The New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education (NJGAAE) have been recognizing outstanding artistic achievements of students and educators since 1980. The program is organized by Arts Ed NJ, initially started by the Alliance for Arts Education New Jersey and the State Department of Education. Notable figures like Maria Dizzia, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and Gaten Materazzo III have been awardees. The awards highlight the arts and culture sector’s importance, involve high-ranking officials, and serve as a prestigious honor. The program aims to acknowledge arts excellence, increase awareness, and recognize achievements in schools and organizations supporting arts education. Eligible recipients include students, educators, and leaders who have shown exceptional dedication and contributions to arts education in New Jersey.

Nominating Organizations: Learn More About the Awards

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Individuals cannot nominate. Please review the handbook for more information on the awards and contact a participating organizations with your recommendation.
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It is a free and public event.

A Program of Arts Ed NJ 

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

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The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.