According to the 2017 Arts Education Census, 99% of New Jersey schools provide access to arts education, illustrating the importance New Jersey places upon maintaining creative spaces for students.

The Arts Education Census Project offers pivotal insight into the success of arts education throughout New Jersey, urging accountability amongst school districts to ensure that creative classrooms are being supported. Back in 2012, we were there to see the presentation of New Jersey’s second ever Arts Education Census, the first one occurring five years prior. This year marks the release of more data with the 2021 census.

“At its very core, this is about determining to what degree students are able to participate in the arts as required by the state core curriculum content standards,” Arts Ed NJ co-founder Bob Morrison explained in 2012. After nearly two decades with Arts Ed NJ, Bob Morrison will be stepping down. State of the Arts would like to express our gratitude to Bob for his years with Arts Ed NJ, and to extend our welcome to the new Executive Director, Wendy Liscow.

A crucial part of education, art classes provide skills that hold lifelong impact. “Businesspeople hire folks with arts experience for a reason,” says Janet Brown, former Executive Director of Grantmakers in the Arts. “They want independent thinkers, they want people who can stand up in front of a group of people and express themselves, they want somebody who’s sensitive and tolerant to other cultures—and these are all things that the arts teach.”

The release of the census will be presented at the Governor’s Awards for Arts Education on May 26, 2022 at Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton. The event honors art students across the state, featuring live performances by award-winning artists from the class of 2022. Congratulations to everyone from State of the Arts!