For nearly 40 years, the Dodge Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of the arts in New Jersey. Whether through an arts council in our suburban and rural communities, a major performing arts center or theater in our urban centers, we believe in the power of the arts to enrich our lives, connect people, revitalize public spaces, help communities thrive, and inspire learning. We have supported arts organizations across a variety of disciplines, including music, opera, theater, dance and visual arts, many of which placed a priority on arts education programming.

We also promote a strong and coordinated arts advocacy effort to help all New Jerseyans understand the value of the arts as an important economic engine of our communities.

The Foundation is proud that New Jersey’s arts community is vibrant and that we have launched the work and careers of some of the most important art and artists in the country.

As part of the implementation of Dodge’s new vision, we developed an equity theory of change for the Arts program. This theory of change addresses research which suggests long-term funding patterns in the culture sector favor institutions that focus primarily on Western European fine arts traditions. When we add to this a history of disinvestment in urban communities through policies and practices, we see that communities of color in New Jersey are left with little arts infrastructure to support the interests of artists and residents to pursue creating or consuming art. As a result, these organizations and artists of color struggle to sustain their work.

Therefore, the Arts theory of change seeks to apply Dodge’s successful grantmaking strategies to our new work and increase resources to organizations and efforts that center artists, creatives, and organizations led by people of color. Using a “Creative Place-Keeping” model, we will also support community-based organizations and community development corporations that authentically partner with and center artists and arts organizations of color.

Arts Theory of Change:

  • If we invest in artists, culture-bearers and community-based organizations skilled in equitable development in predominantly low-wealth, communities of color,
  • Then residents will have increased engagement with artists reflective of and interrogating their cultural life, access to relevant arts and cultural offerings, more local artists will work in and outside the neighborhood, more creative venues will exist, economic opportunities and ownership will increase, and communities will be inspired, have greater social cohesion, become more connected and have increased sense of place and belonging.

2020 Arts Grantmaking

This theory of change guides new grantmaking in 2020 and over the next three years while we continue to review and adapt our current guidelines and processes to meet our equity goals.

In 2020, Dodge is not accepting letters of inquiry or unsolicited proposals, although program staff may invite new proposals in alignment with new strategies. Current grantees may reapply for funding this year under existing guidelines below.

Arts Guidelines:

Pursue and demonstrate the highest standards of artistic excellence in the performing and visual arts; enhance the cultural health and richness of New Jersey communities; inspire learning and understanding; and contribute to our state's creative economy.

We strive to fulfill this vision for the Arts in New Jersey by funding organizations that:

  • Provide opportunities for meaningful connections between people and art within their communities, and partner with others to expand the inclusiveness and the impact of the arts;
  • Use the arts to revitalize communities, public places and natural spaces; and
  • Commit to creative and economic opportunities for New Jersey artists.