NJEDA – Authority seeks input to better understand challenges faced by arts entities seeking access to capital

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking insight to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by arts and cultural non-profit and for-profit organizations, institutions, and arts entrepreneurs in accessing capital. The RFI is available at Bidding Opportunities – NJEDA.

As part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to support arts and culture, this RFI aims to build on the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ tremendous knowledge base and community engagement process by exploring new and innovative funding solutions to help grow New Jersey Arts and Culture businesses and non-profits by addressing barriers to capital. Additionally, the NJEDA also seeks interest and ideas on solutions to address those obstacles, including but not limited to, existing programs that address gap financing due to lack of philanthropic capital for non-profit entities. The NJEDA is interested in receiving comments, questions, recommendations, facts, information, ideas, and responses that will help the NJEDA better understand the scope and characteristics of access to capital and other forms of financing available to arts and culture entities.

New Jersey’s core arts and culture entities directly accounted for $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021 with an additional $18 billion in revenue from indirect impact in other supporting industries like broadcasting, logistics, and publishing. The combined impact of arts and culture industries account for 3-5 percent of New Jersey’s gross domestic product, as well as 3.1 percent of the state’s workforce.  In 2022, arts and culture non-profits alone accounted for $338.5 million in spending, with their audiences spending an additional $193.8 million in event-related expenditures.

“I am proud of the historic investment the Murphy administration has made through the Arts Council in supporting arts organizations and artists across New Jersey,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way, who oversees the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in her capacity as Secretary of State. “We look forward to seeing the results of the RFI and building on the state’s strategic support of the arts community in new ways through the NJEDA.”

“Arts and culture entities create job-sustaining revenue for New Jersey Main Streets and communities, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect economic impact each year, all while representing the diversity and talent of New Jersey’s artists and creatives,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Understanding the challenges faced by entities in this important sector is an essential component of Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy, and helps bolster economic support for an industry adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”

“New Jersey is home to a dynamic arts industry that contributes to quality of life in indispensable ways. From the smallest neighborhoods to the largest cities, artists and arts organizations keep people connected, offering inroads to address complex problems we all care about – from the economy to education to healthy aging, and everything in between,” said Allison Tratner, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “The last few years have brought great challenge and change in almost every industry, and the arts are no exception. As the largest funder of the arts in New Jersey, the Council is excited to work with the NJEDA to make sure our collective efforts to lift this essential industry are as effective as possible. Thanks to Governor Murphy’s historic support of the arts, we have the opportunity to strategically, transparently, and equitably invest public resources to help build a better New Jersey for people of all ages and walks of life, through the arts.”

“ArtPride New Jersey applauds the NJEDA’s efforts through the RFI to more fully comprehend the current capital challenges facing the state’s arts and culture sector. New Jersey’s creative industries have long been undercapitalized, and the COVID pandemic exacerbated this risk with earned and contributed income building back more slowly than is needed to function sustainably. At the same time, and without pause, the arts and culture sector continues to benefit communities through its direct impact on local retail, hospitality, tourism, education, and healthcare. The economic vitality of our downtowns depend on healthy and highly functioning arts and culture organizations and creative sector businesses supported by the NJEDA’s suite of products and programs,” said Adam Perle, President & CEO, ArtPride New Jersey.

“Arts and culture nonprofit organizations form the bedrock of the cultural landscape in New Jersey communities.  These organizations not only catalyze economic activity.  They also contribute to social cohesion, community wellbeing, and overall quality of life,” said Lynne Toye, Executive Director of the New Jersey Arts & Culture Renewal Fund.

“As smaller cultural nonprofits navigate a variety of post-pandemic challenges, access to capital is among the biggest hurdles,” she continued. “I am excited to help advance the NJEDA’s efforts to understand the challenges arts organizations face more thoroughly, especially as funding sources shrink in our post-pandemic world,” said Barbara Bickart, Senior Advisor, Arts and Culture, NJEDA, and practicing artist for over 20 years. “This Arts & Culture-focused RFI presents the opportunity to hear directly from many organizations across the state about their particular challenges, whether it be accessing funding or other obstacles a State agency could potentially help to remove or mitigate. This input will inform our strategy moving forward as we work towards lifting the arts community up in whatever ways we can.”

All questions must be submitted in writing on later than Tuesday, January 23rd at 12 pm EST via e-mail to ArtsCulture@njeda.gov.

The subject line of the e-mail should state: “QUESTIONS-2023 RFI-193 Capital for Arts & Culture”.

Answers to questions submitted will be publicly posted on the Authority’s website on or about on or about Tuesday, February 6th  at: Bidding Opportunities – NJEDA as Addendum.

All RFI responses must be submitted in writing no later than Tuesday, February 13th at 11:59 pm EST via e-mail to: ArtsCulture@njeda.gov.

The subject line of the e-mail should state: “RFI Response-2023-RFI-193 Capital for Arts & Culture”.

Potential respondents may include, but are not limited to, for-profit and non-profit entities, philanthropic partners, higher education institutions, community development organizations involved in arts-based placemaking, arts industry advocacy organizations, state and local government entities, and other stakeholders with perspectives on structural barriers and disparities encountered by arts and culture entities in terms of access to capital. Respondents do not need to be located within the New Jersey to provide input.

Article Courtesy of the NJEDA