Voices from the Field Blog

Beyond the Boundaries: Arts Education through a Pandemic

“We always have a choice of how we respond to the crisis. That’s what arts does: it gives students a voice.” Since the onset of the pandemic and throughout the past year, the landscape of arts education has changed dramatically. At schools throughout the state of New Jersey, students were forced to communicate and create from home, or through major restrictions. However, in spite of this blow,...

Development + Work Experience + Stipend = Internship  

I was matched with ArtPride New Jersey after being selected to participate in the Diversity in Arts Leadership program by Americans for the Arts. This year, DIAL matched undergraduate students whose backgrounds are underrepresented in the arts to select arts organizations in New Jersey, New York City, and Nashville. I will be using my experience with DIAL as a prerequisite when applying for future...

Get Involved in the Word, Plant a Seed, and Watch It Grow

Words are important. Words are all around us and with you right now as you read this. Words, to me, are among the most beautiful gifts that I have ever gotten from or given to anyone. I believe this so strongly that I’ve dedicated myself to ensuring that words play an important part in the lives of others. I currently serve as my hometown’s Poet Laureate. As the first ever poet laureate of...

Passing the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund

This past November 3, Jersey City voted to create an Arts and Culture Trust Fund, becoming the first municipality in New Jersey to create a dedicated tax to support the arts. The trust will create funding sources for arts organizations in the city, and will support arts organizations and artists that benefit the culture, well-being, and economy of Jersey City, as well as provide increased...

Quarantine, Social Protest, Poetic Imagination, or How I Learned What I Learned

I am a multidisciplinary, multi-hyphenated artist who straddles the worlds of teaching artist and arts administrator; theater maker, poet, and musician. Most folx would say I have a bold imagination and vision; I’m a proactive problem solver who strives to cultivate welcoming learning communities that celebrate the everyday and everyone’s authentic voices. So when given the task to create pilot...

Zimmerli Responds to Community Needs with "Arts at Home/Artes en Casa"

The end of the school year brought to a close to a time unlike any other. Like all of our peers, when the shutdown came, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers had to unexpectedly pivot major programs, like our partnership with New Brunswick Public Schools that would have brought every 2nd grader in the district to the museum (nearly 800 students in all), followed by teaching artist visits to their...

The Artists, the Teachers, the Dreamers: A Pandemic Journey

The pandemic: an ever-growing entity in our world that we continue to learn about. In many ways, it's unpredictable and something we read about day in and day out on social media posts, blogs or articles. (Funny enough, welcome to this little blog, I hope you will stick around to hear my story!) Before COVID-19, the world and its people were in a flow -- a pace that felt to be normal in everyone’s...

Silver Linings

Back in February, when things were “normal,” Gracie, 12 years old, and Tim, 18 years old, set off to begin their 10th (or is it 11th?) season of Young Performer’s Workshop. They’ve participated in so many seasons and it is such a part of our daily lives, I’ve lost count. YPW, as the regulars call it, is a pre-professional theatre training program for budding thespians ages 8-18 run by the...

Paper Mill Playhouse Introduces Musical Theater Common Prescreen

Since 2015, there has been a 66% increase in total submissions to college-level musical theatre programs. For early vetting in these institutions, students must submit video auditions for consideration to schools, each with its own audition criteria—leading students to create several (sometimes upwards of 30) media files to qualify for application. On June 26, 2019, Paper Mill Playhouse announced...

An Arts Advocacy Journey

Arts Advocate is never a title I thought I would hear when someone described me. Growing up, I always enjoyed being in plays and watching a few musicals, but never once did I think I would be getting on a train to D.C. 1-2 times a year and talk to members of U.S. Congress about the importance of the arts. Hello! My name is Zach Bates. I am an alumnus of the Gloucester County Institute of...