SOPAC Receives Citation of Excellence and Increased Funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts

The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) has been awarded a grant of $43,538 in funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA), a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. This represents a 30% increase from SOPAC’s FY19 grant. NJSCA received level funding this year and only gave increased funding to nine organizations. Out of 208 organizations receiving direct grants from the state, SOPAC was singled out to be in this prestigious group.

Funds awarded to SOPAC by NJSCA will be used in a flexible manner to support the operations of the award-winning performing arts center, including education and community engagement. The mission of SOPAC is to enrich individual lives, and to engage and serve the community in South Orange, Maplewood and beyond, through arts experiences that inspire and transform.

Paul Bartick, Chair of the SOPAC Board of Governors declares, “We are truly honored by NJSCA’s continued major support. This vital grant will help us as we continue to present diverse programming for our community and serves as a bedrock endorsement of the role of SOPAC in the region.”

SOPAC was also awarded a Citation of Excellence from NJSCA, an accolade given for programs and projects that receive the highest possible assessment of their applications by esteemed, independent panels of their peers. Only 20 organizations received this recognition.

Bartick further comments, “We are grateful to receive the Citation of Excellence from NJSCA and thank the panel of our peers for seeing and believing in what we do here in the South Orange community. Our mission is to enrich the lives of individuals in our community and we appreciate the recognition of this distinguished award.”

NJSCA Chair Elizabeth Mattson remarked, “New Jersey’s creative industries play a key role in our success – from the economy and education to wellness and cross-cultural understanding. The arts provide an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to engage with one another, and to share ideas and stories that can change lives.”

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector contribute $22.1 billion to New Jersey’s economy, representing 3.8% of the state’s GDP (gross domestic product) – a larger share than several other industries in the state

Acting Executive Director at SOPAC, Dee Billia states, “I am taking a moment to be thankful for the Board, staff and volunteers who make SOPAC a success. The thoughtful governance, commitment, caring and fiduciary support from the Board, in addition to the dedication, hard work, resourcefulness and can-do professionalism from the staff, and the friendly and dedicated volunteers who make SOPAC a priority in their lives all work toward our success. This recognition is truly extraordinary!”

SOPAC is gearing up for their 14th season bringing a diverse array of theatre, music, dance, arts education, community engagement and so much more.  SOPAC is a non-profit charitable arts organization and an accessible cultural destination located in the heart of downtown South Orange that presents world-class artists in an intimate and welcoming environment.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State.  NJSCA was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey.  NJSCA receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more, please visit