential role in Bergen County’s COVID-19 recovery. Furthermore, arts organizations, artists, and patrons of the arts contacted the County Executive and the County Commissioners. They also attended the Commissioners’ meeting on April 20 to show their support.
The arts remained underfunded in Bergen County. In response, the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen submitted a formal letter to the County Executive and the County Commissioners. The local arts community provided feedback. The rally for the arts letter proposed 5% of ARP funds directed for a significant grant program. The program would support arts organizations and artists, as well as the creation of a Destination Marketing Organization. In addition, it recommended supporting creative placemaking and public art events.
New Grant Program to Roll Out in September
In early September, Bergen County aims to distribute information about the new grant program. Furthermore, the County estimates the earliest access to an online application portal will be October 6. In the interim, they suggested arts organizations and businesses consider the rescue program run by its Economic Development office. For more information, visit the Bergen County’s ARP site.
The ARP funds provide an opportunity to ‘build back better’, while positively impacting local jobs, the economy, and the community. “Rallying together, we elevated the arts, as an effective and vital sector boosting local economies, aiding in good mental health, and building back the community. Although the full 5% allocation requested did not occur, ArtsBergen continues to be encouraged. A large number of members from the arts came together. They were heard,” said Danielle De Laurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.
A $500,0000 grant program prioritizing the arts benefits both individual artists and non-profit arts organizations. This is a big accomplishment. The arts community’s strong advocacy showed our governing officials the importance and value of the arts to the economy, vibrancy, and well-being of Bergen County.”
For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, ArtsBergen, and the rally for the arts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-568-5608.