New Jersey Theatre Alliance Announces Expanded Partnership with NJ State Council on the Arts


originally published: 09/07/2022

New Jersey Theatre Alliance Announces Expanded Partnership with NJ State Council on the Arts

PHOTO: John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Kaleigh Brendle, Heather Brendel, Allison Tratner, Executive Director for New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Mary Eileen Fouratt, Program Officer for New Jersey State Council on the Arts posing for a picture while Kaleigh Brendel accepts the Champion Award

New Jersey Theatre Alliance has announced a renewed and expanded partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to provide general services and support to its member theatres. The expanded partnership also includes increased support for the Cultural Access Network Project (CAN), a program to assist the state’s cultural organizations as they make programs and services accessible to people with disabilities and older adults; New Jersey Arts and Culture Administrators of Color (NJACAC), a network of professional arts administrators of color dedicated to advancing efforts related to equity, diversity, and inclusion within New Jersey’s arts community; and the Playwrights Showcase, a program to support and highlight the work of the Arts Council’s most recent playwriting Fellowship recipients.

In a recent press release, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts announced that they awarded more than $28 million in grants to support over 700 arts organizations, projects, and artists throughout the state.

“The State Arts Council is proud to support the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and build on our decades of strategic service together,” said Allison Tratner, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “Our State’s nonprofit arts industry is dynamic – always evolving, attracting millions of dollars and people to our communities year-round – and programs like those of the Alliance help make sure we’re welcoming everyone in.” 

An increase in funds are going to the Cultural Access Network, a 31-year partnership between The Alliance and The Arts Council, to support opportunities in training audio describers and sign language interpreters, especially theatrical interpreters to support and benefit audience members that are blind and have low vision, as well as audience members who are deaf. 


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“The NJTA is excited to partner with The Arts Council to develop new training programs to expand the number of audio describers and sign language interpreters in the State. Offering a comprehensive training program will allow us to expand the pool of skilled providers which will then provide Blind/low vision and Deaf audiences greater access to the many wonderful theater opportunities in NJ,” says Beth Prevor NJ Theater Alliance, Access Coordinator.

”Thanks to our partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, we have been able to make significant strides in the area of accessibility in the arts over the last three decades,” said Mary Eileen Fouratt, Access Coordinator for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “The Network has been an invaluable resource for the sector, and the Council looks forward to expanding this initiative to provide increased access to the arts for everyone.”

CAN, a nationally recognized initiative, has been viewed as a role model program, supporting theaters and cultural organizations, in making their programming and facilities accessible for patrons with disabilities and older adults.

Additional funds will be distributed to the New Jersey Arts and Culture Administrators of Color (NJACAC), which provides opportunities for learning and networking for established and emerging leaders of color. This program, which is also carried out in partnership with ArtPride New Jersey and Newark Symphony Hall, is a network of over 100 professional arts administrators of color dedicated to advancing efforts related to equity, diversity, and inclusion within New Jersey’s arts community.

Support will also be provided to The Arts Council’s most recent playwriting fellows to provide them professional development, showcase, and networking opportunities with the Alliance’s member theatres.

Marshall Jones, II, New Jersey Theatre Alliance Board President, Associate Dean for Equity, Associate Professor – Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, the state university of NJ ends by saying, “We are so thankful for the continued support of the State Arts Council. The arts have the potential to alter the trajectory of so many lives, and it’s pleasing to know that the state and the artistic community recognize this important fact.”

The Cultural Access Network Project, New Jersey Arts & Culture Administrators of Color Network, and Playwrights Showcase are co-sponsored projects of New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, New Jersey Historical Commission, and contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including Amazon, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grunin Foundation, , The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, City National Bank, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, OceanFirst Foundation,, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, and The Union Foundation.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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