More than $50,000 of grant money from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts has been given to the New Jersey Festival Orchestra (NJFO) to help fund ongoing activities.

From dance companies to education initiatives and producers of literature, music, theater and visual art, creative organizations throughout the state received a total of more than $15.7 million in grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The NJFO received $55,000 for "general operating support."

Funding decisions are made through a transparent, merit-based, and rigorous grants process that assures access and equity. Independent panels evaluate grant applications to eliminate the possibility for conflict of interest, officials said.

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"It is an honor to lead a department that invests in the people of New Jersey in such diverse and meaningful ways," said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. "Grants through the State Arts Council have a direct positive impact on New Jersey residents, families and communities. The return on the investment is undeniable, and we are grateful to today's award winners for the important work they do."

“We at New Jersey Festival Orchestra are thrilled and deeply honored to once again receive this award from the State Council,” commented NJFO Board President Keith S. Hertell. “Westfield is one of only a few smaller communities nationwide that serves as the home of a professional symphony orchestra and the State Council grant is a key element of the funding mix that’s necessary to operate the orchestra and support our critical educational outreach and music therapy programs.”

The New Jersey Festival Orchestra is a premier, fully professional, symphony orchestra led by Music Director David Wroe.  Founded in Westfield in 1983, NJ Festival Orchestra has grown to become New Jersey's second largest professional orchestra, having a presence throughout many cultural communities of New Jersey, and appearing as far afield as Carnegie Hall on a regular basis. In addition to an adventurous subscription season, popular concerts near and far, and a rousing New Year’s Eve celebration, NJ Festival Orchestra sponsors education and music therapy programs throughout the state of NJ.

“We are eagerly anticipating our exciting program for the 2019-2120 season,” added Music Director Wroe. “The beautifully crafted new series promises a variety of spectacular concerts and highly anticipated appearances by internationally acclaimed guest performers, including Chinese cellist Jiapeng Nie, and pianist Andrew Tyson performing Rachmaninoff’s epic piano concerto No. 2.  Our season opens on October 5th in Westfield with “Invitation to the Waltz” featuring a program of renowned orchestral waltzes presented in glorious symphonic splendor.

According to a news release from the NJSCA, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports the arts and culture sector contributes $22.1 billion to New Jersey's economy, representing 3.8% of the state's GDP-a larger share than several other industries in the state.

The council receives funding from the state of New Jersey through the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee legislation passed in 2003, which established a dedicated revenue source to support arts, history, and tourism. Additionally, the Arts Council receives annual competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

"New Jersey's creative industries play a key role in our success, from the economy and education to wellness and cross-cultural understanding," Council Chair Elizabeth Mattson said. "The arts provide an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to engage with one another, and to share ideas and stories that can change lives."

Tickets for “Invitation to the Waltz,” NJFO’s season opening concert on October 5 and 6 start at $30 (students $15). Discounted ticket packages, saving up to 20% over regular prices, are also available. For further information call (908) 232 9400, or visit www.njfestivalorchestra.org.