A recent study by the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, New Jersey's nonprofit arts and culture industry is a multi-million dollar business, generating $520 million in economic activity. It also supports 14,342 full time jobs and returns $41 million to state and local funds.

That's a lot of money, according to Ann Marie Miller, director of advocacy and public policy at ArtPride New Jersey, a nonprofit that promotes the value of the arts to New Jersey's quality of life and education. She says most of the nonprofit funding for the arts comes from individuals throughout the state.

She says about 8percent comes from state and federal government and the rest comes from private foundations and corporations. But that funding has been limited through foundations and corporations over the past ten years.

In addition to spending by organizations, the nonprofit arts and culture industry leverages about $224 million in event-related spending by its audiences. Miller says the average in New Jersey is about $31 per person and that's on top of the ticket price.

"The largest benefit is meals before and after an event and then it goes town the list in terms of transportation, child care, overnight lodging, refreshments or snacks during the event," says Miller.

Miller believes "pride" is what makes the arts very important to New Jersey. "Existing between New York and Philadelphia, New Jersey strives to preserve its identity," says Miller. The fact that there are a multitude of organizations that present an amazing array of events throughout the state is New Jersey pride right there.

She says the arts are also critical in peoples' lives, including students. Many kids will tell you the reason they go to school and what keeps them in school is their art, music or drama class, she says.

Miller says continue to patronize the arts in New Jersey such as theaters, performing arts centers, dance companies, galleries, museums, public arts, local arts councils and arts in education. Go to events and donate to arts organizations.

Private donations make a huge difference, she say. Many arts groups are at the end of their fiscal year and trying to make budget in New Jersey. So that is why they often ask for donations at this time of year.

For more about the arts, a variety of programs and services offered, visit www.ArtPrideNJ.com.

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