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Morris County commits $600,000 to MPAC Performing Arts School

ARPA Funds Will Revive Pandemic-Hit Programs for 40,000 Students & Families

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners and the Mayo Performing Arts Center Thursday announced that Morris County has committed $600,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to rebuild and re-establish MPAC’s educational programs and renowned Performing Arts School, which had been serving 40,000 students and families in the region prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution last week committing $600,000 to bring this important educational activity back to life. About 80 percent of the students who benefit annually from MPAC’s education and outreach programs are from right here in Morris County, including the acclaimed ‘Miracle Project,’ which has been opening doors to the creative potential of children with autism and other special needs. The work of MPAC and the Performing Arts School must continue,” said Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw.

The funding grant was outlined during a press conference inside the Starlight Room at MPAC on South Street in Morristown. Shaw was joined by Deputy Commissioner Deborah Smith, Commissioner John Krickus and MPAC representatives, patrons and students.

Zion Pearson of Morristown, a 12-year old student of the Performing Arts School, provided a special singing performance and spoke in support of the MPAC education programs. His performance and a video of the 15-minute press conference may be found here.

“Mayo Performing Arts Center thanks the Morris County Commissioners for their generous grant of $600,000 of American Rescue Plan funding for MPAC education programs.  This funding will help MPAC to recover from devastating financial losses caused by the pandemic, and restore and expand MPAC’s extensive arts education programs, which affect over 40,000 children and their families annually in Morris County and the surrounding region,” Allison Larena, President & CEO of MPAC.

MPAC’s education programs serve schoolchildren, adults and families at the Center in Morristown and locations around the region.  Tens of thousands of students and their families are involved in theatre classes, performances, school time shows, workshops, seminars, student recognition programs and enrichment opportunities. The overall education plan is to provide cultural enrichment for young audiences, educators and the public, and to enhance the community.

“MPAC’s education programs strive to make the performing arts a vital component of every child’s upbringing and to spark a lifelong interest in music, dance and culture,” said Cathy Roy, MPAC Education Director.  “The Morris County Commissioners’ $600,000 grant from American Rescue Plan funding will ensure that our programs will be sustained and can impact more Morris County children.”

Until the pandemic forced a reduction in MPAC activity and left many programs struggling to operate virtually, the education program had an increasing presence throughout the region, providing schoolchildren and adults with a variety of transformative programs led by talented and nurturing teaching artists that adapt to new current trends and challenges.

“No enterprise was more severely impacted by the pandemic then performing arts centers, and as MPAC is such a treasure for Morris County, they became a priority for assistance. This center is an absolute jewel in Morris County, particularly the educational programs that will be revived through this commitment by our board. The programs enhance the lives and opportunities for tens of thousands of students and their families, which in turn enhances our entire community. We are pleased these good works will continue,” said Commissioner John Krickus.

“Young Zion Pearson demonstrated for everyone today the type of talent being nurtured by MPAC’s educational programs and the opportunities those programs afford to young people throughout Morris County. From visual arts and music, to poetry and performance field trips, these programs enhance the lives of thousands of adults and young people alike each year. Our commitment to help MPAC continue these programs is in keeping with Morris County’s long tradition of embracing and supporting the arts in this region,” said Commissioner Deborah Smith.

To learn more about MPAC and the Performing Arts School, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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