As we head into the unknown of the New Year, we’d like to Remember

…the many great talents we’ve highlighted on State of the Arts. It’s an honor to record the voices of artists of all kinds, and to document their creative impact on us all in short films—a process that becomes even more meaningful when they depart this world.

After choreographer Nai-Ni Chen died at age 62 in a tragic accident late last year, producer Eric Schultz delved into the State of the Arts archives and recorded new footage to produce a beautiful documentary celebrating Nai-Ni’s many accomplishments. We also remembered the inimitable mime Yass Hakoshima, who died in July at age 93, with a look back at decades of his work as seen on State of the Arts. More recently, news of poet Gerald Stern’s death at age 97, painter Philip Pearlstein’s at 98, and clarinetist Stanley Drucker’s at 93 prompted us to share our stories about each of these great artists—and to consider whether creative people really do lead the longest lives.

We also pause to Celebrate

…the national honors bestowed in 2022 on artists we’ve featured on State of the Arts.

Billy Hart at 2022 NEA Jazz Masters ceremonyBilly Hart

Writer and Rutgers-Newark professor John Keene won the National Book Award for Poetry—we produced a story about John in 2019 when he won the MacArthur Genius grant. Curator, photographer, and historian Deb Willis received the $200,000 Don Tyson Prize—we met Deb when her seminal exhibition Posing Beauty was at the New Jersey State Museum. And a story about 2022 NEA Jazz Master and Montclair resident Billy Hart premiered on our May episode—we followed the legendary drummer to a gig at New York’s iconic jazz club, Birdland.

Kea speaking to visitors to the ark, Bergen St. and 14th Ave., Newark, NJ 1987 Photo by Camilo VergaraKea Tawana speaking to visitors to the ark, photo by Camilo Vergara

State of the Arts received some honors in 2022 as well! The series received multiple New York Emmy nominations, and a win for producer Susan Wallner’s feature about Rose Marie McCoy, a trailblazing New Jersey-based composer who wrote hit songs for Elvis, Aretha, and Ike and Tina Turner among many others. And, our documentary Kea’s Ark aired on public televisions across the nation, and can now be streamed or downloaded on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and PBS Passport.

Now, to the New Year!

Members of the Chivalrous CricketsMembers of the Chivalrous Crickets, featured on an upcoming State of the Arts

We’ll see you in 2023 with new episodes featuring more of the great artists and creative productions all around New Jersey! Wishing the very best to you, and please keep in touch with your comments and ideas for the show.


Susan Wallner & Eric Schultz

Series Producers, State of the Arts