When the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA) awarded more than $ 35 million in grants to more than 700 arts organizations and artists across the state for public programming initiatives earlier this year, the College of Performing Arts (CPA) and Rowan University Art Gallery were not only among the recipients, but have seen increases over previous years and extensions of existing multi-year grants.
“This is a testament to the Council’s confidence in Rowan’s ability to connect world-class artists to our communities both during the pandemic and beyond,” said Debbie Shapiro, who curates and develops audiences for the series. Marie Rader presentations.
“We have reinvented the way we work,” noted Mary Salvante, director of the galleries and exhibitions program, reflecting on the important role the arts played in people’s lives during the pandemic. “The state understands how vital the arts are to the community. “
Indeed, New Jersey’s nonprofit arts organizations have lost over $ 100 million and counting due to closures, cancellations and lost revenue related to the pandemic. When the arts sector is open and thriving, it generates over $ 660 million in economic activity statewide, employs nearly 22,000 workers and employs over 8.3 million people who stay in hotels, eat and shop locally. These awards were part of the largest state endowment the Council has ever received in its 55-year history.
Alongside the professors who taught distance education in the 20-21 academic year, Shapiro and Salvante both kept the university arts programming going in virtual and creative ways amid blockages and social distancing. In addition to offering cultural activities to their audiences, another important group was served: artists.
“We kept the commitment and the work of the professional artists and that was very important,” Shapiro said, while Salvante added: “It was important to present the work to the viewers, but more importantly, the artists have could continue to create and present their work. “
With this renewed confidence and these funds as a source of inspiration, both are excited about the possibilities ahead. Shapiro is inspired not only to continue building the visibility of the performance series, but also to further explore what it means to craft impactful artist engagements on campus and across the region. Salvante looks forward to expanding the artistic education aspect of the gallery and expanding further into the community.
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts recognizes the exceptional work of organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, inclusion and access. With this recognition for both the performing arts and the gallery, Salvante and Shapiro see this as validation to address these ideals and focus on continuing to elevate Rowan as a cultural destination for the region and l ‘State as a whole.
Further recognizing the College of Performing Arts as an important asset in arts education, the Council also this year awarded a grant to the CPA to manage the National Diversity in the Arts Leadership Internship (DIAL) program, alongside Americans for the Arts (AFTA) in southern New Jersey. This includes assisting with professional development sessions and cultural offerings, as well as distributing funds to host organizations, vendors, consultants, partners and attendees. The 10-week summer program pairs arts interns from under-represented backgrounds with organizations. The College has also received a grant under the Council’s Arts Education Special Initiative (AESI) program, which supports the development of new arts education programs dedicated to direct learning of art, art forms and processes of creation and expression of art. The College implemented Project Reach in collaboration with Rowan Community Music School (CMS) and the Department of Music. In its initial effort, the project welcomes five students from the school district of Bridgeton, NJ for weekly classes through CMS this year, as well as entry to Rowan’s summer music camp and mentorship from the faculty member of the Department of music Adrian Barnes.
“These partnerships reflect the College’s commitment to diversity in the arts as well as our commitment to our regional arts community,” said Dr. Rick Dammers, Dean of the College of the Performing Arts.
For more information on the performing and visual arts programming, visit the College of Performing Arts box office or the Rowan University Art Gallery.