On May 13, the Jersey City Council could vote on an ordinance establishing a new committee, which would distribute funds from the Arts and Culture Trust Fund to local artists and art institutions.
New Jersey’s first municipal Arts and Culture Trust Fund will generate $1 million annually in critical long-term funding for Jersey City’s burgeoning arts community.
It was created following the November 2020 election in which voters largely supported the sustainable funding source’s direct benefit to local artists and arts organizations, including youth and community programming.
The new tax levy is set to one-quarter of a penny per $100 of assessed property value, meaning property owners with a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $20 annually to the fund.
A new committee
According to an introductory ordinance, the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee will meet four times a year and consist of seven voting members nominated by an open public nomination form and appointed by the mayor with the council’s consent.
They will include the mayor or a mayoral designee, and six Jersey City residents, one from each ward.
One city staff member, a designee of the Jersey City Arts Council, a designee of the Jersey City Director of Culture Affairs, and a council member or his or her designee will also sit on the committee, but they cannot vote.
The voting committee members should “reflect the diversity of Jersey City,” be Jersey City residents, have an appreciation of the arts, professional expertise in an arts field, have an understanding of the city’s population and landscape, and/or be interested in public service, according to the ordinance.
Committee members will serve staggered terms for two years which will begin with the appointment of members from Wards A, B, and F to a term of three years and members from Ward C, D, and E to a term of two years upon the committee’s launch.
No committee person will be allowed to serve for more than two consecutive terms.
Voting committee members may not sit on the board or be on staff of an organization applying for grant funding from the Arts and Culture Trust Fund
According to the ordinance, 95 percent of the money will be distributed by the Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee while the remaining five percent will be given to the Jersey City Arts Council, which will serve as an administrative partner by supporting and counseling applicants, as well as promoting the Arts and Culture Trust Fund to the Jersey City community.
The Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee will distribute monies from the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund to support creative and cultural activities, including performing, visual, and fine arts, music, dance, graphic design, film, digital media and video, architecture and urban design, humanities, literature, arts and culture education, historic preservation, museum curation, and crafts and folk arts.
Funds will be granted by the committee based on the recommendations of a Grant Review Panel and a review of the applications for funding.
This review panel will be composed of residents selected by the Jersey City Arts Council from open public nominations.
Once funds are granted, the committee will perform an annual review and report of the grant recipients to ensure that recipients are reflective of the city’s demographics and that marginalized communities have increased access to the arts.
According to the city’s website, the council is scheduled to meet virtually on Thursday, May 13, at 6 p.m.