Voices from the Field

ArtPride regularly invites guest writers to share new perspectives on issues related to the arts community and the many ways the creative industries impact New Jersey.


Restoring Mandated Funding…A 10-year Arts Advocacy Crusade

Are we ready for 2020? You bet! In 2019, ArtPride pushed hard to correct a problem that has throttled funding for the arts, history, and tourism for 10 years. In December, through aggressive and strategic advocacy, Assembly Bill A3101 passed unanimously in the NJ State Legislature. This bill amends the 2003 law that created the NJ Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee, which specifies funding levels for state...

Unintended Consequences of Legislation – S4204 and Independent Contractors

S4204 /A5936, introduced on November 7, will codify how the government determines whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. This bill is an attempt to increase the focus on misclassification of workers, to not only protect them, but to increase state income tax revenues, and bolster unemployment insurance and workers compensation. A similar law in California, AB5, will go into...

A New View—Camden

The City of Camden , New Jersey has received a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to clean up blighted areas around its transit corridors and to turn those spaces into showcases for public art. Camden was one of only ­five cities across the United States to receive a Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge grant for 2019-2020. The other cities are Anchorage, Alaska; Coral Springs...

I Support the Arts, and I Vote!

When I enter the voting booth, my mind’s eye is flooded with images that feel like a movie trailer. Election lawn signs, TV commercials, and post cards from local candidates float by, along with snippets from recent opinion editorials on issues ranging from local zoning ordinances to gun control, women’s reproductive rights, water quality, and good governance. While these images stream by, it is...

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...

Five Years and Counting! OR The Struggle to Get a licensure Bill Signed Into Law

This journey began five years ago. I was President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Dance Therapy Association. I received a phone call from a New Jersey drama therapist, who asked me if I wanted to work with her toward the important goal of creating a N.J. State License for Drama Therapy and Dance/Movement Therapy. We gathered a team of dedicated professionals who became the N.J. Task...

Unexpected and Welcome Connections

10 Hairy Legs , the New Jersey-based dance company for whom I am the founding Executive Director, is headed to The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (KYGSA) in July 2019 as a guest artist for Musical Theatre and Dance and to perform for their student body. “How did that happen?” you might ask. Unexpected and welcome connections! In March 2017, I headed down to Washington, D.C. as a N.J....

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...

ArtPride New Jersey Offers Testimony at NJ Open Public Budget Hearings

Each year, the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services offers the public an opportunity to bring budget concerns to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. ArtPride trustee Jeremy Johnson testified before the Assembly Committee, and ArtPride staff member Ann Marie Miller testified before both committees. This was an opportunity to remind elected...

Climbing Capitol Hill - The 2019 National Arts Action Summit

New Jersey’s group of 28 delegates joined hundreds of art advocates to visit members of U.S. Congress on March 4 and 5 for the National Arts Action Summit hosted by Americans for the Arts . A full day of training was capped off by the inspiring remarks of Rita Moreno, who delivered the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Early on March 5, the...