Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2021

Union County Board of Commissioners Awards 60 “HEART” Grants Bringing Arts and Humanities to the Community

Union County, NJ — The Union County Board of County Commissioners announces that 60 artists, historians and local non-profit organizations will receive funding through the 2021 Union County HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant Program.

The HEART grant program was created by the Board of Commissioners in 1998, in recognition of the importance of culture and the arts to the Union County economy and quality of life. The innovative program supports projects related to history, the arts and humanities, and demonstrates a commitment to the artists and community organizations of Union County. Total funding for this year’s grants is $115,700.

“The Board of Commissioners is very proud to support the HEART grant program, which continues to bring artistic and educational experiences to Union County residents under difficult and unprecedented circumstances during the pandemic,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “On behalf of the Board, I congratulate our 2021 awardees and thank them for their dedication to creativity and enrichment.” 

In addition to meeting ongoing grant qualifications, the 2021 awardees demonstrated a willingness to modify their plans and activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the mastery of new tools and technology for virtual events, and an ability to conduct in-person events in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.  

For information about next year’s HEART Grant Program, artists, educators, civic groups and historical non-profit organizations can contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at (908) 558-2550 or by email at culturalinfo@ucjnj.org  NJ Relay users can dial 711.

Union County HEART Grants Awarded 2021 (Total $115,700)

Individuals

  • Brian Beste, Fanwood, $1,000,  presenting photography workshops
  • Candace Waller, Fanwood, $1,000,  providing free dance classes
  • Lesl Harker, New Providence, $1,000,  presenting Irish music workshop and concert
  • Lowell Schantz, Westfield, $1,000,  presenting two free jazz concerts in Union County libraries
  • Michael Yesenko, Union, $1,000, providing a pictorial history installation of the Revolutionary War
  • Rafael Simancas, Roselle Park, $1,000, providing Art Day and mural project
  • Valerie Graham, Roselle, $1,000,  presenting free crafts workshops for seniors

Organizations/Community Groups

  • BOLD Community Care Services, Elizabeth, $2,500,  presenting adaptive art programming
  • Borough of Roselle Park, Casano Community Center, $1,000,  presenting a free concert
  • Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Union, $2,500,  presenting a dance festival
  • City of Rahway, $2,500, presenting Rahway Diversity and Social Justice Lecture Series
  • Community Access Unlimited, Elizabeth, $1,000, providing Arts in the Park activities
  • Continuo Arts Foundation, Summit, $2,500, presenting on-line music activity programs for children
  • Dreamcatchers Repertory Theatre, Summit, $2,500 presenting audioplay of “Everything is Super Great”
  • duCret School of Art, Plainfield, $2,500, presenting outdoor plays
  • Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, Elizabeth, $2,500,  presenting Hispanic Heritage Month concerts
  • Friends of Summit Public Art, $2,500 providing a public art installation
  • Friends of Westfield Memorial Library, $1,350,  providing lecture series videos
  • Hanson Park Conservancy, Cranford, $700,  presenting an organic gardening lecture series
  • Historical Society of Elizabeth NJ, $1,000,  presenting a history panel discussion
  • Historical Society of Plainfield, Plainfield, $2,500, providing virtual history programming
  • Institute of Music for Children, Elizabeth, $2,500,  providing arts and culture classes for Teens
  • Jefferson Parks Ministries, Elizabeth, $2,500,  providing art gallery exhibits
  • Jewish Community Center of Central NJ, Scotch Plains, $2,000,  presenting a cultural appreciation series for Seniors
  • Jewish Family Services of Central NJ, Elizabeth, $2,500, presenting a virtual concert Program
  • Josephine’s Place, Elizabeth, $2,500,  presenting arts programs for immigrant women
  • Kenilworth Historical Society, Kenilworth, $1,500,  presenting a Living History exhibition
  • Liberty Hall Museum, Union, $2,500 presenting a dance festival
  • Life Drawing Studio Group, Fanwood, $2,500,  providing visual arts workshops
  • Merchants & Drovers Tavern Museum, Rahway, $1,200,  presenting a history tour and presentation
  • Musical Club of Westfield, Scotch Plains, $2,500,  presenting a benefit concert
  • Music for All Seasons, Scotch Plains, $2,500,  presenting music programs for U.C. Detention Center
  • NAACP Rahway Branch, $2,500,  presenting a Juneteenth Celebration program
  • New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Westfield, $2,500, presenting a live concert
  • New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, New Providence, $2,500,  presenting a community concert
  • New Jersey Workshop for the Arts, Westfield, $1,000, provide outdoor musical performances
  • New Providence Public Art, $2,500, providing an interactive sculpture park
  • Overlook Hospital Foundation, Summit, $2,500, presenting “Healing Caregivers” healing arts program
  • Occupational Center of Union County, Inc., Roselle, $2,500,  presenting art education classes for people with disabilities
  • Plainfield Public Library, $2,500, presenting a photojournalism program
  • Plainfield Symphony Society, Plainfield, $1,650,  presenting a free symphony concert
  • Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union, $2,500, presenting an original play
  • Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, $2,500,  presenting concert with jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimee
  • Roselle Park Loves Arts, Inc., Roselle Park, $2,500, provide an arts festival
  • SAGE Eldercare, Inc., Summit, $2,100,  presenting free arts programs for older adults
  • Social Justice Matters, Inc., Scotch Plains, $2,500, producing an oral history of Kramer Manor
  • Springfield Free Public Library, $600,  producing a museum exhibit
  • Stony Hill Players, Summit, $2,500,  presenting children’s theatrical productions
  • Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah, Clark, $500,  presenting a free music program
  • The Theater Project, Union, $2,500,  presenting theatrical performances in Union
  • Township of Berkeley Heights, $2,500,  presenting a civil rights cultural event
  • Township of Hillside, $1,000, producing the Recreational Center Mural Project
  • Union Township Historical Society, Union, $1,660,  presenting a pictorial history exhibit
  • United Youth of NJ, Elizabeth, $2,500,  presenting an historical play
  • Visual Arts Center of NJ, Summit $2,500,  presenting a visual arts program for older adults
  • Westfield Community Center, Westfield, $1,000,  providing Black History programs
  • Westfield Historical Society, $1440, providing digital archives
  • Westfield Neighborhood Council, Westfield, $2,000,  presenting dance classes
  • Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Heights, $1,000, presenting digital performances for older adults
  • YM-YWHA of Union County, Union, $2,500, presenting a “Y” Senior Soirees Series

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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