ArtPride NJ is an outstanding advocate for the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations throughout New Jersey. Their tireless work in communicating the value of the art as an economic engine, an important aspect of community revitialztion, quality of live and life-long learning. The arts enhance appreciation for diversity, promote civic involvement during a challenging time in this country. ArtPride provides the tools for the arts community to raise legislative and public awareness that the arts are part of the solution in meeting the economic and political challenges of our day.
ArtPride NJ's name says it all. It is about the importance of the arts, pride in NJ's vibrant arts community, and all things related to the arts in New Jersey. ArtPride does a remarkable job of educating and informing the public -- and public officials -- about issues and oppportunities in the arts that affect our state. It's staff, ably led by Ann Marie Miller, is the epitome of professionalism. The ArtPride NJ Foundation works tirelessly to show how the arts can improve the quality of life for all our citizens.
As a member of the Board of ArtPride, the statewide advocacy and service organization to the arts constituency of New Jersey, I have personally been enriched and have in turn been given the skills to assist others in demonstrating the public value of the arts as a means of self-expression and also to facilitate education, community building, economic development, cultural competence, healthcare and well-being, successful aging, childcare and youth at-risk programs.
ArtPride New Jersey does a great job letting people know the value of the arts in our lives, our communities and in the economy.
I have been connected to ArtPride for about 10 years in a variety of capacities: as a funder, I managed a corporate foundation budget that contributed to the ArtPride Foundation; as a chair of a non-profit arts organization; and finally as a member of ArtPride's Board of Trustees. ArtPride has developed a reputation for excellence in its advocacy campaigns that transcends its primary clients, the arts organizations around the state of New Jersey. Legislators, arts advocates and corporate supporters appreciate ArtPride's grassroots approach to advocacy in this state. Several years ago, then Governor James McGreevey threatened to abolish all grants from the state. ArtPride's systematic grassroots campaign to rally not only arts organizations but supporters and patrons is widely credited with forcing Governor McGreevey to back down on his threat to discontinue grants funding for the arts, cultural tourism and history. Moreover, the campaign's success is largely credited with having led to a dedicated funding source for the arts, cultural tourism and history in New Jersey. As a product of the intense public reaction generated by arts advocates, legislation was enacted by New Jersey lawmakers that ensured state funding for the arts from a dedicated revenue stream produced by an occupancy tax known as the Hotel/Motel tax. Even in the financial crises provoked by the stagnant and unpredictable economic environment of the last two years, ArtPride's leadership in its advocacy efforts has protected the arts organizations in New Jersey from the elimination of state funding. ArtPride's use of electronic communications is a model for grassroots mobilizing for the purposes of getting the messages to legislators and the media in a timely fashion. Thousands of letters and emails are largely responsible for a newfound respect for the impact that the arts community has on the economic development of this state. The mantra, "The Arts Mean Business," created by ArtPride as a means of building recognition, and respect, --at the same time that it communicates an important message--to identify the arts as an economic engine with which to be reckoned. A word or two about the leadership of the organization is in order. As Executive Director, Ann Marie Miller's effective, reasoned approach to helping ArtPride craft appropriate messages is a model of professionalism and garners admirers and advocates well beyond the arts community. And, with the forceful, articulate leadership of Mark Packer, the Board and membership are well represented, and highly respected, by legislators and the media. Witness Mark Packer's op-ed piece during the 2009 pre-holiday freeze on state funding proposed by former Governor Corzine as only one example of the tone, and effectiveness of ArtPride's messaging and outreach. In my view, ArtPride has no peer when it comes to grassroots advocacy and the respect it has engendered on behalf of the arts organizations in the state of New Jersey.
This hard-working and astute arts advocacy institution has been invaluable resource for the arts in New Jersey and a highly respected national exemplar. Operating with a remarkably tight budget with a truly effective leader, ArtPride is a great nonprofit. Without question, New Jersey which needs the arts and has had its reputation enormously enhanced by them would not be held in the same esteem without Art Pride, NJ. I write as the former Director of the Montclair Art Museum,
Art Pride tirelessly works to keep the arts alive and healthy in New Jersey. The staff, board and members are amazingly dedicated and get results. Without them the arts would be marginalized.
Examplary organization that has made all the difference in ensuring the arts sector in NJ continue to receive funding from the state. Without ArtPride, New Jersey's arts community would have crashed and burned several times in the past 10 years. In addition, Artpride, through its Discover Jersey Arts campaign, promotes particpation in the arts very successfully. It foster collaboration among a range of arts organizations providing cost effect highly valuable advertising opportunities.