To serve as supporter and advocate for the arts in Jersey City.
The JCAC currently has four areas of focus to address the challenges of the arts community in Jersey City.
This is a topic of almost universal concern from our discussions with artists and arts organizations, whether it's rehearsal space, artist studios, exhibition space, theaters, writing rooms, foundries, et cetera.
Funding is a huge challenge for the artists and arts institutions of Jersey City. As a private and soon-to-be 501(c)(3), the JCAC will be able to raise funds not available to the City of Jersey City or to smaller grassroots arts organizations, and we will be distributing the money to arts institutions, art programs and artists.
There are thousands of incredible events going on in the arts here. We will be working to help publicize the arts to the people of Jersey City and the wider community beyond the city.
The JCAC plans to be an advocate for the arts with the government and other institutions. We'll be fighting for a dedicated public revenue source for the arts, for affordable artist housing, for venues in new developments, for increases in arts education, and more.
Jersey City has long been a home for artists of all kinds – performing, visual and literary – and numerous grassroots organizations have been created here to showcase the artists. In order to help support the individual artists and the art groups, several civic and artistic-minded people started working on forming a non-profit Arts Council. Spearheaded by Ward E Councilwoman Candice Osborne in 2014, various groups of arts leaders got together to start the groundwork. Given how busy everyone was with their own arts organizations, progress was slow in the formation of the Arts Council, until the summer and fall of 2016.
Sam Pott of Nimbus Dance Works and Christine Goodman of Art House Productions were the driving forces of the later movement to form the Council. Remembers Goodman: “We met with people in government, brainstormed about how best to formalize and dedicated every shred of free time and brain space we had to these ideas of a Council-type organization that would help organizations like our own to address recurring issues of lack of funding, space shortages, and capacity building. Finally, two things happened somewhat simultaneously that finally brought it all together. First, I met with Paul Dennison to see if he could volunteer some time toward getting the formal paperwork in place for the Council. Second, I was invited to join Rising Tide Capital/Ignite Institute at St. Peter's University's Local Economy Working Group called “Arts in the Local Economy,” part of their Living Economies Summit.”
A steering committee was formed to work on preliminary by-laws and choose an initial Board of Trustees to lead the organization. The steering committee included: Goodman, Pott, Dennison, Olga Levina of JCTC, Claire Corea of Ignite Institute, Alfa Demmelash and Mary Sansait of Rising Tide Capital, Karen Brown-Stovell of Forward Ever Sustainable Business Alliance, and Jerome China of The Anarchy Group.
The Jersey City Arts Council Board of Trustees met for the first time at the end of November 2016, and has met weekly since that time. The board members have worked to get a clear vision for the JCAC, as well as establish a framework for the future of the organization.