Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Wayne DeAngelo to establish the “Art in Storefronts” initiative to help struggling Main Street business districts has cleared the full Assembly by a vote of 70-2-1.
“You look at any town that has reinvented itself and is thriving, and there is a good chance that art played a role,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This initiative would promote local art while providing Main Street municipalities looking to reinvigorate their downtowns with an economic development tool that has proven effective in transforming depressed communities.”
“Art has contributed to the revitalization of many communities that were once economically depressed,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This can help give Main Street business districts a much needed boost while promoting local art initiatives and artists.”
The bill (A-3373) would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to establish the “Art in Storefronts” initiative within the “Main Street New Jersey” program.
The bill would encourage the commissioner, in developing the “Art in Storefronts” initiative, to consult and coordinate efforts with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, colleges and universities, economic development nonprofit organizations, and private investors.
The commissioner would provide Main Street municipalities interested in participating in the initiative with technical support and guidance, including but not limited to: recruitment of property owners and artists, liability issues, selection processes, and budgeting, and contracting.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. It would take effect immediately upon enactment.