Christmas comes early for Morris arts groups, celebrating grant awards
Tom Werder‘s resume says he is executive director of the Arts Council of the Morris Area.
But on Monday night, it could have said “Santa Claus” and nobody would have questioned it.
That’s because the Arts Council is giving away $49,000. The grateful recipients came to the Gallery at 14 Maple in Morristown to raise a glass to their good fortune.
“It feels great,” said Tom, who took the reins of the Arts Council earlier this year. “This is a nice mechanism for spreading money around for organizations that are not large enough to apply directly to the state arts agency. It’s really exciting to hear people talking about how $1,000 or $2,000 can make such a difference to them.”
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Grant recipients include our tireless MG Kids editor, Sharon Sheridan, who received $1,600 on behalf of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and its Spring Arts Festival.
“Artists and poets and musicians of all ages participated, but our main focus was on offering opportunities for children to explore the arts and display their talents,” Sharon said.
“This year, we’re hoping even more schools and organizations will participate and that we can offer more scholarships to let children who ordinarily can’t afford art lessons explore their creativity. This grant will help make that possible.”
Other Morristown-based organizations among the 31 Morris County grantees include Art in the Atrium, Coro Lirico, First Night® Morris County, the Harmonium Choral Society, the Masterwork Chorus, the Morris Choral Society, the Morris Music Men, the Morristown Neighborhood House, and the Music at Morristown United Methodist Church concert series.
The Arts Council has been a supporter of Art in the Atrium for 19 of its 21 years, said Art in the Atrium founder Viki Craig, a former third-grade teacher at Morristown’s Thomas Jefferson School.
Every January, the Art in the Atrium exhibition celebrates African American artists.
“What I enjoy most is the connection I get, as a [former] classroom teacher, with the youth of Morristown–what they see, and their responses to that,” Viki said.
Robert Butts, conductor of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, which performs at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township, said an Arts Council grant will help the orchestra continue to showcase new composers and new compositions. One of these, the maestro’s Mark Twain and the General, was premiered last summer.
Congratulations to all the grantees!