New Jersey Arts Champions is a new occasional series on the Dodge Blog designed to introduce readers to leaders working to raise the profile of the arts in New Jersey. If you would like to participate or nominate someone to be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
First up in the series is Adam Perle, who was recently named president and CEO of ArtPride New Jersey.
Name: Adam Perle
Hometown: A Mountainside native, he now lives in Bridgewater
What he does: Perle is the new President and CEO of ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, a coalition of arts organizations and individuals that advocates at local, state and national levels for funding, support and recognition of the arts as vital to New Jersey’s quality of life.
An intersection of passions: “I always expected that I would work in the civic service sector. I knew from very early on that I wanted to make a difference and to leave this world a better place.
At the University of Maryland, I studied and got a degree in political science. After graduating, I immediately started working on political campaigns on many different levels. That was something that I was really interested in and enjoyed a great deal, understanding how politics and government works. Then I married a school teacher, and my priorities changed. Being on the campaign trail during a presidential election year wasn’t something I wanted. That’s when I made the transition to the nonprofit world. I worked in the New Jersey office of CancerCare, as part of their fundraising team. Then I went on to the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. My work as vice president was in expanding membership in the organization and drawing attention to the region’s rich arts, culture and tourism.
ArtPride has just completed a two-year strategic plan, and, in addition to expanding its membership services, heightening its advocacy efforts was a key action item and why a new position — Director of Government Strategy and Advocacy, filled by former President Ann Marie Miller — was created. All my experience in politics, membership services and tourism lends itself to what ArtPride needs right now.”
A voice for the arts: “ArtPride is the arts member organization in New Jersey. Our primary role is to be a voice for the arts. We advocate the value of the arts to elected officials and the public and work to inform and empower arts organizations and arts industry professionals. Our secondary role is to be a member service organization, helping bring tools to the table to make arts organizations more effective.
What really has me, the staff and board excited is that ArtPride is poised to really excel in this next generation. We’re increasing our advocacy, providing more value for our members and making sure we are as strong an organization we can be to move the needle and make New Jersey arts and culture vibrant and support our state’s immense and diverse arts industry.”
The need for Arts Champions: “We want to be able to continue to train and coalesce the arts industry so when a legislative defense is needed, we can activate that constituency in a quick, efficient fashion. We are looking for champions and leaders who understand the power of the arts to help us carry the torch. We refer to two types of advocates — grasstops, or appointed and elected officials, thought leaders and influential figures including arts leaders and business owners; and grassroots, or arts organizations and their audiences and the public at large so they too can see themselves as arts advocates.
When we’re talking to grasstops, we’re explaining the arts industry’s economic impacts in terms of job creation and redeveloping New Jersey’s downtowns and urban centers, how arts education is not only leading to students with higher GPAs and test scores but also shaping children to be more creative leaders, and the importance of the arts for the next generation of healthcare, wellness and healing.
The grassroots effort is a combination of an advocacy training program we’re going to roll out this year that engages and empowers all arts supporters as to how they can be advocates of the arts and make a difference with their elected officials, as well as a public relations campaign enforcing the value and importance of the arts in our daily lives.”
What you should know about the arts in New Jersey: “The arts ecosystem in New Jersey is incredible. New Jersey’s diverse and varied cultural opportunities and art experiences plays a key role in our quality of life and it is a big part of why someone chooses to live here.”
One key issue you’re working on: “Access to arts is a critical issue in the state of New Jersey. Without funding at state, federal and private levels, ticket prices would go up. The more we can increase that support, the more people can be reached — and transformed — by the arts.”
How do you nurture creativity in your own life? “My two daughters, Alexis, who is 7, and Marley, who is 3. To use a quote of author Tom Robbins, the thermostat of their imaginations is permanently set to high. Both of them are constantly singing, dancing, and creating. I see the difference creativity makes in them, making them brighter, stronger individuals.
Also, the staff at ArtPride is an actively creative group. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by artists and performers who are immersed in the arts. That excites me personally as a reserved, dormant performance artist for the better part of 18 years. I am so excited to be required to experience the arts on a daily basis.”
Check out Art Pride New Jersey’s Arts Advocacy Toolkit to learn get the statistics, stories, and tips to make your voice heard. You can learn more about ArtPride New Jersey by checking out their website, liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.