Giving Back

Elizabeth Cultural Groups Awarded HEART Grants

“Interior Designs,” a work choreographed by 2016 HEART grant recipient Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company. Credits: Carolyn Dorfman Dance

UNION COUNTY, NJ – Twelve Elizabeth-based organizations have received 2016 Union County HEART grants, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced.

The following organizations have received HEART grants:

  • CASA of Union County, Elizabeth, $2,500, presenting arts workshops for child advocates;
  • Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, Elizabeth, $1,500, presenting Hispanic Heritage Month concerts;
  • Groundwork Elizabeth, Inc., Elizabeth, $2,300, presenting 14th Annual Tour de Elizabeth bicycle tour;
  • Historical Society of Elizabeth NJ, $1,000, presenting historic song performance;
  • Institute of Music for Children, Elizabeth, $2,500, providing arts and culture classes to young children;
  • Josephine’s Place, Elizabeth, $2,500, presenting arts programs for immigrant women;
  • National Council of Jewish Women, U.C. Section, Elizabeth, $2,500, providing two intergenerational programs: a big band swing dance and a jazz band;
  • Restore Ministries, Inc., Elizabeth, $2,500, providing classes for youth to create video about local history;
  • Someone’s Daughter, Elizabeth, $2,000, providing a visual art and dance summit;
  • The Gateway Family YMCA, Elizabeth, $2,500, providing art workshops for Cerebral Palsy League;
  • Old First Historic Trust, Elizabeth, $1,700, providing presentations/workshops on historic cemeteries;
  • United Youth of NJ, Elizabeth, $2,500, presenting a play about Black Wall Street;

In total, 58 artists, historians, and local non-profit organizations, the largest group in the program’s history, will receive funding through the program.

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“This year’s HEART grants recipients are a dynamic mix of creative composers and writers, historians, visual artists, musicians and dancers along with arts, history and cultural organizations and civic groups,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “We are looking forward to another successful year for this popular grant program.”

The HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) grant program recognizes the importance of culture and the arts for economic development and quality of life. It was established by the Freeholder Board in 1998 to support programming that connects Union County residents with innovative projects related to history, the arts and humanities.

“Over the years, our HEART grant recipients have enriched and inspired thousands of Union County residents,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, the liaison to the Cultural and Heritage Affairs Advisory Board. “Our HEART grant artists are constantly surprising us with their talent and commitment to making art accessible to our many and diverse communities of all ages.”

The remaining Union County HEART Grants Awarded 2016:

  • Brian Beste, Fanwood, $1,000, presenting art and photography workshops;
  • Candace Waller, Fanwood, $900, providing free dance classes;
  • Danielle Linares Hale, Fanwood, $1,000, presenting a community arts festival;
  • Evelyn Elizabeth Tucker, Plainfield, $850, presenting a Black History Month classical music performance;
  • Jillian Redeker, Union, $800, providing handmade hats etc. to chemo patients and babies;
  • Lesl Harker, New Providence, $1,000, presenting Irish music workshop and concert;
  • Lowell Schantz, Westfield, $1,000, presenting two free jazz concerts in Union County libraries;
  • Melinda Allen-Grote, Plainfield, $1,000, producing audio archive of Cuban 59er stories;
  • Olivia Mendes, Scotch Plains, $1,000 producing a history tour book for children;
  • Valerie Graham, Roselle, $1,000, presenting free crafts workshops for children and seniors;
  • American Theater Group, Rahway, $2,500, presenting new play readings at Hamilton Stage in Rahway;
  • Arts Guild New Jersey, Rahway, $2,500, presenting arts education for children and adults;
  • Borough of Fanwood, Fanwood, $2,500, presenting a Fanwood Cultural Arts Performance Series;
  • Borough of Roselle Park, Casano Community Center, $1,000, presenting a free concert;
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County, Union, $1,500, providing visual arts classes to children;
  • Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Union, $2,000, presenting a performance with UCAPA at the Vo-Tech black box theater;
  • Clark Board of Education, Clark,  $900, providing digitized record of school yearbooks;
  • Cranford Historical Society, Cranford, $1,000, exhibiting historic original newspaper articles and related historic items;
  • Cranford Housing Board, Cranford, $1,000,  presenting “Three Po' Tenors” in concert for senior residents;
  • Dreamcatchers Repertory Theatre, Summit, $1,700, presenting NJ premiere of "Shipwrecked, An Entertainment";
  • Hillcrest Academy North, Scotch Plains, $2,200, providing interactive music programs to students;
  • Hillside Victory Community Garden Club, $2,200, presenting HarvestFest 2016;
  • Historical Society of Plainfield, Plainfield, $2,500, providing history archive inventory program;
  • Jardine Academy, Cranford, $2,000, providing art therapy classes for children with cerebral palsy;
  • Kenilworth Historical Society, Kenilworth, $1,000, presenting history exhibition for Four Centuries in a Weekend;
  • Language & Enrichment Center INC, Scotch Plains, $1,200, presenting performances by preschool children of Italian winter songs;
  • Life Drawing Studio Group, Fanwood, $2,000, providing visual arts workshops;
  • Music for All Seasons, Scotch Plains, $2,500, presenting music programs for U.C. Juvenile Detention Center;
  • New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Westfield, $1,700, presenting live concert “Home for the Holidays”;
  • New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, Berkeley Heights, $2,500, presenting a community concert;
  • New Jersey Workshop for the Arts, Westfield, $1,500, presenting event for special needs children;
  • Overlook Hospital Foundation, Summit, $2,500, presenting "Expressions" healing arts program;
  • Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union, $2,300, presenting the play “My Lord, What a Night”;
  • Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, $2,000, presenting concert with jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimee;
  • Roselle 24/7, Roselle, $500, providing a community-based arts festival;
  • SAGE Eldercare, Inc., Summit, $2,200, presenting free musical performances to older adults;
  • Saint Theresa School, Kenilworth, $1,800, providing two student theatrical productions;
  • Second Westfield Senior Citizens Housing, Westfield, $750, presenting a musical history talk and performance;
  • Springfield Free Public Library, Springfield, $2,000, producing two museum exhibits;
  • Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah, Clark, $1,500, presenting a free Jewish humor program;
  • The Theater Project, Union, $2,000, presenting theatrical performances in Union;
  • Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc., Union $2,500, presenting Senior Choral performances in nursing homes;
  • Union Township Historical Society, Union, $1,000, presenting history programs for students;
  • Visual Arts Center of NJ, Summit $2,500, presenting a visual arts program for older adults;
  • Westfield Neighborhood Council, Westfield, $1,000, presenting dance workshops;
  • YM-YWHA of Union County, Union, $2,000, presenting the “Y Sunday Brunch Series”.

To obtain information on the next round of HEART funding, artists, educators, civic and historical non-profit organizations can contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs by phone at 908-558-2550 (NJ Relay users dial 711) or email culturalinfo@ucnj.org. The office is located at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form

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