The Burlington County Commissioners announced a record-high 16 different nonprofit groups will receive $152,000 in grant funding this year to support arts programs and initiatives in the county.
The grants were announced after the Commissioners voted to approve the distribution of Local Arts Grants. The awards are expected to help the groups to continue to operate and enrich the county.
The funding for the grants comes from the New Jersey Arts Council and is intended to support visual and performing arts in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Burlington County also will use $100,200 in state funding to sponsor arts programs, exhibits and events through the Burlington County Parks System.
“Burlington County is known for its natural scenery and history, but we’re also proud of our county’s vibrant and diverse arts scene,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “The arts are a big part of what makes our county such a wonderful place to live and raise a family and our Board is pleased to support the arts with our own County programs and by distributing these grants.”
The grants were awarded by the Commissioners based on recommendations by a peer panel within the County Division of Parks. The grants will support a variety of activities and programs, including general operations, advertising, special exhibits, classes and performances.
Twelve of the organizations received County grants in 2022. Two organizations – the Essence of Harmony Choral Society and the West Jersey Chamber Music Society – were new applicants.
The approved Local Arts Grants are:
- Arts Guild NJ, Burlington: $10,000 to provide art supplies and services to create five historically representative murals with renowned mural artists and Burlington area students.
- Bridge Players Theater Company, Burlington: $10,000 for general operating support for the Burlington City-based theater group.
- Burlington County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Mount Holly: $7,000 to support the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Mount Holly and other arts and cultural events in Mount Holly and the Rancocas Valley area, including an Oktoberfest Celebration, Summer Concert Series, Bloomsday Celebration and Samhain Celebration.
- Essence of Harmony Choral Society, Moorestown: $8,000 for general operating support for the Moorestown-based inclusive, community choir.
- Faith in Action, Willingboro: $12,000 to continue the group’s Arts Performance and Awareness Project consisting of performing arts productions, training and workshops designed to connect youth participants to their heritage and their communities.
- Haaf Family Foundation, Inc., Beverly: $7,500 to support Second Annual Beverly Blues Festival, a free one-day blues festival held in Beverly in September.
- In Fact, Inc., Willingboro: $12,000 to support three planned festivals focused on African American folk art and traditions, including the Willingboro Kwanzaa festival.
- Lyceum Studio of Fine and Performing Arts, Burlington: $9,000 to support general operations of the arts education programs at Lyceum Hall Center for Arts in Burlington City.
- Medford Arts Center, Medford: $11,000 for general operating support for the center’s programs, classes, camps and exhibits, including the Medford Arts & Wine & Music Festival, Family Fun Day and 2nd Friday Arts Walk.
- Moorestown Theater Company, Moorestown: $11,000 for general operating support for the company’s productions and activities.
- Servicios Latinos de Burlington County, Westampton: $12,000 to support the organization’s annual Latino Festival and Hispanic Heritage Celebration featuring food, live music, folk dancers, children’s activities and health screenings.
- South Jersey Pops Orchestra, Evesham: $5,000 to support the development of four unique full-orchestra concert programs to be performed in 2023.
- Underground Railroad Museum, Eastampton: $4,000 to support the museum’s three-part African Diaspora Series.
- West Jersey Chamber Music Society, Moorestown: $7,500 for general operating support for this Moorestown-based choir and orchestra.
- West Jersey Music Academy, Moorestown: $11,000 for a special project to expand the academy’s individualized instruction to students with special needs.
- Whitesbog Preservation Trust, Pemberton Township: $10,000 to support musical and visual events highlighting Suningive, the historical home and gardens of Elizabeth White, who teamed with researcher Frederick Coville to cultivate the first domesticated blueberries.
In addition to distributing the grants, the County has its own lineup of arts programs and performances planned in 2023, including the upcoming Burlington County Short Film Festival on April 28-29, the May Faire festival at Historic Smithville Park on May 21 and the Summer Shows and Music in the Park series this summer and fall.
There is also an ever-changing lineup of art exhibits on display at the Smithville Mansion Annex and Workers House Gallery in Historic Smithville Park and the Warden’s House Gallery in Mount Holly.
Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks, said the County receives a big return on its investments in arts programming.
“The arts promote creative expression, critical thinking and thoughtful discussion,” Eckel said. “By investing in programs that help the arts flourish, we’re helping to bring people together and adding to our communities.”