Jersey City voters approve Arts and Culture Trust Fund; raises property taxes

Jersey City voters have approved a measure to support the arts.
“I think this is a game-changer for the arts in Jersey City,” says actress Heather Wahl.
Wahl is the founding artistic director of the Speranza Theatre Company – a Jersey City nonprofit that produces plays by and about women. She says that she believes voters approving an arts and culture trust fund does two important things.
“Add support to organizations that are just getting started and support organizations that are established continue to present to the community,” she says.
Jersey City voters voted to pay slightly more in property taxes. The money will be dedicated to providing grants to the visual and performing arts and arts education in the city. The trust fund is the first of its kind in the state.
Choreographer Samuel Pott says that Jersey City has “an immense legacy of arts.” Pott founded Nimbus Dance 15 years ago. It recently moved into a new arts center. But Pott says that finding the money to maintain an arts nonprofit has always been a struggle.
“We like to think that art survives on passion and talent and drive. And to a large extent, that is what keeps artists working hard and creating their arts. But in order for the arts to stay here and be sustainable, it does take money,” Pott says.
Jersey City arts organizations have long pointed out that they receive less in government grants compared to counterparts in many other New Jersey counties. Beginning Jan. 1, they hope The Arts and Culture Trust Fund will be a step toward changing that in Jersey City.
The tax increase is a maximum of .02% for each $100 of property value. A home assessed at $200,000 would pay an extra $40.