Medford Arts Center awarded $5k grant

Burlington County Freeholders funded the grant to help support the arts.

Left, Norma McCoy, Nancy Clement, Marie Zukoff and Linda Flanagan paint during Zukoff’s class at the Medford Arts Center on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The Medford Arts Center has helped spread enthusiasm and an appreciation for art across Medford, and was recently among 10 organizations to be awarded state dollars by the Burlington County Freeholders. Announced on Wednesday, Jan. 25, the MAC received $5,000 out of a total $42,000 worth of awards.

“These grants are part of a $84,076 grant from the N.J. State Council on the Arts,” Burlington County Freeholder Linda Hughes said in a county press release. “The remaining portion supports other wonderful county art projects for our residents such as art exhibits, Teen Arts and Arts in the Park.”

According to Hughes, these grants were awarded based on the recommendations of a “peer panel,” a grouping that included experts from the arts and who evaluated the applications. Additionally, the grants needed to abide by state funding guidelines.

“These awards provide support to local organizations housed here in Burlington County that help promote interest in arts programs,” Hughes added. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to expose residents to the arts, provide creative avenues for self-expression and deepen connections to their communities and cultures.”

While the MAC has a general budget for the year, according to MAC Board President Jeff Lucas, the organization will look to put some of this grant money toward special projects, such as a children’s camp to be held in the summer. On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the MAC’s board will hold its monthly meeting and further discuss how to best allocate the grant money.

“We found out a couple of weeks ago that we’d be getting the grant. It is very exciting to see our work recognized and be financially supported by the county,” Lucas said. “We are an all-volunteer organization that meets once a month, and we are open to all of the help we can get.”

Additionally, according to Anthony Femiano, Ph.D., chairman of performing arts at the MAC, this grant money will be used to pay for rent, improvements to the MAC building, heating, electric and more. The grant will also be utilized to hire professional artists as jurors to determine winners at the many competitive artistic shows the organization hosts each year.

“[The grant] certainly helps us take care of all of our expenses that we have to pay for ourselves that come out of the MAC’s pocket,” Femiano said. “We don’t always make money off of our events, and sometimes we don’t even break even, so this money will definitely help.”

To further assist the MAC with its operations, the organization is asking for local volunteers to help staff at the center for two-hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers do not need to be artistically inclined or involved.

For more information, call (609) 654–6033 or email Lucas at jeffreylucas@me.com.