The New Jersey State Council on the Arts held a public meeting Tuesday, March 16, where nearly $750,000 was awarded to 50 New Jersey nonprofit organizations through a recovery program that will help the arts sector prepare for a full-scale recovery.

The COVID Critical Needs Program (CCN) is a single year grant program that provides support for COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) and safeguarding needs for arts nonprofits. The CCN Program will financially assist New Jersey organizations with their efforts to ensure their venues are compliant with all safety standards as they welcome the public back inside.

“The arts and entertainment industry has been among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “And yet, over the past year, New Jersey’s arts community has adapted to continue reaching people throughout the state and across the globe at a time when the power of the arts has been needed most. I am proud to work closely with the Arts Council to help ensure our state’s arts organizations can reopen and welcome audiences in a safe environment.”

The program was spearheaded by Council Program Officer Diane Felcyn. She said, “Many New Jersey arts organizations have remained shuttered for the majority of the last year. While our community has adapted to offering virtual programming and limited in-person attendance, we cannot truly begin to rebuild until we can do what the arts do best – bring people together for a shared experience.”

She continued, “By creating a grant program to support COVID-specific updates for physical venues and locations, we are helping organizations take the crucial step of creating a safe environment for audiences, artists, crew and staff.”

Out of the 50 nonprofits chosen to receive funding through the CCN, six are located within Mercer County, including Trenton’s own Passage Theatre.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Murphy and his Administration for their ongoing support of the arts in New Jersey,” said Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson. “The increase in state funds the Council received this year allowed us to continue our previous grant commitments, while also giving us the means to provide much needed COVID-specific recovery and relief funding.”

She continued, “The Council recognizes the important role the arts will play in our state’s overall recovery, and this program is an essential component in that work.”

In addition to the COVID Critical Needs grants, the State Arts Council also announced that 58 arts organizations will be receiving over $2.3 million in General Operating/General Program Support as part of the Council’s priority to aid the field in COVID recovery and relief efforts.

CLICK HERE to see the complete list of the COVID Critical Needs grant recipients.