MORRIS COUNTY — Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that appropriates $70 million of federal funds to support arts and culture organizations was advanced by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
“Arts and culture organizations suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated shutdowns,” said Bucco. “Although the pandemic is over, many of these groups continue to struggle financially due to lost revenues and shrinking audiences. This legislation provides grants to qualified organizations to support their work and safeguard against future financial uncertainties.”
“Live venues for the performing arts, museums, movie theaters, and other art organizations attract audiences from all over to the towns that host these facilities,” Bucco added. “New Jerseyans and tourists that travel to shows and art exhibits spend millions of dollars in our restaurants and downtown communities. We must support these facilities as they are an economic engine for our state.”
Many non-profit and for-profit art and culture organizations lost significant revenue during the pandemic and lacked financial cash reserves.
Under this bill, qualified organizations could receive money from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund to offset pandemic revenue losses and bolster cash reserves to support future operations.
Bucco’s bill, S-2800, requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to administer allocated funds as grants in consultation with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. $50 million would be awarded to support the financial recovery, resiliency, and growth of qualifying arts and culture organizations, $10 million of which would be dedicated to art education organizations that offer programs for students in public schools.
The remaining $20 million would be distributed as grants to beautify and enrich public spaces.
This will support the installation of artistic paintings on roadways and sidewalks, educational signage, gardening and landscaping, and other cultural projects from qualified organizations.
“Billions of dollars are sitting in pandemic relief funds waiting to be utilized by people and groups that continue to struggle to recover from the pandemic,” Bucco noted. “Art organizations provide immense value to the community through their expression and creativity. Our legislation provides an opportunity to support their work in making our communities and schools a better place.”