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Economic Development

NJEDA Opens Application for $2M Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant

Grant will support development of events showcasing state’s creative and innovation ecosystems

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has begun accepting applications for the NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant. This competitive grant will provide $2 million to a for-profit or nonprofit entity to support the organization and execution of an arts and innovation festival in 2022. The application can be found at https://www.njeda.com/arts-and-innovation-festival-challenge/.

“From Edison and Sinatra to Bon Jovi and Queen Latifah, New Jersey has a long, rich history rooted in arts and innovation. As we build upon that legacy, we are excited to partner with Governor Phil Murphy to provide $2 million in seed funding for the inaugural NJ Arts and Innovation Festival,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “Convening innovators in the tech space with artists and musicians is central to achieving Governor Murphy’s vision for positioning New Jersey as hub where top talent in all industries can live, work, and play. The NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant will advance an event that showcases New Jersey’s creative culture and attracts visitors, new businesses and top talent to our state.”

The NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant will award one grant of up to $2 million to support operational costs related to the management, production, and promotion of a festival that incorporates live music and art as well as tech demonstrations, panel discussions with innovation economy leaders, and other activities related to the creative economy and innovation ecosystem. The NJEDA board approved the creation of this grant at its December 2021 Board meeting. The deadline for applications is Jan. 21, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

“When it comes to economic growth, innovation and creativity are two sides of the same coin,” said Allison Tratner, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “By supporting creators and shining a spotlight on New Jersey’s thriving, diverse arts and culture industry, we not only build more unique, vibrant communities, but we also attract the top talent and companies in other industries that drive long-term economic growth.”

The NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant will provide the funding needed to jumpstart the planning of a world-class festival that brings attention and resources to New Jersey’s creative community and sets the stage for long-term growth.

The Challenge Grant is open to businesses and nonprofits with demonstrated experience in organizing events of similar scope and scale.

Applicants to the NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Registered for business in New Jersey or holding a valid NJ Charitable Registration.
  • Demonstrated experience in organizing and executing at least one (1) event with an attendance of 5,000 or more in the last 7 years.
  • Applicants may add a strategic partner or partners whose experience, knowledge, skills and ability may provide an advantage in the production, management, and/or marketing of the festival.
  • Applicants must include fundraising, diversity and inclusion, security and transportation plans, as well as a local participation program that focuses on host community participation.
  • Applicants must be in good standing with New Jersey Department of Labor.

Applicants will also need to provide a vision statement that outlines how the festival will help grow New Jersey’s place as a premier live/work/play destination for arts and innovation firms, talent and tourism, as well as fundraising plan to close the gap between the $2 million provided by the Challenge Grant and the total budget for the festival.

More information about the NJ Arts and Innovation Festival Challenge Grant is available at https://www.njeda.com/arts-and-innovation-festival-challenge/.

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