Wendy Liscow, Education Program Director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, was honored this week with a New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education Distinguished Service Award.
Liscow was among the 100 advocates, leaders, educators and students recognized for their exemplary work and commitment and contributions to arts education in a ceremony May 27 at the Trenton War Memorial. (See the full lists of award recipients here and here.)
“The simple truth about what I do as a foundation program officer is that I can’t achieve anything without the will, passion and work of others,” said Liscow, who has directed the Dodge Foundation’s education grantmaking since 2008. “There are countless grantees that I wouldn’t be here today without. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder, spanning the stage, receiving this award together.”
The Distinguished Service Award is presented by Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania to an individual who demonstrates sustained, innovative contributions to arts education. In introducing Liscow, Young Audiences President and CEO Larry Capo called her a creative, curious and collaborative educator artist who inspires those in the field to “do more and do better.”
Dodge funds $3 million annually to arts education nonprofits that develop effective school leaders and teachers and promote the transformative power of arts education through the development of public policies, advocacy, and the creation of model arts education programs, particularly in high-poverty communities.
Thanking the Dodge Foundation staff and board for their belief in the power of arts education, Liscow acknowledged partners including Capo, Kris Wenger and Bob Morrison of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, Robin Middleman at the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the many nonprofit organizations she works with for their tireless work championing arts education in schools throughout New Jersey.
“I believe our collective work is not done until every child has an opportunity to follow their artistic dreams and have the chance to end up on a stage like this or simply discover the creative spark that makes it exciting to wake up every single day and use their gift to change the world,” Liscow said. “Thank you for this privilege to be standing up here shoulder to shoulder as an invincible collective champion for arts education in New Jersey. And I want to thank the students because, quite frankly, you’re the reason I wake up everyday.”
For more than 35 years, the Governor’s Awards have promoted awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to more than 20 educators and 80 students and arts education advocates whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.
The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, 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 Forensic League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; VSA New Jersey and Young Audiences/New Jersey.
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.
Photo at top: Dodge Education Program Director Wendy Liscow and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania President and CEO Larry Capo.