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Morris County Proclaims October as 'Arts & Humanities Month'

Morris County

By: Najla Alexander 

Morris County officials announced that the Morris County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed October 2023 "Arts and Humanities Month" during a work session meeting in Morristown.AdAccording to officials, Commissioner Director John Krickus read parts of the formal resolution as he presented the framed proclamation to Tom Werder, Executive Director of Morris Arts.

Tom Loughman joined Werder, officials stated, along with Executive Director of the Morris Museum, Martin Prentice and Merle Johnson, Morris Arts Board members, Simone Craig, CEO of Art in the Atrium, Dave Sipple, President of Morris Music Men, and several other distinguished members from the local arts community.

"We honor arts and humanities because they have come to embody much of the accumulated wisdom, understanding, and imagination amassed over the centuries by humankind and have allowed us to explore ideas, express emotions, and better appreciate the diverse and many cultures around the globe," said Director Krickus.

Officials said Krickus also noted that the County Commissioners have supported organizations involved in the arts and humanities through various funding sources.

Twin Oaks Mansion, the home of the Morris Museum, and MPAC's Community Theater continue to be beneficiaries of the county's Historic Preservation Trust Fund program, officials say.

In 2023, officials said, the Commissioners approved historic preservation grants for the Darress Theatre in Boonton and the Growing Stage in Netcong.

In 2021, Morris County provided MPAC $600,000 in relief funds to help its arts programs recover from the pandemic.

Many organizations, nonprofits, and small businesses involved in the arts and humanities also benefited from the Morris County Small Business Grant Program in 2022, which was designed to assist small businesses and nonprofits still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials say.

Among the grants were more than 40 approved for groups such as the Growing Stage in Netcong, the Morris County Art Association, the Morris Museum, the Denville String Band, the All Children's Art Center, The Barn Theatre, the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and, of course, The Morris Arts, officials stated.

"We know you (the County Commissioners) support the arts because you show up at our events. We believe the arts build community. We've been doing that for 50 years in our community. We also believe that the arts today provide us with something we need now more than ever, which is a little bit of peace, a little bit of serenity, and a little bit of a break from what's happening in the world."

"We are honored to provide that in our communities. The arts are also good for business in Morris County," said Werder.

According to data from the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), a national survey of the nonprofit arts and culture industry that Morris Arts participated in on behalf of Morris County, the arts sector generated $49.1 million in economic activity in the county during 2022.

Officials stated that $34.7 million in spending by arts and culture organizations and an additional $14.4 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences were also generated.

According to officials, that economic activity supported 783 jobs, provided residents with $43.7 million in personal income, and generated $10.0 million in tax revenue for local, state, and federal governments.

The Morris Arts has been actively promoting the arts in Morris County for many years. That work was noted in the proclamation presented tonight, officials stated, and this year marks the organization's 50th Anniversary.