Steve Runk

Distinguished Service Award

“Being a member of the Young Audiences board has been a rewarding experience, and I believe strongly in the organization’s mission. I knew the excellence of the organization in the past from a funder perspective, and the past few years have seen from the inside what makes Young Audiences such a strong and successful organization that has great impact on the lives of children and teaching artists.” 

Steve Runk has served as Director of Communications at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University since 2011. The Center encompasses the academic programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Music Theater, Theater, and Visual Arts and presents over 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, lectures, concerts and special events each year. Prior to the Lewis Center, he served for 20 years on the staff of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the last three years as Executive Director, overseeing this state agency that promotes the arts and provided $16 million in annual public funding to hundreds of artists and arts organizations and projects statewide. During his tenure he served on the nationally award-winning NJ Cultural Access Network, Arts Plan NJ Steering Committee, was a guest lecturer in the Seton Hall University Graduate Arts Administration Program, and served as a grant review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has previously worked at Rutgers University as Assistant Director of the Summer Session and as Arts Development Coordinator and at a large architectural firm as Manager of Marketing Communications. Steve serves as Chair of the board of Young Audiences NJ & Eastern PA and previously served on the boards of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County. Steve earned his BFA in Visual Arts and a BA in Communications magna cum laude from Villanova University and pursued a masters in English at Rutgers University with a concentration in creative writing.


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.