The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation will honor Pleasantville, N.J. educator Tamar LaSure-Owens for her outstanding arts advocacy at the 35th annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education. This year’s Awards, which promote awareness and appreciation for the arts, will take place on Wednesday, May 27 at the Patriots Theatre of The War Memorial in Trenton.  

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Each year, ArtPride New Jersey recognizes an adult who connects the broader public community to arts education by increasing awareness of how the arts positively affect a school and/or school district. A Basic Skills Intervention Teacher at Pleasantville High School, Tamar Owens is one fierce arts education “fixer.” After 5 minutes in her company you witness an exuberance that stems from her deep passion for the arts.  That energy is now being channeled to restore arts programs in her district with an army of advocates on the ground and at the top levels of the board of education. LaSure-Owens recruited a diverse group to restore arts programming in their district. With the help of a nearby arts group, the Pleasantville community was able to build internal capacity and use current facilities more effectively to keep arts-motivated students in its schools. “ArtPride is delighted to present this year’s Arts Advocate Award to Tamar LaSure-Owens at the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education,” said Adam Perle, ArtPride New Jersey’s President and CEO. “Tamar is proof that one person can make a difference by building a groundswell of community support for arts education.  Her leadership will provide new opportunities for students in Pleasantville schools, and countless individuals will benefit from a strong visual and performing arts program.” Recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the winners, the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education are presented each year to approximately 80 students and 20 educators or leaders.

National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts.  The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education, and whose leadership nurtures the development of students in the arts across the state. The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Forensic League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; VSA New Jersey and Young Audiences/New Jersey.