Arts & Entertainment

SOPAC Wins 2017 Jersey Arts People's Choice Award

Kristin Svorinic, Marketing Manager, accepts SOPAC's award for Favorite Small Performing Arts Center Credits: Jersey Arts

BURLINGTON, NJ – Discover Jersey Arts, a cosponsored project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, announced the winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Awards on Friday, March 10, at  the 2017 NJ Conference on Tourism in Atlantic City.

The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) was named "Favorite Small Performing Arts Center," which is for venues with 1,000 or fewer seats. This is the third year in a row that SOPAC has won this award.

In Millburn, the Paper Mill Playhouse won three awards: "Favorite Theater to See a Musical," "Favorite Choral Group" for the Broadway Show Choir, and "Favorite Performing Arts Camp," for the Paper Mill Players.

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Winners were based on votes from nearly 18,000 people who cast ballots for their favorite local groups and downtowns, according to Discover Jersey Arts.

“For the ninth year in a row, the people of New Jersey have told us loud and clear that the arts matter,” said Nick Paleologos, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “In every corner of the state, from the smallest town to the biggest city, we rely on the work of these exceptional artists and arts organizations to make our communities vibrant, unique places to live, work and visit.”    

From 11 arts districts and 98 organizations nominated, the public chose winners in 16 categories, with the ArtPride staff recognizing three additional organizations with honorable mentions.   

The full list of 2017 People’s Choice Awards winners are:

  • Favorite Large Performing Arts Center: New Jersey Performing Arts Center–NJPAC (Newark) 
  • Favorite Small Performing Arts Center: South Orange Performing Arts Center–SOPAC (South Orange) 
  • Favorite Theater to See a Musical: Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn) 
  • Favorite Theater to See a Play: McCarter Theatre (Princeton) 
  • Favorite Art Museum: Grounds For Sculpture (Hamilton) 
  • Favorite Art Gallery:  Arts Council of Princeton (Princeton) 
  • Favorite Symphony/Orchestra: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra–NJSO (Newark) 
  • Favorite Choral Group: Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir (Millburn) 
  • Favorite Dance Company: American Repertory Ballet (New Brunswick)  
  • Favorite Opera Company: Opera at The Princeton Festival (Princeton) 
  • Favorite Music Festival: Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival (Asbury Park/Long Branch/Point Pleasant)   
  • Favorite Film Festival: Montclair Film Festival (Montclair) 
  • Favorite Adult Art Class: Montclair Art Museum's Yard School of Art (Montclair) 
  • Favorite Visual Arts Camp: Montclair Art Museum's SummerART Camp (Montclair) 
  • Favorite Performing Arts Camp: Paper Mill Players (Millburn) 
  • Favorite Downtown Arts District: Red Bank  

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Favorite South Jersey Performing Arts Center: The Levoy Theatre (Millville) 
  • Favorite South Jersey Film Festival: Garden State Film Festival (Atlantic City) 
  • Most Write-In Votes: New Jersey Choral Society (Ridgewood)  

Nominees were determined by peer organizations in the Jersey Arts Marketers network, which is made up of hundreds of arts groups from around the state.  

“The arts organizations highlighted in the People’s Choice Awards will not come as a surprise to many. The winners and nominees alike inspire hundreds every day,” said Adam Perle, President & CEO of ArtPride New Jersey. “These groups help our neighborhoods reach new heights and give us permission to fly to Neverland, dance on rooftops or simply take a longer, deeper look at the beauty that surrounds us. All of the nominees should be very proud of the important and impactful work they are doing.”  

For detailed results and more information, visit

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