Arts Ed Now: New Poll Shows NJ Residents Overwhelmingly Value Arts Education

September 13, 2016


Residents’ views on student access to local arts programs and events divided by key social and economic factors

Poll questions and tables are available at: Rutgers Eagleton Poll

Released September 13, 2016

As the school year gets underway, New Jersey residents deem more than just “reading and writing and ‘rithmetic” valuable to a child’s education.

Some 95 percent of residents believe an education in the arts — which can include dance, media arts, music, theater, visual arts, and other forms of active creative learning — is very (72 percent) or somewhat (23 percent) important for K-12 students, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Just 5 percent say the opposite.

Yet despite overwhelming agreement that the arts are essential, sizable numbers of New Jerseyans do not participate in related activities that help to promote and increase arts education.

  • More than half have not taken a child to a program or event, donated or raised money, volunteered, or shared something on social media related to the arts either at their local school or in their community within the past year.
  • Almost half have not discussed arts programs or events with others, and four in 10 have not encouraged a child to participate in any way.
  • Few have brought up the issue with figures like teachers, school administrators and elected officials or in settings like school or town meetings or on social media.

Residents’ views on student access to arts programs and events in their local area are mixed.

In terms of their local school, 28 percent of New Jerseyans strongly agree that students have enough arts opportunities, and another 26 percent somewhat agree; a combined 34 percent either somewhat or strongly disagree. In terms of their local community, 56 percent of New Jerseyans likewise agree that students have enough arts opportunities, whereas 31 percent feel just the opposite.

“New Jerseyans overwhelmingly believe that our students need arts education, and a number of residents believe more needs to be done. We want to build upon this support and create strong local ambassadors with the help of the Arts Ed Now campaign,” stated Bob Morrison, director of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership. “This is a statewide call to action for all residents to help increase arts education in schools and communities all across New Jersey.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 802 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 6 to 10, 2016. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Learn more about the campaign at:


About the Arts Ed Now Campaign

Arts Ed Now is a statewide campaign to increase active participation in arts education in all schools in New Jersey. Studies show that students who participate in arts education do better in school and in life. Unfortunately, not all NJ students have the access or information to increase their participation in arts education. The Arts Ed Now campaign identifies ways to increase participation in arts education and garner public support to put a spotlight on the issue – and is designed to be customized at a local grassroots level for more impact. The “Campaign Central” website features stories, tools and ways for citizens to become better ambassadors – together. Arts Ed Now was initiated by New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP), NJ State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Americans for the Arts and now includes hundreds of organizations and individuals across New Jersey.

About the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership

The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP) is the unified voice for arts education in New Jersey. NJAEP was originally founded in 2007 as a cosponsored program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Prudential Foundation, and ArtPride New Jersey Foundation. The mission of the NJAEP is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society. Additional information is available at