NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Thursday signed into law S-3521, which provides $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for arts and cultural venues throughout New Jersey. The bill focuses on providing aid to arts and cultural organizations in need of support as a result of the public health emergency.
The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s small businesses recover from the year-long pandemic.
“Our arts and cultural establishments are among the best in the nation, but they have faced difficult challenges over the past year,” Murphy said. “It’s time we lifted up these organizations and venues to ensure they are still with us as we emerge from the pandemic and look to once again experience the joy they offer.”
“We are grateful that Governor Murphy and our state legislature value the arts and are entrusting the Arts Council to make these critical investments in a comprehensive, equitable statewide recovery,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way, whose department includes the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “These relief dollars will put thousands back to work, boost the economy, and help ensure New Jersey’s arts industry survives to safely do what they do best – bring people together to dream, learn, heal and create.”
“One of the greatest sacrifices the COVID-19 pandemic has required is the significant scaling back of in-person art events and performances. This has been a loss for our communities, our culture, and most of all performers and the venues that host them,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “The bill Governor Murphy has signed today will be crucial to ensuring we maintain and grow the thriving creative communities that make New Jersey special as we recover from the pandemic.”
The relief aid will be administered by both the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Specifically, the bill makes available $7.5 million to the EDA for for-profit organizations and $7.5 million to the State Council on the Arts for non-profit organizations. To date, the NJEDA has distributed more than $250 million in aid to some 55,000 businesses across the state.
The signing was held at the West End Arts Center in Long branch and hosted by the New Jersey Repertory Company, which was founded in 1997 in an effort to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage.