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Posted on: October 26, 2023

Burlington County Commissioners Approve Record Amount of Support for Local Arts Groups

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The Burlington County Commissioners approved 19 nonprofit groups to receive a record total of $315,500 in grant funding this year to support arts programs and initiatives in the county.

The Local Arts grant awards were announced after the Commissioners voted Wednesday to approve the distribution. They are contingent on the execution of a grant agreement with the New Jersey Arts Council, which provides funding for them. This year, the Commissioners added funding to the grants program using $250,000 the County received from the American Rescue Plan Act

By boosting the funding, the Commissioners were able to increase the maximum awards to aid the organizations with their recovery from the COVID pandemic and ensuing economic downturn.  

“The arts are an important part of Burlington County’s culture, economy and the high quality of life residents enjoy here,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “These grants allow arts groups and other nonprofits to continue to operate and provide valuable programs, events and performances that enrich life in our communities.”

Deputy Director Tom Pullion, said the increased funding would help grow stronger, more engaged communities.

“We’ve seen first-hand how the dollars we invest in arts and culture provide returns in jobs, business activity, increased quality of life and community development,” said Pullion. “Our increased support will not only help these organizations and their activities, it will help improve our communities and bring residents closer together.”

State Senator Troy Singleton applauded the Commissioners for increasing the County’s financial support for local organizations that are cultivating the arts in Burlington County.

“The arts serve as economic drivers for our downs and local communities, and the County’s increased support will provide a boost to those organizations that are creating, teaching and promoting the arts in our county,” Senator Singleton said. “This investment will help preserve cultural assets, bring people together and improve our overall economic outlook.” 

The grant recipients were selected by the Commissioners based on recommendations by a peer panel. They are expected to support a variety of activities and programs, including general operations, advertising, special exhibits, classes and performances.

All 19 organizations that applied for grants will receive funding. Sixteen of the organizations have previously received arts grants from the County. Three organizations – Bordentown Arts, the Roebling Museum and the Timbuctoo Historical Society – were new applicants that received arts grants for the first time.

The following organizations were approved to receive grants:

Bordentown Arts, Bordentown: $9,000 to support the creation of a large mural on the exterior wall of the Woodlin Lodge on East Park Street. The mural will depict people, places and events relevant to Bordentown’s African-American history.

Bridge Players Theater Company, Burlington: $16,000 for general operating support for the Burlington City-based theater group.

Burlington County Saint Patrick’s Parade Committee, Mount Holly: $21,000 to support the organization’s yearly series of arts and cultural events, including the St. Patrick’s Parade through Mount Holly, the Irish Festival, Oktoberfest Celebration, Summer Concert series and Bloomsday Celebration.

Essence of Harmony Choral Society, Moorestown: $27,000 to support operations of inclusive and diverse community choir, including purchasing music, fees for accompanying musicians, public relations materials, travel expenses and Braille programs.

Golden Eagle Community Band, Mount Holly: $4,500 to support general operations of this all-volunteer, nonprofit community band. 

Haaf Family Arts Foundation, Beverly: $11,000 to support 3rd annual Beverly Blues Festival highlighting the Blues musicians and the Riverfront Park.

In Fact Inc., Willingboro: $13,000 to support five public events centered on African American folk arts, culture and community empowerment.

Lyceum Studio of Fine and Performing Arts, Burlington: $18,000 for general operating support for the studio’s programming and classes for all ages and abilities.

Medford Arts Center, Medford: $27,000 for general operating support for the community arts studio and gallery, including the community events and workshops.

Mill Race Village Arts & Preservation, Mount Holly: $25,000 to hire artists and entertainers for the annual Mount Holly Fire & Ice Festival featuring ice carvers, musicians, glass blowers, aerialists, costume play performers, culinary artists and dancers.

Moorestown Theater Company. Moorestown: $25,000 for general operating support  for the company’s productions and activities.

Roebling Museum, Florence: $18,000 to support the museum’s plans to create a sustainable artist in residence program to support local artists and draw attention to historic landmarks in Burlington County. 

Servicios Latinos de Burlington County, Westampton: $20,000 to support the nonprofit’s Latino Festival and Hispanic Heritage Celebration featuring food, live music, painting folk dancers, children’s activities and health screenings.

South Jersey Pops Orchestra, Evesham: $5,000 to support development of four unique full orchestra concert programs to be performed in 2024.

Timbuctoo Historical Society, Westampton: $12,000 to assist with the development of a children’s book about Timbuctoo, an antebellum free Black community established in Westampton in 1826.

Underground Railroad Museum, Eastampton: $20,000 to support the museum’s African Diaspora Festival and other activities.

West Jersey Chamber Museum Society, Moorestown: $8,000 in general operating support for the Moorestown-based choir and orchestra, including its live-stream concerts and complimentary tickets to low-income individuals and youth-serving organizations.

West Jersey Music Academy, Moorestown: $15,000 to aid the organization’s music instruction program for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Whitesbog Preservation Trust, Pemberton Township: $21,000 to support the group’s 2024 live music performances and arts workshops focused on the Pinelands history, arts, nature and historic Whitesbog Village.

In addition to distributing the grants, the County has its own lineup of art exhibits, programs and performances planned in 2024, including the Burlington County Short Film Festival, the May Faire Festival, Arts After Dark festival, Autumn Lands and the popular Summer Concerts series. 

The County also plans to continue the new Art & Coffee Break series featuring a fun art activity, live music and free coffee and refreshments at the Smithville Mansion Annex Gallery at Historic Smithville Park.

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